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.

Unfortunately, the simple task of determining a knife and its worth can be quite tricky.

But if you’re looking for a good place to start on your journey of identifying a knife, keep reading.

1. Find 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. These are typically called maker’s marks and can range from symbols, scribbles, messy signatures, or logos. However, if there are no identifying marks, it’s very possible it’s a clone.

Sometimes a simple Google search on whatever is on the knife is enough to identify the brand or maker.

For example, let’s say you stumble upon an old slipjoint that looks like an antique with this marking:

A Google search on Graef & Schmidt will lead you to understand that it’s an old company from the early 20th century. Then, if you want an idea about how much it’s worth, take a look on eBay where they range from $20 to $350 depending on the model.

2. Get a reference book

How could a book be possibly better than the Internet? The Internet is new while most of the antique knives you’re searching for probably don’t have much information online.

There are plenty of reference books out there like Randall Knives: A Reference Book from 2007. But if you found a maker’s mark and can’t identify it, there is one book that rules over others: Goins Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings. It’s a big book of markings from history that will help any collector or enthusiast ID an old knife.

While the book appears to be out of print, the database might be available through Knife Magazine with a paid subscription. It’s unclear whether the online portion of the database search is available at the moment, so I recommend reaching out to Knife Magazine for more information.

3. Analyze construction and materials

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.

I’ve been asked to identify hundreds of knives throughout the years, and 90 percent of the time, the knives are made using cheap materials or by copying well-known designs or knife makers. If that’s the case, it’s very possible it comes from China or Pakistan and is worth very little monetarily.

If the construction is poor or things don’t quite fit together seamlessly, that can be another indication it’s just a simple Chinese-made knife.

4. Browse through eBay

Earlier, I suggested browsing eBay to find the value of a knife that you identified. However, it can be an option if you’re still looking to identify a knife.

For example, if you have a what looks like a stockman — which is a nonlocking folder typically with three blades — you can search something like vintage stockman with bone handle and you’ll see a list of potential matches.

5. Post your picture on websites

The Internet gives you access to billions of people, including many helpful knife enthusiasts. However, people don’t really want to be bombarded with questions asking “what knife is this and how much is it worth?” That’s why I only recommend going this route if you’re exhausted all other avenues and determined that it could be historically significant.

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. There are also a growing number of knife-related subreddits on Reddit like r/knifeclub, r/knives, r/bladesmith, and more. There’s now even a r/KnifeID subreddit.

Help identify mysterious knife
byu/superbeefwithcheese inknifeclub

7. 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.


  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 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 [email protected]

  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. Lorie Daniels

    July 4, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    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’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 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

  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

    • Bambi Harding

      July 25, 2022 at 4:55 am

      Stands for the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Not sure what the f.h. is….

  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

    • U had me at diomond send me pic please details specs authenticity history story how u really dont even want part with but would for that much but prob go down to this or even more since im nice knive conasorist history buffer person

      • I just baught a large lot of some rare knives or knives that are out this world large unloved but nice unattendeed no story of any blood shed for ages but few rare to me knives like 15 inch pakistan red deer salesman sample i think with alot of artist marking im trying figure out how take pic now

      • Rock I have an old woodsman knife by Shrade. 165OT. I received this old knife in the box with the plastic still on the blade. Mine stands out as it has no markings on the blade. on the handle it just has the old timer brass plate. This came from a person who was a sales rep. He had a case of many many old knives. Can’t be any newer than the 70’s to my knowledge. Can you possibly help?

  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. David Knowles

    April 6, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    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.

  36. I’m trying to see what kinda knife I have and how much it’s worth

  37. Anyone know about these knives. I know they are from WW2. Any info is much appreciated.

  38. William Hughes

    June 5, 2020 at 6:47 am

    I’ve got a single blade Sheffield England folding pocket knife with a bone handle and the body where the blade attaches is six sided and it’s got ONB on metal I’ve looked all over line everywhere books everything I can possibly find it cannot find one like this nowhere

  39. We are professional scuba divers, we found an old knife in the sea and we would want to know details about it if possible. I’ll send the pics of it by mail when u reply

  40. Michael Lee SHEPARD

    July 20, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Need help identifying a hilt my son and I found in our front yard while metal detecting. Is it a toy ? While washing it off carefully it broke. Maybe pewter ? Has a rams head type top with loop for lanyard.

  41. What knifes are ago and worth
    Yard sale find Ed

  42. I cannot find any identification for this knife? Any ideas?

    It has a bone handle and the only marking is an uppercase R with an arrow thru it.


  43. If I post pics can someone tell me what I have no the are 3 blades and same marking on handles. They were my grandpas

  44. Jonathan Tyler White

    November 12, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    I’ve got a very old 1 blade wooden handles knife the guy who I got it from said it was a LISTENER but I cant find it online anywhere I need help figuring out what kind bc I think it’s worth a lot.

  45. I have a tiny (1.5 inch) switch blade. it has one blade, mother of pearl handle. It also says Germany and I think it says Ecosi. I am not certain If E or i is correct as the letters are very tiny and not very clear.

  46. I have a fish knife and knife look like a fish special hunting knife Mark diamond

  47. I got this 10 in bowie knife with what looks like elk horn handle and the only maker mark on it is CAT. It has a leather case with snakeskin on the outside of the front of it.

  48. Robert Calderon

    November 4, 2021 at 3:15 am

    I have a duzzi of a blade. 50 cent yard sale gift. Seems to be solid brass. Most likely from India. Tiger character with an odd lock.had a painting on the blade itself. Has a serrated blade like I’ve never seen. Has old insignias of Aztec or Greek trAditional markings. Please help it’s bothering me not to know where this beautiful weapon of death began it’s journey, and how why or what did I do to deserve such a gift🥺

  49. Glen A Risdon

    June 14, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    looking for info on an old ceremonial[?] knife with a stamped circle with R , Z [with a bar] ,over an M inside it , followed by M7/19 over 1938.

  50. Anthony W Lutz

    July 10, 2022 at 3:32 pm

    I have the same dagger but cannot figure out what it is from it is absolutely amazing

  51. I found an imperial ireland B.A.S.S. double blade pocket knife and was wondering how I could tell the age of it?

  52. Can someone help identify this knife?

    • I have a custom forged antler handled Bowie knife that has a marking etched into the blade and was hoping someone could help me identify the maker by the marking. How can I up a photo here?

  53. What kind?

  54. I’m trying to find out what kind of knife I have it’s old and the makers mark isn’t anywhere that I have found

  55. I have an old knife that I can’t identify. It looks like two cannon barrels crossed

  56. I’ve got an old case XX knife and I can’t find nothing about it can you help me out

  57. The knife in the photo is a Talabon bolo knife from the Philippines . They are hand made and probably a WW2 bring back. You got a real good deal. But as far as a set value? . It is hard to tell it depends on the knife. They vary widely in quality..

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