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Sterling Marked Old Pocket Knife = Valuable or Not? It Depends on Whom You Ask

  I purchased this beautiful pocket knife from an eBay seller many years ago and I wasn't certain about where it was manufactured.  It has 3 exquisite blades, a set of scissors, very nicely designed metal scrollwork handles and one side is engraved "Sterling."  He told me that he had no specific information on this knife but he believed that it might have been made in China by artisans from India and may have been copied from knives made by other makers.  I've owned this for perhaps 10-14 years and the handles still retain their "like new" shiny metallic luster and the blades open and snap close as they would on a brand  new pocket knife.

  I hadn't looked thru my pocket knife collection for many years, yesterday opened the briefcase where I store them and took another look at this knife.   When I searched eBay I found a listing for a similar looking knife where the seller described it as having been made in Japan by Fujimoto Yuhiro who was a knife maker and also first President of the Japan Custom Knife Makers group.  When I searched Google for information on this man's name I found about 14 or so separate websites which all contained a link to the current eBay listing for this similar 7 blade "Oriental Sterling" knife (shown in 3rd photo).  This other Sterling knife currently on eBay (priced at $1,165.00 "buy it now") is supposedly engraved "Made in Japan" but I haven't yet seen this engraved on my knife.  The eBay listing was apparently made in a hurry and the seller's 3 photos are absolutely terrible.

  I'm doubting that anyone here can instantly identify the source of my knife but wanted to explain what we sometimes have to go thru to determine the value and history of our collectibles.  If this current "Japanese" knife on eBay sells for $1,165.00 I'd speculate that my knife might be worth $500 or so.  I'm still not convinced that mine is a Sterling Silver knife but if so I got a deal when I bought this on eBay; I don't remember the price I paid back then but would guess around $45 or so.  Whomever made my knife it's one of my favorites and if I do sell it I'd likely ask a lot for it.  I today checked completed eBay listings for "Oriental Sterling Knife" and found about 3 similar looking knives which all sold for between $19 and $30 so I'm not convinced about the source of my knife.  fyi it's a little difficult to take superb photos of my knife due to how shiny it is.


  This knife is currently listed on eBay for $1,165.00 and described as having been made in Japan.

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Replies to This Discussion

Take this to a dealer in pocket knives. Might have some serious value

  Being factual I have at least 200 or so pocket knives, most were made by Imperial/Colonial in Rhode Island but I also collected a few other different sorts of knives for about 30 years. I've rarely sold them; I believe that these knives are a specialty in themseves and that only someone who began collecting years ago might have direct knowledge about the maker.  The eBay listing for this 7-blade knife notes that the seller bought this about 30 years ago at a large knife show at the Higashi-Ginza store in Tokyo.  I don't believe everything that I read on eBay and only know what I myself find by doing my own research.  I can instantly see the quality in my knife and if it's really Sterling Silver that would be nice.  I paid very little for it and was satisfied with my purchase and to me that's what counts.  The fact that other knives like this have sold on eBay for next to nothing tells me that there's likely only a few people who really know where these were made.  I doubt that this knife now on eBay will sell for $1,165 or anywhere near that. I personally wouldn't pay over $50 for that one because I already have a much nicer cleaner knife by the same company. 

Yours is sterling. The mark is in the 2nd photo inside the scroll work on the right side.

  I saw the "Sterling" mark on mine and it's the same mark as on the Oriental knife on eBay but because some people believe that these are "replicas" of other maker's knives I believe that it might not be Sterling.  If these knives were truly Sterling (the handles) they likely would bring more money than some of them brought on eBay.

You say "the handles still retain their "like new" shiny metallic luster".   Unless you are keeping it in a special wrapper (or unless you mean after you polished it), if it was sterling, it would be tarnished.

  I've never polished this and keep it in a small cardboard box; I agree that if it was indeed Sterling Silver it should have some discoloration but it's still very shiny.  Perhaps the eBay seller was correct about this having been made in China by workers from India.  It's still a well made knife and very exotic to me.

Mark, while I would not want to get "ripped off" if I were to sell something, monetary value ranks rather low on my list of why I collect/own something.  My dearest objects are those that have come down from relatives - and most have very little or no monetary value.  The knife is meaningful for you and I believe that is what is important.

