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Case Knife Age Identification
Many various stamps have been used on W. R. Case & Sons knives in the company’s long history. These stamps can be seen on the master blade’s tang and used to determine when the knife was made.
The most famous stamps and the years W. R. Case & Sons were used are seen below, along with an image of where the stamp is found. Keep in mind that a knife’s tang stamp alone cannot have a 100 percent accurate age determination.
Since there are fakes out there, learning other information about knives from different eras is also relevant. Shields, bone and other handle cover colors and types, jigging patterns, hafting methods, and other factors may all be used to add to the evidence.
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Prior to 1920, Case’s most famous stamps on knives were the ones mentioned above.
1920-1940 (some say 1919 – 1945)
The majority of books place this stamp’s use between 1920 and 1940. Many serious knife enthusiasts, however, disagree with this date range, claiming that it was in service from 1919 to 1945. Collectors refer to knives with these stamps as “Tested” or “Circle C” period knives, in my experience.
1940-1964 (some say 1945 – 1964)
The majority of books date this stamp from 1940 to 1964. Many serious knife enthusiasts say that it was originally used between 1945 and 1964. Collectors refer to knives with these stamps as “XX” era knives, in my opinion.
The stamps used from 1970 to 1979 are identical to those used from 1965 to 1969, with the exception that dots were placed underneath the U.S.A. In 1970, ten dots were introduced, and one dot was deleted each year after that, resulting in a special stamp for each year. To be clear, ten dots appear on knives from 1970, nine dots appear on knives from 1971, eight dots appear on knives from 1972, and so on.
Case used the same dating scheme as in the 1970s in the 1980s. Per year, one of the ten dots on the 1980 knives is replaced. The s’s are lightening shaped, and the dots are positioned between the Case XX and the U.S.A., unlike 1970s knives.
Case began using a stamp to imprint the real date on the knife tang in 1990, replacing the previous scheme. Case switched back to the dot dating scheme in the middle of 1993 because it was more popular with collectors.
From the middle of 1993 until the end of 1999, Case reverted to the dot scheme of the 1970s and 1980s. On the term Case, Case reverted to using a long-tailed C, similar to the earlier tang stamps. Since 1993, one dot has been omitted for each year until 2000. The S in U.S.A. is lightening formed on some knives from this period, similar to those from the 1980s.
In the year 2000, Case created a dating scheme that included an old-style Case XX stamp as well as a combination of dots and xs above and below the Case XX symbol. In the year 2000, Case began with 5 x’s and 5 dots. Per year after that, they took away one dot. Since 2005, as all of the dots had vanished, the xs were withdrawn one by one until 2010.
In 2010, Case returned to the tang stamp date scheme used in the previous decade (2000–2009). The 2010 stamp began with three xs, two dots on top, and two xs, three dots on the bottom. For each year up to and including 2015, one dot was deleted. Each year after that, one x will be deleted. A single x will appear on knives in 2019.