The ‘Case’ for collecting R.W. Case knives

  • Case – America’s great knife story
  • Coming back to Case
  • Case Club

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This 1997 Case 3-1/2" knife features new red stang on the handle and the Case XX USA stamp. It is valued at $65.00.

The production of pocket knives in America may have begun the mid-1800s, but there’s no question that the popularity of this style of knife remains strong generation after generation.

It’s a tool carried by everyone from steel workers and farmers, to hunters, fisherman and bankers, as well as people of all ages. At the same time, these timeless tools are often popular collectibles and sentimental heirlooms. Whether it is grandpa’s favorite knife with its bone handle worn from decades of use and carry, or a brand new knife, given as a gift, with a sharp and shiny blade or two, the collectible nature of pocket knives is just as popular.

At one point in time there were hundreds of U.S. cutlery companies producing pocket knives and among those emerged the name that’s become synonymous with pocket knives, Case. From the minds and mastery of W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company some of the most popular and prized knives of all time have come. When other knife companies went to synthetic handle materials, Case continued to use natural materials, and even expanding that list of materials. Today Case pocket knives have handles made of everything from natural woods and minerals, to genuine stag, exotic mother of pearl and engraved bone, among other materials.

The popularity of Case knives among collectors is another highlight of the cutlery community.  For some it’s a natural connection to becoming a Case collector, for others, like Cutlery News Journal editor Scott King, the conversion takes a unique path.

“When I first started collecting pocketknives I learned of Case knives. Then I kept running into Case knives. Everyone I talked to talked about Case knives. It was obvious Case knives were very popular and the throngs of collectors wanted Case knives,” King wrote in a Cutlery News Journal entry.

However, as a self-proclaimed rebel, King isn’t one to follow the crowd, and chose to start collecting knives other than the traditional – other than Case.

“Everyone who has been ‘round knife collecting for very long knows Case is where every collector eventually gets to-one way or another,” King wrote in a Cutlery News Journal entry. “Try as I might, I couldn’t collect old toenails without falling in love with Case and its fascinating history. I resisted it tooth and nail and hen naturally fell for this firm.”

King’s story didn’t end with becoming a collector of Case, but with membership to the Case Collectors Club. A group of more than 18,000 members from countries around the globe, this club is a testament to the power and popularity of Case knives.

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More Images:

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This modern lockback pattern knife was added to the Case line in 1978. Dubbed the "Mako" because of the image of a shark with Mako etched into the blade, this 4-1/4" knife is valued at $65.00.
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This 1979 2-5/8" Case Model 6201 features a handle made of Delrin instead of bone. Its value is $30.00.
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For years W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Co. used factory catalogs to notify dealers of its line of products. These catalogs are seldom seen today, and are often prized for their images of Case knives and the intriguing promotional sketches. This page is from the Case factory catalog used from 1957 to 1959.

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