Antique Leather Black Jack Sap - Early 1900s Display Only
Here we have an antique Black Jack or Sap weapon that has lived a full life, and ready for your display. When holding this in your hand, you're reminded how tough the old days really were. Nasty stuff. Definitely represents America's underground in all it's seedy glory. The slice through the leather is menacing enough.
The early Black Jack comes out of the Chicago estate of a Playboy magazine executive. You read that right. Use your imagination if you like. The sap was likely produced in the early 1900s.
Here is the history of the Black Jack or Sap, courtesy of Wikipedia:
The terms blackjack, cosh, and sap refer to any of several short, easily concealed club weapons consisting of a dense (often lead) weight attached to the end of a short shaft, used as a bludgeon. These weapons work by transferring kinetic energy to the dense core, via the handle, during the swing. When directed at the head, it works by concussing often also cutting the scalp in their classic design (solid lead striking head). This is meant to stun or knock out the subject, although head strikes have a high risk of causing a permanent, disabling brain injury or a fatality.
The terminology used to refer to these weapons varies and can be imprecise, and depends on the source and time period. In some contexts, these terms are used loosely to refer to any small, dense bludgeon, including those that are improvised.
A late 19th-century type is a wooden shaft about one foot long, with a leather- or macramé-covered lead ball as the head. This weapon is referred to by some sources as a "sap" (derived from "sapling" due to its wood handle), or euphemistically as a "life-preserver." The term "cosh" may also originate with this weapon, being derived from the Romani word kašt, meaning "stick" or "piece of wood." The term "blackjack" referring to a hand weapon is of unknown etymology, and the earliest text reference is 1889.
A type used by sailors in the 19th and early 20th century was weighted with a heavy lead ball at one or both ends of a piece of baleen, which is then wrapped in woven or plaited marline or codline and then varnished over. Some carefully made examples were likely to have been used by a boatswain or ship's master-at-arms or ship's mate as a badge of office and discipline-enforcer, so some modern sources call this weapon a "bosun's cosh." The term "blackjack" is sometimes applied by early 20th-century maritime sources to a lead weight knotted or woven into the end of a short piece of rope that serves as a handle, though most sources would consider this weapon a type of slungshot.
In the 20th century, newer designs emerged that were shorter and predominately made of stitched or braided leather, with a flexible spring inside the handle. The slight flexibility and resilience of the handle gave these small clubs a whip-like action. Law enforcement sources from the mid-20th century preferred to divide these into two categories: "Blackjacks", which have a mostly cylindrical striking head, and "saps" which have a flat, usually oval-shaped head. In common usage, these terms have become interchangeable, so a "sap" of this kind is sometimes more precisely called a flat sap, slap jack or beavertail sap to differentiate it. The sap's flat profile makes it easier to carry in a pocket and spreads its impact out over a broader area, making it less likely to break bone. However, it can also be used to strike with the edge for more focused impact, though this was discouraged by most police departments for precisely this reason. There are several variants of these weapons that use different materials, such as steel instead of lead for the weight, or plastic for the covering. Some variants use powdered metal or even sand for the weight inside the head, usually called a "soft sap," which reduces the likelihood of bone fractures.
Blackjacks and saps were popular among law enforcement for a time due to their low profile, small size, and usability at very close range, such as when grappling with a suspect. Besides the head, they were also used on the elbows, wrists, shins, collarbone, and groin. The flat sap, in particular, could be used to strike large muscle groups with the edge. In the early days of use, they were favored for their ability to stun or knock a suspect unconscious with a blow to the head. By the late 1960s head-strikes with impact weapons in general were strongly discouraged by most police departments and trainers because of the risk of death or permanent injury, as well as its questionable effectiveness.
The antique leather sap measures about 11 1/2" long and 1 1/4" wide at its widest point. The leather wrist strap is separated at the tip (see pics). As stated above, there is a vertical slice about 6" long, likely because of wear and dried leather. There is perfect patina everywhere. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship FedEx to street addresses in the continental USA only (no PO boxes). Free shipping on the antique Black Jack.