Tag Archives: Western

Neat Old Knives From 2017

I’ve been bemoaning the fact that 2017 was pretty devoid of much ‘new’ in the way of NEW products.   So many of the new releases were just reworks of old knives we’ve seen before and the excitement level was pretty low.  I hope that’s not the way of the future.

Probably the most exciting truly new item was the release of the Schatt & Morgan Express Knives.  And in reality, this is a rework of another series of old knives but at least it was new to most of us.  The acceptance wasn’t as wide as a more conventional traditional folder, but the guys into collecting the old auto’s seemed to love it.

Schatt & Morgan Express

When I got to thinking about neat older knives, a couple of pieces I’ve acquired this past year came to mind.  Now they’re not necessarily anything I think needs to be re-released, their uniqueness is interesting.

The first piece that ranks high on the the cool list was the Cattaraugus King of the Woods “Yukon” that I picked up at an auction.  I sold it this fall to a collector that was thrilled to get his hands on it due to it’s rarity.  It was truly a big old workhorse of a knife.

Cattaraugus King of the Woods “Yukon”

Another work horse is the Western States lockback.  It’s lock mechanism is very similar to the more recent GEC Bull Lock.  Again, like the Cattaraugus, this is a big knife that was made to be used by the serious hunter, trapper and farmer.

I have to believe that in their day, these knives were met with wild enthusiasm by the serious outdoorsman.  Today, knives like these would immediately be popular sellers but unfortunately most would end up in display cases.  The world has changed and the need for a heavy duty work knife that will actually get used is rare.

From work knives, I have a couple of ‘fun’ knives.  I’ve always liked looking at some of the smaller, miniature knives.  This little hunter caught my eye primarily due to the chunk of stag used in the handle.  The overall quality of the knife is great.   The tang stamp is simply “Solingen”.  Wish I had the original sheath.  They may not be practical but I think it’s a holdover from my youth that they just looked cool.

Mini-Hunter

And speaking of original sheaths, this little Mora is a true gem.  I had a guy I’ve known for a number of years show up at a gun show and ask me if I was interested in buying it.  It didn’t take long to say yes.

Mora Fillet Knife

The quality of the embellishment on the sheath is fantastic.  The knife has obviously been used and put away wet more then once without a good cleaning.  It’s amazing the sheath is in the condition it is.  Someday I have to work on cleaning up the blade.  It’s not deeply pitted, just stained.

Not so long ago, I asked what would it take to create some excitement in the knife world like we saw 8 or 9 years ago.  Personally, as a huge fan of the of the premium steels, I hope we see  more manufacturers use them in more of the traditional patterns.

I hope the legislative changes that seem to be taking place across the country continues and we see a wider acceptance of practical auto’s.  There’s definitely a place for more reasonably priced, high quality auto’s that are built with the sportsman in mind.  I’m not talking about $250+ tactical style auto’s but how about a nice GEC #23 auto?  Congrats to Buck for taking the step they did.

Wouldn’t it also be great to see more companies take the lead from Spyderco’s Mule Team project and put out some ‘experimental’ blades for folks to try?  Spyderco deserves an award for taking the initiative and having the creativity they’ve shown with that project.  I know it’s given me the opportunity and motivation to try some different blade steels without spending a ton of cash.

There are so many other ideas that are possible.  All I can do is hope!!!!

Weekly Update 2.26.16 The Auction

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.

Schrade Frogman Defender
Schrade Frogman Defender
Rosco Sheffield England Just liked the lines on this one.
Rosco Sheffield England Just liked the lines on this one.
Cattaraugus King of the Woods.
Cattaraugus King of the Woods.
Western States Lever Lock
Western States Lever Lock
1940-1964 Stag Trapper
1940-1964 Case Stag Trapper Appears un-sharpened.

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!

Jack Knife Ben
Jack Knife Ben

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!