Original Imperial German M-1898/05 Transitional Butcher Sawback Bayonet and Scabbard by Erfurt Arsenal - Dated 1908
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting example of the M-1898/05 Bayonet (Seitengewehr), which was the most common German Bayonet of the First World War. It was intended for use on the standard issue service rifle of Imperial Germany: the Mauser-designed Gewehr 98 (GEW 98). It features a heavy 14.5-inch steel blade with distinct bulge toward the point, giving extra weight and power to the business end, known as a "butcher blade".
These bayonets are almost always seen in one of two configurations: old and new. The earlier a/A (alter Art = old model) bayonets were made with a vestigial muzzle ring, known as "high horns", and did not have a flashguard on the back of the grip. The later n/A (neuer Art = new model) bayonets were made with a flashguard on the back of the trip, and did not have the vestigial muzzle ring. However it looks like this change was not instantaneous, as here we have a rare transitional model, which has both the "high horns" and the flashguard. We have never had one of these before!
Almost all examples with the vestigial muzzle ring would later have the "horns" ground away, so it is very rare to find an intact example such as this! This also means that transitional examples like this one would become indistinguishable from the n/A examples.
This example has a very desirable "sawback" blade, which was intended for use by pioneers to saw through brush and obstacles. Unfortunately a rumor got out that it was intended to inflict grievous harm on enemies, so a lot of the sawback bayonets had this feature removed, making them hard to find. This example has a blade in very good condition, with some staining and light peppering from age and use. It has definitely been sharpened several times and has seen real use in the field. The sawback is is still sharp, and does not look to have seen extensive use.
The blade ricasso is maker marked Crown / ERFURT, indicating manufacture at the Royal Erfurt Arsenal, located in Thuringia. The spine is proof marked Crown / W directly in front of the cross guard, for Kaiser Wilhelm II, the German Emperor. Under this is 08, indicating production in 1908. This example has a very nice set of original grooved wood grips, which do show some wear and small chips. The hilt has a lovely overall oxidized patina, and the bayonet lock is fully functional.
The crossguard has been marked with a unit marking, 24. P. 4. 73., which most likely this refers to the 24th Pioneer Battalion, 4th squadron, 73rd weapon. This is exactly the type of unit that would have been armed with these bayonets.
The included steel scabbard is in good condition, showing an overall oxidized patina, having faded from the original blued finish. It does not show any major oxidation or rust, and the frog button is still intact and unbent. The only issue of note is that the retaining screw for the throat is missing.
A very interesting example of a very hard to find bayonet, never messed with or altered, just the way we like to find them. Ready to display!
Blade length: 14 1/2”
Blade Style: Single Edged "Butcher" with Fuller & Sawback
Overall length: 19 3/4”
Crossguard: 2 3/4”
Scabbard length: 15 1/4"
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