The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

How to identify an old knife

So, you picked up an awesome knife for $3 at a yard sale or your grandfather gave you his favorite blade and now you’re curious about what type of knife it is and what it’s worth. If you’re looking for an easy way to identify what type of knife you have, here are good places to start.

Find any identifying marks or symbols

The first, and most obvious, place to start is with the knife itself. Look for any sort of symbols, initials or identifying marks. Certain symbols or scratches in the handle or steel of the blade are usually calling cards of certain knifemakers or brands. Sometimes a simple Google search on whatever is on the knife is enough to identify the brand or maker.

Narrow down any possibilities by analyzing the construction

If there aren’t any intentional identifiers on the blade, it’s still possible to narrow down the possibilities of where, when and who it came from by simply looking at the qualities of the knife. For example, if you have a knife with a specific type of lock, you can usually narrow the date it was manufactured with a little research. You could also narrow down where it was made by looking at its style and influence.

Post your picture on websites

The Internet gives you access to billions of people, including many helpful knife enthusiasts. There are many websites, such as Blade Forums, where you can submit pictures of your knives and they’ll do their best to identify your knife.

Get a knife reference book

How could a book be possibly better than the Internet? On many levels, posting your picture is much quicker and easier when you’re trying to ID a knife, but it’s not always as educational. While searching through a reference book like this one on Randall knives for clues, you’ll learn about various styles and will be more likely to spot those rare knives that are being sold for cheap at the garage sales. Picking up books like the annual “Knives” publication will fill you with the knowledge that separates the dabblers from the diehards.

Go to a knife expert

Finally, if you’re all out of ideas and no one can help you, it’s worth seeking out a knife expert or museum curator. You never know if your knife is so rare and valuable that not many people know about it.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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41 Comments

  1. The knife in the picture is pretty amazing. I wish I could find one with such a classy blade.

  2. Can anyone tell me what kind of knife this is . It was my great grandfather’s . Thank you

  3. I have a stiletto knife that found, it has a emblem and all…but k literally can find nothing on the internet..confused.

  4. I have a smart knife or multi utility knife that would be easy to call a swiss army officers knife around late 1800s but it has absolutley no markings except for a tiny y on the bottom of the can opener blade. It is red and has 11 tools would anyone help me identify?

  5. I have a really old knife and can’t find a exact year model for it. Can anyone help me out? And how much it may he worth.

  6. Found this old knife. Made in Titusville Pa can almost read that much.the. shield looks like either. A 6 Pointed leaf or tree would appriate any help in identifying the maker and year. (5 blade folder) thank you

  7. I have an original Buck Knife..one of the first hand made by Al himself…looks like a Bowie knife…it has Buck engraved on it…excellent shape…I’m interested in selling..

  8. I need some help identifying a dagger it has a dusk color double sided blade and the hilt has a dragon coiled around it as fore the sheath it has two lions on it with a blue background anyone know what I’m talking about if you can help holler at me at samcox951@gmail.com

  9. Does anyone know anything about a dagger with the name Cortty inoxi on the blade?

  10. I have a knife that I’m trying to figure out what it is can u help me

    • Bonez Customs Knives

      March 13, 2018 at 1:37 am

      Inox is used to mark stainless steel knives outside the USA as well as Rostfrei and plenty of others. Maybe that’s the Inoxi part though. Cortty I Imagine is the maker or place it was made.

  11. I’m trying to identify if my knife I have is a vintage Randall BC Sheffield English British commando fighting knife. The only markings I can find are on the blade side of the hilt. One side is stamped England and the other is stamped with and I and an arrow. If anyone could help identify it I would appreciate it

  12. I need help can anyone tell me anything about my knife? I cant find any markings of letters or sybols numbers etc. How do i post a pic?

  13. So if anyone can help me out there I have a knife and I’m trying to identify it please if you have any information I can send you my personal number and a few pictures of it and you can do some research and you can get back to me and hey maybe if you interested in it you even can come out and pick it up thanks appreciate

  14. Please I need help with identifying a switchblade knife that I have!!! I cannot find the maker of the knife there is a face or an outline of a face with Orthello Rostefi and I cannot locate anything about this knife can anyone help me please

  15. I have a knife all it has on it is a deer emblem on the handle head and body can’t identify it

  16. I was given this beautiful knife I’m just trying to find Information on it

  17. Very old heavy duty built slight shape of coke bottle.wooden handles one heavy folding blade only letters I can make out is …D…R…TT…UNDER EACH OTHER..it’s appx 10 inch long .metal n fnt of handle is little over inch long rear metal appx. Half inch long..a total of 4 brands n handle and 1 in f metal and 2 in r metal price..help me on this old beast

  18. William Buchanan

    January 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    I’m looking to find out how to identify my dagger

  19. Has anyone heard of SAVAGE branded Folding Knives?

  20. Could use some help tryin identifying knife. It’s a big single blade knife it looks like a case or an old-timer but it has no markings no nothing I’ve asked people they said case old-timer Old Hickory but I was just wanting to know for sure if you could help me I would appreciate it very much thank you.

  21. I have a knife my friend gave to me, it’s a big recurve/ bowie style knife with a long hooked backbone and above the tip of the blade is a few notched points . The knife brand logo is a wine bottle pouring into a chalice. And the handle is wood but it’s different colors.

  22. I have a 14.25″ long kitchen carving knife (9″ blade). Carbon steel, mid 1900’s or earlier. Marking on blade has the word “Stiletto” engraved within the outline of an arrow with points on each side. Has anyone seen this emblem? In looking up “Stiletto” I only find the illegal/switchblade types of knives.

  23. I have a knife a friend gave me it has no emblems or markings visible . It is one of the oddest knives I’ve seen it looks kinda old I would say from the 70’s or 80’s I think. It’s a lock blade Bowie knife ! Lol! It has brass and wood handle and the locking mechanism is on the side this weird brass flip lock thing ?….. Its 17″ long opened the handle is 6.5″ and the blade is 10.5″ . I would love to know the fact on it . If nothing else it’s a great peice for my collection . Does anyone have a clue ?

  24. 1316. Sinclair st
    8

  25. I have a pocket knife 46p 40k. Any one know who made it ?

  26. I have a knife like the one in the picture what brand is it. There is no marker looks old and has a wood shealth

  27. Have a knife with wooden handle, blade is steel has “Guadal Jal.f.h

  28. i have a nife 1903 is written on its can any body tell about its…

  29. I have a small knife that has a diamond shaped Mark with Z.Y. in the diamond any help identifying would be appriciated it has a single blade on one side and a pare of scissors that are flat across the bottom 3 in long and a half in wide

  30. I have a knife made by a Salish artist “Basil” with elk antler carved eagle handle. very very sharp blade about 2 1/2 inches long with redish sheath any help would be appreciated.

  31. I have found a knife with the stamp(hand bolo forged) on it can anyone help me out

  32. Found this old knife cleaning my grandmother’s house out.. can anyone identify its make and or value… it is yellow tri blade with a bird on its badge

  33. tuesdayissoylentgreenday

    March 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Have a ww1 era pocket knife a family member brought back from France in WW1. The blade has AU GAUL and that is all . Cannot find any info about it. The handles look like old cow horn. My uncle carved his name on lone side and FRANCE on the other .

  34. I have this knife in my grandfathers stuff and have not been able to identify it. There is also a Moore knife and a newspaper clipping of an article with a picture of him standing by his display case with these knives in it.

  35. I have an old twin blade folding knife with BUNNY stamped on the chrome section. It looks similar to a Barlow. I’m assuming it is a cheaper version. Does anyone have information to assist.

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