British Pattern 1888 Mk II Lee Metford Rifle Bayonet made at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield in 1902. Production of the Mk II pattern 1888 bayonet totalled less than half that of the Mk I type II, making it harder to find today.
This desirable bayonet is in good condition for its 119 years of age and is highly collectable. The 301mm double-edged blade is nicely marked on the ricasso with a flat crown above ER (Edward VII) and the production date, 2 ‘02 (February, 1902). Additional reissue dates of 1904 and 1905 with accompanying Birmingham inspection marks are also stamped on the ricasso.
The obverse ricasso is marked with EFD below the War Department arrow, an Enfield inspection mark and a bend test stamp. The blade spine also bears an Enfield inspection stamp. The blade was service sharpened and is in good condition with minor use related marks and some very shallow pitting and tarnish on one side (it can hardly be felt when running one’s finger along the blade surface).
The wooden grip is firm and in good condition with two brass rivets. An issue/rack number (S535?) is stamped into one scale. The steel crosspiece and pommel are bright and free from rust with a pale speckling of tarnish. The pommel is stamped with the number 419. The press-stud locking mechanism is in good working order.
The bayonet is complete with its Enfield made black leather scabbard with steel mounts. The black leather is stamped with the Enfield maker’s mark, crowned inspection mark, War Department arrow and the manufacture date of 1905, corresponding to the bayonet’s last reissue date. The scabbard is in overall good condition with wear and pitting to the mounts. The stitching is intact and firm. The bayonet sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a good example of the iconic British Boer War and Boxer Rebellion bayonet.
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