MAGNIFICENT SILVER MOUNTED PENKNIFE LONDON 1872 BY
H. W. DEE
A museum quality silver mounted penknife by Henry William Dee marked for London 1872. The penknife contains on one side a main blade 110 mm long that opens and locks into place and can be released on the back of the knife. It also has second smaller blade 45 mm as well as a curved blade with serrations, measuring 55mm. A saw blade measuring 110 mm, a sewing spike measuring 115 mm, a nail file with screw driver end measuring 63 mm and a triangular spike measuring 500 mm complete this side.
On one side at the end we find a removable scissors and on the opposite end is a removable ruler. On the other side of the knife are a removable tweezers and a spike measuring 100 mm.
On the back of the knife the following are found, an auger measuring 50 cm, a button hook, a steel nail remover, a grooming tool for nails with cuticle pusher and nail file. We also have a corkscrew with a grooved helical worm in perfect condition.
The knife also has a silver hanging ring. It measures 150 mm excluding the hanging ring attachment and weighs in at 445 grams.
The firm of H.W. Dee are one of the most interesting makers of novelty silverware from the Victorian period. Based in London they were manufacturing silversmiths and wholesalers who also supplied top retailers such as Garrard’s, Leuchars & Son and Asprey’s. This knife as well as being the largest and most equipped is also the earliest known.
An example of this knife by Henry William Dee dated 1875 is in the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. See ‘State Hermitage Museum Catalogue, British Silver’ by Marina Lopato, page 259, Catelogue no 113. It states: ” It was bought in Saint Petersburg in the English Shop of Nicholas and Plincke, and belonged to Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, later Alexander III”.