Mark, its a lovely knife but those blades cannot be sterling silver. Sterling is soft, it would bend and break first time out. My guess is the handles are sterling, they are also "diamond cut". Or they appear to be. That is a jewelry making technique that allows details to stand out and shine in the light. 

Workmanship appears to be hand done, but is a bit crude, so my guess would be India or Pakistan. Probably dating to mid to late 1960's to 1970's. Also if you check the bolsters that may also help you ID country of origin. Hope that helps, nice find!

  I knew that the blades on this knife could not be made of Sterling silver; it doesn't matter what this knife was made of it's still a gem for me.  Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder. A similar example is this unique hatchet I found in a local antiques store; I have and had little experience in buying hatchets except for the ones from Sears that I now rarely use on my property.  After I purchased this hatchet I began doing some online research about the design on this one and I found that it was very rare.  The blade is not attached to the wood handle but is instead mounted on a metal section which slides onto the handle.  I posted photos of this on a website devoted solely to axes, hatchets and tomahawks and not a single person there could identify where this was made or who made it.  Now that's strange, isn't it?  

I gave up worrying about who made this hatchet because I find it unique and well made.  I don't care about its' value as it cost me only a small amount.  I know that much of my collection from many thrift stores consisted of sterling silver jewelry and kitchenware that was being sold for literally under $5.00 so the initial price of a collectible doesn't affect my appreciation for it.  Perhaps this hatchet was made by a single individual just for himself and he never produced another one like this. Another example of being considered a "non-expert" is my researching an old oil painting that I inherited from my mother.  The artist's name "E. W. Sork" was clearly inscribed on the front of my painting and 5 of their works with this same name had been sold over the last 20 or so years but not a single other individual seller bothered to find out that this artist "E. W. Sork" was during her lifetime a woman artist who'd attended a famous art college/university in Philadelphia, PA.  It took me only about 30 minutes to research her name, find out her entire life story and provide this information to a well known art gallery in New Mexico which was selling one of her works for $2,500.  What I've learned over the years is that sometimes a single devoted individual who has little prior information about a subject makes more headway in identifying an unknown collectible than would 5 other supposed "experts" who believe that they "know it all" when it comes to things they've been collecting for 20 or more years.  Being an "expert" in no way means that one knows everything and there's always something more to learn.  fyi I've almost come to believe that my knife's handles are not Sterling Silver; and the person who might pay the $1,165 on eBay for their similarly designed "Sterling" knife (with its' good story) will later regret believing what the seller has described in their online listing.  So much for truth.

.  

I adore the axe, it looks like a throwing axe.  A number of medieval and Viking axes used rivet mounted axe heads. Though not usually which such care to the refined finished look. I believe you are right in thinking this is made in more modern times as a one-off item.

I have seen this method used previously in person with a similar style of technique and rivet.  The blacksmith I saw was replicating a pre-existing design he had reference material for. He had the exact same brass mount, but choose to create a Damascus head for use instead. Unfortunately, he passed away a couple of years ago so I cannot enquire as to the design he chose from.

I agree, 'experts' are great and have their benefits, but there is certainly that element of fresh perspective to consider, especially in the field of research and problem-solving.  Someone in the know may use technical terms for searches while overlooking alternative lay-terms which could yield a larger result, especially when using the internet as your main source of research, a repository of information put together by predominantly lay-people.

I recall an item being posted in the group here a while ago, no-one knew what it was, I found out by chance whilst searching online for something entirely different and because my search contained one keyword in common, it showed up.  I later was speaking with my mother about how randomly internet search results can be and showed her the item, she recognised it before I even told her what it was, because she had used one quite often growing up.

About the knife, can you post a picture of the other side?

Curiosity says that I should ask what the item was that your mother recognized. :-)

ha ha, good for me, good old fashioned human curiosity is why many of us are here in the first place.

I had to go back through the posts to give you a link to it. Assuming you haven't read this post before yourself, check out the pictures first, have your guess then read through the posts to see if you were right.  Unless of course, you are smarter than I am and know straight away what it is.

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