Monday, September 20, 2010

Detecting Counterfeit Knives

Unfortunately, there are a few knuckle-heads out there who are eager to make a buck in the knife business by any means necessary. Some might attempt to steal our precious little gems, while others may try to defraud us by selling imitation knives.

Many counterfeit knives by modifying existing knives to imitate more valuable pieces. Most of these crooks prey on the beginner and novice collectors, but some counterfeiters are good at what they do and a can sometimes fool a veteran collector.

Reproduction or Counterfeiting is probably the largest problem with knife collecting. Rest assured however, that it is not that big of a problem. There are usually telling signs of an imitation that are obvious if you know what to look for. You can protect yourself by taking a few simple precautions.

Educate Yourself

The most important thing that you can do is educate yourself. Before you go off putting much money into knives read a lot about them, talk to other collectors, and ask lots of questions.

Closely examine what you are buying.

Check for the following:

  1. Make sure all parts match. Some counterfeits are made by taking pieces from two or more knives and turning them into one. Look to make sure all of the metal parts have similar age marks. If you find a knife with tarnished, old looking back springs with brand new looking blades for example, you know something is not right.
  2. Make sure the tang of the knife is the same width as the back springs. Counterfeiters will often take an old knife and grind away the existing stamp and re-stamp or etch on one of more value. This trick can usually be spotted by comparing the width of the tang with the back springs. If the tang has been ground, it will be thinner than the springs. Some counterfeiters will go the extra length to take the knife apart and grind down the springs to match. Most will not go to this extreme unless it is a very valuable piece. If this is the case, you can match the back spring width with a like pattern knife made by the same manufacturer around the same period.
  3. Make sure the pattern number and tang stamp match the knife you are looking at. If you find a knife with a pattern number that indicates that it has bone handles, but you notice that the knife is made with genuine stag, you should stay away from it. This goes along with educating yourself about knives. Learn about pattern numbers and tang stamps from books, this website, or by talking to other collectors.
  4. Make sure the person that you are buying from is reputable.
    Ask around. Make sure that the dealer is respected and has a sell-back guarantee. Any good dealer will allow you to return a knife if it is not what you thought it was. It is crucial to their reputation.

If there is any doubt in your mind, get a second opinion.

There is usually a knowledgeable well respected knife collector or dealer around when you are considering buying a knife. Ask someone you trust if there is anything that you are not certain about.


All Comments are Welcome and Appreciated.


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