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.

16 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

  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

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