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Fine Silver Mounted Highland Dirk Hallmarked for 1855 / 1856 by James & William Marshall of Edinburgh with the arms of Colonel Neil Campbell

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Price: £3,250

Ref: 65.14

Item Description

A fine silver mounted dirk made by James & William Marshall of Edinburgh with hallmarks for 1856. This attractive dirk is mounted with black bog oak grips to the dirk, by-knife and by-fork, all decorated with a cut basket weave pattern of interlace. The offset pommels are mounted with solid silver bands formed with thistles and foliage topped with finely cut multi-facetted citrines. The dirk grip has a silver base decorated with thistles to the front and the by-knife and by-fork are mounted with silver basal ferrules. The dirk is housed in a wooden scabbard covered with black leather. The chape, mouthpiece and pocket rims are applied silver mounts embellished with thistles and foliage to the front.

The escutcheon to the front of the mouthpiece bears the arms of Colonel Neil Campbell. The silver backs to the scabbard mounts carry the hallmarks – five stamps in raised relief inside punched shields, the makers mark “J & W M”, the city mark for Edinburgh, the Scottish thistle mark, plus the date and duty marks.

The 13.25 inch (33.5 cm) bright blade has a scalloped back edge extending 6.75 inches (16.5 cm) from the grip. A double fuller either side extends a little further, underneath which a broad shallow fuller extends for the same length. On one side the by-knife is clearly stamped by the blade maker – “JOHN SELLERS” – a well reputed cutler in Sheffield who started his business in 1820 and developed it into a major concern. The overall length of the dirk in its scabbard is just over 19.5 inches (49.5 cm).

The arms, a castle turret from which two arms arise holding a bow drawing an arrow pointing skywards, were granted to Colonel Neil Campbell in 1814. He became a Major General and Governor of Sierra Leone where he died in 1827. As his death predates the date of the hallmark it is certain that his son, James Neil Campbell, continued to use the arms and that the dirk belonged to him. James was a Colonel in the Indian Army and served with the Bombay Staff Corps. He died in 1876 aged 51.

Condition: Overall in fine condition. A few minor patches of old pitting to the dirk and by-knife blades. The dirk pommel stone has a small chip at one side.

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