Collecting Case Knives
Case is the most collected knife in America. Case knives are made in America by cutlery craftsman. With over 100 years of experience W. R. Case & Sons of Bradford, PA is an American success story. Older Case knives sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars if you can find them. Collecting Case knives is a popular and growing hobby.
Over the years the blade stampings on Case knives have changed. Collectors can date their knives by the type of stamp on the tang. Early stamps can date a knife as made before 1915 or another stamp was used until 1920. The date is determined in a range. Starting in 1970 Case put 10 dots in the stamp. By taking one dot off the stamp each year, Case knives can be dates by exact year. Nine dots would be 1971. Eight dots would be 1972. In 1980 a different stamp was used with 10 dots. In 1981 the new stamp with nine dots. The same system was used in the 1990’s and in 2000. With this system knives can be dated to the year they were made. Collectors love this and collect each year of their favorite knives.
Case knives are also stamped with a number that indicates the handle material, number of blades and pattern number. For instance on a blade stamped 8254 the 8 is a genuine pearl handle, the 2 is two blades and the 54 pattern is a “Trapper”. On a blade stamped 1120 the first one would indicate a walnut handle, the second one indicated one blade and a 20 pattern is a “Peanut”. Case has put pattern numbers on every knife since 1949.
The date stamp and the pattern stamp increase the collectability of case knives. Collectors specialize in collecting dates, patterns, handle types, or combinations of these.
There are many resources for Case knife collectors. The Case knife web site is informative and easy to use, www.wrcase.com. On this site you will find Case College, join the Case collectors club, visit Tales and Traditions for some background or locate a dealer. The pattern and stamping numbers are explained in detail on the Case Knives web site. An internet search for Case Knives will start you in the right direction. Other resources include knife collecting books, knife web sites and knife shows. Collectors display their knives a many shows and are happy to answer any question.
Case knives are also made to use and can be found in hardware stores, sporting goods stores, pawn shops, and on line. The peanut is a great knife to give a child as a first knife. It will fit a child’s hand. It is well made. If it is taken care of properly it will last a lifetime. Many collectors put their first Case knife in their collection after using it for decades.
See the knives pictured at www.nelsoncustomknives.com