I touched on some of the new releases that came through from Queen this week and promised a bit of info about the auction I attended last weekend. Quite the trip.
Just before Christmas I had the opportunity to meet Frank Fox from Fox Auction Company in Mason City, IA. We had a lengthy conversation, found out we had a lot of friends in common and the conversation turned to auctions, knives and such. Frank encouraged me to check out an estate sale he had scheduled (that was held last weekend) that had a considerable number of knives being offered. I checked it out, ended up going and had a great time.
The sale was three days held at the fairgrounds in Osage, IA. Great venue for a sale with a large open building, lots of natural light, comfortable chairs and room to move around. Even with up to three auction rings going at one time, the merchandise for sale was laid out for inspection on folding tables and you still had room to move.
While I was primarily interested in the knives, this was the most eclectic collection of collectibles I’ve seen in ages. It was a three day sale AND there will be another two day sale in April to finish things off.
The first non-knife related item to catch my eye was a wooden peg leg from the 1800’s (sold for $1000). There were boxes and boxes of old post cards and photo’s, glass marbles that sold for upwards of $100 each. Antique fishing tackle, steel toys, BB guns, art prints, and on and on. The unique thing was the condition of most of the stuff was excellent. I didn’t know the fellow that accumulated this collection, but he had an eye for quality.
When the knife sales started, it seemed to be 8-10 serious collectors present that knew what they were bidding on (self not included). There were probably around 2 dozen hatchets, mostly Marble’s, that one young lady bid on with a vengeance. There were definitely some jewels in the group and she ended up with some really nice pieces.
Then there was a large group of WWII era fighting knives and bayonets with some nice rare pieces included. There was also a fair amount of WWII items in the auction and to tell you all what kind of a guy Frank Fox is, he bought lunch for any military vets that wanted to eat.
Here’s a list of a few of the notable pieces and there sale price.
- WWII KaBar USN MK2 $140
- WWII Kennedy Arms Fighting Knife $225
- US LF&C WWO Trench Knife $375
- Solingen Puma WWII Boot Knife w/Scabbard $175
- Solingen Puma Dress Bayonet Bone Handle $475
- British Dagger Wilkinson Sword London $1000
And so it went.
On Saturday they auctioned the folding knives and some fine older fixed blade hunters. Unfortunately, I got involved in another project and ended up getting to the sale late and missed a lot of the offerings. A few that I did see go across the block were some Marble’s 1916 era hunters in the $150-200 range. The Western Boulder, Co seemed stuck in the $50-100 range.
I had a young fella sitting in front of me who just couldn’t buy a knife. My guess is he was probably 15 or 16 and obviously was bidding with a limited budget. No matter which knives were selling, once the bidding topped $25, he dropped out. There just weren’t any sub $25 knives to be had! After a while I started feeling sorry for him having been in the same position when I was younger, but believe me, I dropped out of the bidding on more then one item too!
Here are a few pieces I did pick up.
For the last few years the consensus seems to be that Case prices have been in the dumper and I think the post 1980’s knives still are. Based on selling prices at auction, apparently the older Case’s are making a nice recovery with the solid older pieces selling in the $100 and up range. As you’d expect, condition was a driving factor but not always!
The Jack Knife Ben is a knife a few of you fellow farm boys from the Midwest might recognize. The story behind Jack Knife Ben is interesting and most of these knives had their birth around the Chicago stockyards and spread to the St Paul markets over time. There were a number of different patterns but this particular pattern served a purpose most livestock producers immediately recognize.
I picked up a few other pieces including a nice Case M4 bayonet, Kutmaster fighting knife and so on. Overall, I exercised considerable restraint and believe me, it wasn’t easy. Not being a collector there were a lot of temptations to bid just because something looked interesting, aka, the Rosco pictured above.
And that my friends was how I spent last weekend. Not a cheap weekend, but a fun one. And a tip of my cap to Frank Fox for being a stand up guy regarding our Vets and putting on an outstanding auction!