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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Art Pewter Silver dirk 1984

    This just popped up on Ebay, a dirk by Art Pewter Silver of Scotland, said to have been made in 1984.



    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-198...p2056016.l4276

    For those not aware, Art Pewter Silver began in 1968 and were part of the sudden Clan Crest fad that exploded in the 1970s. Prior to that yes the various Scottish silver firms made Clan bonnet badges, and occasionally Clan Crest kilt pins were seen. But APS (1968) and Carrick (1971) came out with an unprecedented array of Clan Crest items:

    bonnet badges (two sizes)
    kilt pins
    sginean
    belt buckles
    car badges
    key rings
    cufflinks
    tie pins
    lapel pins

    and probably other things I can't remember.

    I had a detailed knowledge of all these items because I worked in a Highland Outfitter at the time which carried both APS and Carrick Clan Crest items.

    When APS came out with their dirk I was very disappointed. Here at last was a mass-produced low-cost dirk with moulded plastic handles and EPNS mounts. As I recall the full dirk with knife & fork was around $200.

    I was disappointed because they didn't follow the standard or most-seen pattern, but made the dirk quirky in a couple ways. I believed at the time, and still believe, that since more of these dirks were going to be made and sold than any previous ones APS should have gone down the middle and used the most traditional style as their model rather than an outlier.

    There were established patterns of civilian dirks (plain, cast thistle, cast Runic) made in silver, silverplate, German Silver, and brass by a number of makers. These had been in continuous production since the 1930s if not earlier.

    First was the handle. Instead of going with the most-common pattern which was basketweave/plaited APS went with an ungainly leaf pattern.



    Then there were the odd proportions of the sheath's two middle mounts, which were made narrower than normal giving the dirk a skimpy cheap look.



    For comparison, here's a dirk by the large maker RG Lawrie Glasgow, who made pipes, kilts, tartan hose, sporrans, and other Highland regalia.



    A dirk by Forsyth, another Highland outfitter

    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th February 21 at 05:35 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  2. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to OC Richard For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
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    The Forsyth dirk is splendid.

    My first sgian dubh is from APS.

    I actually bought this before anything else. I lived in Cambridge at the time and just around the corner from my house was a small, local, gentlemen and academic clothing tailors called Stuarts. It was like how Olivander's is represented in the Harry Potter movies - very old school and charming. They also specialised in highlandwear (I guess the name was a giveaway) and I went there to hire a kilt for the local trainee solicitors group (the highlight of our social calendar and being the president I felt I needed to make an effort). The hire did not include a sgian dubh but one of the ones he had on display caught my eye. I think I paid about £20 or £30 for it back in 2000. Still my favourite.

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    As I recall those APS sginean were a bit unusual too- didn't they have a sort of lunette in the mount at the bottom of the grip, where the blade starts? Whereas traditional sginean are nearly always straight across the bottom.

    APS also made a regimental-style sgian that was a very traditional-looking military-style sgian, with straight handle and nail decoration. They sold those in various regimental gift shops with the appropriate badge put on the handle.

    I have one of those I bought in the 80s while working in the shop, I still wear it on the very few occasions I wear a sgian.

    Here it is, with the standard thistle badge, in EPNS. They also did a gilt version.

    https://artpewter.co.uk/index.php?ro...product_id=276
    Last edited by OC Richard; 19th February 21 at 09:13 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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