Ask the Experts: Shape of dagger handle is key to its past


LET-QWhere is it from? I can provide more images if necessary.

— B.H., via e-mail


Ask the Experts letter "A"Without more information such as the size of the dagger, presence or absence of markings or composition of the scales (handle), I cannot offer too much information about your specific dagger. I can, however, provide information in general. The dagger has a spear-point blade, a symmetrical blade, with the top and bottom of the blade converging equally to create a point at the equator (mid-line) of the blade. The blade has a long central fuller, or depression, which contrary to popular belief was not to facilitate the flow of blood from the victim, but to lighten the blade without weakening it. Spear-point blades may be single or double-edged; though yours is difficult to determine based on the photo alone.Sword.jpg

The shape of the handle provides the most information. The shape is classic for a late 19th century Caucasian (Russian) Kindjal. The scales (plates on either side of the handle) are most likely blackened horn and the sheath, which does show heavy wear, is probably leather-covered wood. The blade appears hand-forged, but no maker’s stamp is apparent; a maker’s stamp would make a difference of another $100 or more in value.

It is a truly nice piece of Russian military history and based on the photos alone I would estimate a value of $250 to $300. One can only imagine the incredible history behind such a piece.


LET-Q I recently was given this old wall pocket. It is not signed. I would love to know who made it, how old it is and if there is any value.

— B.K., Hudson, N.Y.


Ask the Experts letter "A"There were thousands of wall pockets in any number of shapes produced between the 1920s and 1950s. They were made in an incredible array of shapes such as: heads, shoes, pocketbooks, insects, animals, buildings, teacups, people, musical notes, bathtubs, baskets, vases and other countless forms. The more popular and collectible wall pockets were made by companies like Rookwood, Roseville and Weller, but other my pics 054companies also produced a vast selection. Manufacturers like McCoy, Hull, Hall, Shawnee and Royal Copley produced less expensive but often more whimsical wall pockets; there were also American companies that did not mark their wares at all.

Wall pockets were produced in many countries including Czechoslovakia, Germany and Japan. These were less expensive than those made by previously listed companies, and although very collectible, are still much more affordable than those made by Rookwood, Roseville or Weller. Those marked “Made in Japan” still bring the lowest prices unless marked Noritake or Nippon.

Your wall pocket is unmarked and appears to be a contemporary piece most likely made in Portugal, Mexico or Italy, and as such has a decorative value of about $10.

About our A.I.A. appraiser: Dr. Anthony J. Cavo is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute Of Antiques and a graduate of Reisch College of Auctioneering. He has extensive experience in the field of buying and selling antiques and collectibles; at age 18, he became one of the youngest purchasers and consigners of antiques and art for a New York auction house. Dr. Cavo is an active dealer in the antiques and collectibles marketplace in the U.S. and abroad.