In the mid 70’s I owned a brick and mortar sporting goods store. About this time S&W made an all out effort to promote their line of hunting knives. In 1975 they announced a 4 knife set that was outstanding. I ordered a set and after waiting almost a year I finally cancelled the backorder.
What were they?
Blackie Collins designed the knives and and Smith & Wesson ordered 1000 sets. Each knife came in its own lined Mahogany presentation box bearing the S&W logo on the lid. The set included a Bowie, Outdoorsman, Survival and Skinner pattern. The blades were beautifully etched with a scene appropriate to the pattern. The guards and pommels were sculptured sterling silver with a hand engraved escutcheon inlaid in the handle bearing the serial number. All four knives bore the same serial number.
Smith & Wesson made a huge stumble producing the knives and the offer of 1000 sets withered to just 800 completed sets. Dealers like myself grew frustrated with the delays and cancelled orders. My understanding was it was 1980 before the 800 sets were completed. By then, interest had waned and they rather fell into obscurity.
The workmanship was fantastic and the design and embellishments were definitely presentation grade.
I finally got a set!
This summer I was fortunate to come across a full set of the 4 knives with matching serial numbers #042. This is the first full set I’ve seen in many years. So many of the sets were broken up and sold as individual knives making the full sets very rare.
The knives are in mint condition as are the presentation boxes. I’ve displayed them at several shows and the reaction has been great. Unless your an ‘old timer’ most people aren’t even aware of the sets. Smith did make other individual Collector Grade knives but the four knife set is unique.
I’m not a collector but I love having unique pieces pass through my hands. I haven’t decided if I’ll put them up for sale in the Trestle Pine Knives store, on Ebay or GunBroker. For now, I’m just enjoying sharing them with others at the shows and with a few close friends.