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C. Tenney Trading Co red pocket knife and wooden box, WorthPoint, Dan Borsey, collectibles

Pocket knives are collectible from boy scout days to the pen knife on your key chain. The Swiss Army Knife is currently the most popular version with multiple knives, scissors, a nail file, and a corkscrew as standard issue. Vintage or antique knives can make for a beautiful collection with mother of pearl or wooden handles, brass liners, fancy springs and various designs.

Well known 20th century knives include names like Buck Knives, Leatherman, Scrimshaw, Remington, Schrade, Sabre, and Camillus – makers of the US Army pocket knife. These were makers of locking knives, not to be confused with switchblade knives. Most pocket knives, are of the lockback variety – where the blade is flipped out of its holster by hand and it locks to prevent accidental closure. To enclose the blade, a bit of pressure is applied which “unlocks” it and returns it to a closed position.

Pocket knives can be collected by themes. Some are engraved on the handle with symbols such as fishing or hunting. A pocket knife may be a part of World War II memorabilia or it might be a commemorative knife. Some are collected based on their materials; handles can be made out of marble, ivory, or carved wood. A collection might include a knife because of a particularly interesting story behind it.

Knives may also be collected by manufacturer – some manufacturers are more popular than others. The age or time period of the knife, type of knife, brand, materials, and certainly the condition all come into play. The condition of handle, blade, and spring/lock are important to consider when placing a value on a pocket knife.

A glossary of terms for pocket knives can be found at:

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