The 7th edition of the series that began under the title Levine’s Guide to Knives and Their Values, with a new title, new editor, and contributions from several prominent knife authorities such as Pete Cohan, Bill Claussen, Richard White, Dave Ellis, and Larry Oden. Still the best-ever general information and identification guide to antique knives, and a must-have for every collector’s bookshelf.
BOOK REVIEW (of previous 6th edition)
Reviewed by Ron Bucher
Recently a friend told me about a brand new book that was available on knife collecting. So, I said, tell me again why I need another knife guide? Can’t I find what I need in one of the twenty or so that are already lined up on the shelf? The answer is: maybe not. If I’m looking for information on Remington, or Case, or Robeson, or one of a couple dozen other popular brands that are always covered in the popular guides I might locate what I need to know. If my new treasure has a number on the back of the tang there’s a chance I’ll find it, or if I have time to look through hundreds of pages of catalogue cuts, until my eyes cross, I might spot something that looks similar. But what if the knife is stamped Mulberry Cutlery, or Catskill Knife Company? What if it’s not marked at all and looks to be hand made and really old? Wouldn’t it be great to have a book that would help determine the value of any knife, folding or fixed blade, American or foreign, fairly new or 200 years old? Well listen up, Pilgrim. I have got a knife book for you!
The new Blade’s Guide to Knives & Their Values is just that book and a whole lot more. It lists 2800 knife manufacturers, from the U.S. and around the world, and their dates of operation spanning over two centuries. It contains a multitude of lists, charts, photographs, and illustrations that enable one to identify and place a value on virtually any knife one is likely to find. There are detailed histories of the important American knife companies since their beginnings in the 19th Century, histories of the major cutlery centers of the world, and sections on military knives, hunting knives, and exotic foreign and antique knives from every continent.
In addition there are special sections covering the pioneers of modern hand made and factory made knives from W.W. Scagel and Bill Moran to Buck and Gerber, hundreds of current custom makers, several dozen pages covering the expanding market in commemorative, club, and limited edition knives that has developed since the 1970s, and even listings for butcher, kitchen, and table cutlery, a market that has a small but growing following.
Want to find out what your latest cutlery acquisition is worth? It’s easy and the evaluation process is clearly explained. By using the lists of manufacturer’s names and the examples of knife patterns and types you can identify exactly what you have, see examples of that pattern, and find the price range for your knife. Then with a few simple additions or subtractions to adjust for condition, handle material and other factors, you will have a relative value for any knife you find. I say relative because the market is constantly changing and simply looking up a price in any book is only a starting point; but if you can’t find your knife in your book you are stuck. With Blade’s Guide to Knives & Their Values you will always be able to determine a value and experience will help you to find bargains when you buy and to not give away an unrecognized treasure when you sell.
All this and much more in 576 pages filled with drawings, photographs, catalogue cuts, and loads of informative text. Even for the non-collector (yes, there are some odd folks who don’t collect knives) this will be an informative historical work and an invaluable reference on the entire field of cutlery. It is definitely one of the essential books for the novice collector and packed with enough information to satisfy the advanced enthusiast.
Now, I would be remiss if I did not address one question that undoubtedly is on the minds of many readers: the relationship of this guide to the respected work of Bernard Levine. Those of you who are familiar with his books will recognize the majority of the content of this one. Some chapters have been moved but almost nothing been deleted, and much has been added. I would like to have seen the manufacturer’s ratings re-inserted but the workings of the valuing system have been modified to allow it to function without them. With Mr. Levine’s guide, affectionately referred to as LG-IV, out of print and second-hand copies rapidly becoming unaffordable, you will be hard-pressed to better improve your knife library than to buy Blade's Guide. For a fraction of what you would gladly pay for a decent collectable knife you can get something much more valuable in the long run – knowledge! And in knife collecting, as in any endeavor, knowledge is power. If you learn one thing from this book that helps you buy right or sell right, it will pay for itself, and it is a good read in the bargain!
Blade's Guide to Knives and Their Values, 7th Edition
edited by Steve Shackleford
Softcover, 576 pp.
OUT OF PRINT -- Visit our Out of Print page to see if we have any used copies available.