Lot 203

C. 1850 American Indian Presentation Dag Knife

Estimate: $12,500 - $18,500

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
This is truly a sale highlight, an exceptional, authentic circa 1850 pre-Indian Wars period American Indian presentation grade dag knife from the DuPont family collection. This is a large, heavy example comprised of a forged-iron early Sorby company marked war lance blade and large beaver tail paddle pattern dag pattern walnut wooden haft elaborately adorned on both sides with silver placards and brass trade tacking. The knife has a dark, shiny patina with some minor nicks and dings from honest age and Native use. It shows a double-notched spear blade with a simple hand-punch stamp “SORBY” on one side, which is an earlier touch mark example. There is a slight raised median ridge running down both sides of the blade, which is a well-documented early-mid 19th Century art feature on authentic spear, knife and tomahawk blades. This style of ornate dag knife is referred to as a “Chief’s Grade” or “Presentation Grade” knife as they were given to Chief’s and tribal dignitaries during trade negotiations and treaty signings. American Indian early dag knives are commonly referred to as “Beaver Paddle/ Beavertail” dag knives. This is due to the fact most dag knives were traded on the frontier along the Great Lakes region through the St. Lawrence seaway westward by early fur traders. From the Great Lakes region on westward the knives became very popular among the Northern Plains/Upper Plateau tribes such as the Cree, Metis, Blackfoot, Nez Perce, Chippewa/Ojibiwa and Shoshone. These were made to be killing weapons, this is why dag knives show a clean long double-sided blade without any serration as they were for battle. Unlike other knives worn by Indian Warriors the dag knife would have been worn around the Indians neck on his chest. The silver adornment and pattern of the blade has terrific art appeal. The piece is well preserved showing some pitting, and patina throughout with no visible major damages. Provenance: From the DuPont family collection of St. Louis, MO. The knife measures overall 15 ¼ inches in length.
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