Rare Saxon (Dresden) Model 1851 Socket Bayonet
- Product Code: EWB-2543-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a very nice example of an incredibly scarce socket bayonet that was imported by the US during the American Civil War. At first glance it looks very much like a French Model 1847 bayonet, however a number of features quickly identify it as the socket bayonet for use with Model 1851 Saxon (Dresden) Rifle Musket. Approximately 29,000 of these rifle muskets were purchased by the US government, the majority being delivered by George Schuyler, who purchased at least 27,000 of them. However, it is possible that more of the rifles were procured, as a letter from arms dealer Herman Boker to US Secretary of War Simon Cameron, dated November 20, 1861, reads in part:
“Sir: We have the honor to inform you that we have received, per Saxonia, from Hamburg, arrived this morning, 443 cases rifled muskets - in all about 10,000…”
Over the years I have had the opportunity to offer about dozen of the guns, but I have only had about half that many of the bayonets; they are much rarer than the guns, which are hardly common themselves.
The primary features that identify this as a Model 1851 Saxon / Dresden Socket Bayonet instead of the French bayonet that it resembles are: a 16” blade, a larger diameter socket, and the most obvious feature; two locking ring stops on the socket. These stops are located 180-degrees apart, in opposition to each other. I am aware of no other socket bayonet that has a pair of locking ring stops on the socket.
Overall the bayonet is in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition. The bayonet is maker marked on the face of the blade at the ricasso with the letters PD. This is likely the mark of the Belgian maker who made the bayonet. Nearly all the “Saxon” rifles that were imported to the US appear to have been Belgian contract arms that were manufactured by Liège gunmaker P.J. Malherbe. The obverse shank of the bayonet is numbered 974, matching it to the similarly numbered M1851 or M1857 rifle musket. The reverse of the shank is stamped with an M that may stand for Malherbe. The surface of the bayonet is mostly smooth with a medium pewter gray patina on the blade, which shows scattered patches of light to moderate darker age oxidation and some very minor light pinpricking. The socket shows a thick, dark brown patina with some heavier pinpricking. The appearance suggests that the bayonet was in a scabbard for a long period of time, which kept the blade from oxidizing as much as the socket did. The original locking ring is present and is complete and fully functional.
Overall, this is a really nice condition, and well-marked example of a rather scarce Civil War import bayonet. These bayonets are so seldom encountered that in the last five years I have only had the opportunity to own about six of them, and none for more than a couple of days. These are much less common than a Sharps or Spencer rifle socket bayonet, and yet those bayonets in the same condition often sell for $100 to $200 more than where this bayonet is priced. This bayonet would be a wonderful addition to your M1851 or M1857 Saxon / Dresden Rifle, and I’m willing to bet that your rifle does not have one of these scarce bayonets to go with it!