Fine Antique Southwest / Spanish Colonial Plug Bayonet

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spanish colonial bayonet

An exceptional Spanish Colonial 'Plug Bayonet' , circa 1830.

The  plug bayonet was developed during the 17th century. Its tapered grip was intended to fit in a musket's muzzle, after the musket had been fired, thus transforming the empty firearm into a servicable pike. The socket bayonet made its appearance in the early 18th century thus rendering the plug bayonet obsolete and their production ceased in most of Europe. However, the plug bayonet continued to be popular side arm in Spain and Spanish colonies in North America and Mexico well into the 19th century.

This especially handsome example is of classic plug bayonet form with excellent proportions. The quality of its manufacture indicates it was made for a military officer / person of substance in his community. This fine piece displays the characteristics and top workmanship of the best plug bayonets built in the American Southwest and Mexico during the early 19th century. The delicate 'rick-rack' engraved decoration on hilt and scabbard mounts matches that often found on Southwest Spanish Colonial silver items and is also encountered on early native American silver items.

This blade bears clear marks showing it was fashioned from a large rasp or file. These essential tools, scarce and valuable on the frontier, contained fine steel. When they went dull they were still considered valuable by knifemakers who reforged them into very efficient side arms. The forward 3 1/2" of the 9" blade displays an early version of false edge and clip point that would soon evolve into classic Bowie knife form. The ample steel cross guard is of classic form. The grip is of classic plug bayonet form with tapered horn grip, engraved brass mounts and a bone collar. The original scabbard has engraved brass mountings and retains its original faded velvet covering.

This plug bayonet and scabbard have survived in excellent original condition. The blade retains its original surface with some light storage rust and excellent patina. The cross hilt and grip are in excellent condition with some very light wear and excellent patina / surface. The scabbard is in excellent condition, the brasss mountings with excellent patina and the velvet in excellent condition for its age with some wear on the edges and near the brass mounts from having been slightly abraded in past polishing of the brass.

An especially fine early Southwest / Spanish Colonial artifact for the collector.

Dimensions: overall length 14 3/8", blade 9" x 1 1/4", cross guard 3 1/4" x 1/8", grip 4 3/4", hilt fits into a .72 - .75 caliber flintlock musket.

Price: $475.00

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