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View Full Version : Is my olde knife really worth that much?


Hartley
12-29-2010, 16:59
Hi gents - thought maybe some of the denizens here might know - back in '71 while in Phase 2, I bought a Gerber Mk 2 in the PX. I carried it pretty much all the time (in the field) until my ETS in '78 and occasionally thereafter, so it has more than a few miles - but you can still shave your arm with it.
I was looking at it the other day, and decided that if I wanted to carry it any more, it really needed a new sheath - while the original is intact, the retaining strap has stretched enough that the knife can slip out.

So... I did a quick search on eBay, and found a couple folks making new sheaths - so far so good - THEN I noticed a "1971 Gerber MK II" with a starting price of $700! The sheath was in better shape than mine, tho the knife showed definite wear.

Is an olde Mark 2 really worth that kind of money? Should I sell my "genuine Special-Forces owned" MK 2 and buy something newer/better/sexier? I bet I could get a waaay better blade for actual use..:D

Hartley

Snaquebite
12-29-2010, 17:21
There are a lot of variations. Which particular model do you have?

Edit to add: Lots of MKII info here.... http://www.militarycarryknives.com/Knives.htm#SerialNumbers

wet dog
12-29-2010, 17:38
Hi gents - thought maybe some of the denizens here might know - back in '71 while in Phase 2, I bought a Gerber Mk 2 in the PX. I carried it pretty much all the time (in the field) until my ETS in '78 and occasionally thereafter, so it has more than a few miles - but you can still shave your arm with it.
I was looking at it the other day, and decided that if I wanted to carry it any more, it really needed a new sheath - while the original is intact, the retaining strap has stretched enough that the knife can slip out.

So... I did a quick search on eBay, and found a couple folks making new sheaths - so far so good - THEN I noticed a "1971 Gerber MK II" with a starting price of $700! The sheath was in better shape than mine, tho the knife showed definite wear.

Is an olde Mark 2 really worth that kind of money? Should I sell my "genuine Special-Forces owned" MK 2 and buy something newer/better/sexier? I bet I could get a waaay better blade for actual use..:D

Hartley

Never sell, always work in obtaining more steel.

To save money on a new sheath, go striaght to a boot or saddle maker, show them what you want. All things are possible.

Hartley
12-29-2010, 17:39
Hello Sir,

AFAIK, it's nothing special - from that site, a "Grey Armorhide, type 2", made in early 1971 (a month or so before I bought it in Ft. Bragg).

A number of my compatriots had bought them and succeeded in snapping the tip of the blade off by throwing them - mine was the only one of that bunch I know of that survived..:)

Hartley

Snaquebite
12-29-2010, 17:42
Never sell, always work in obtaining more steel.

To save money on a new sheath, go striaght to a boot or saddle maker, show them what you want. All things are possible.

I agree....easy enough to have a new sheath made.

Dusty
12-29-2010, 18:19
I used to carry mine in an M16 bayonet holster.

Team Sergeant
12-30-2010, 00:58
I found one once somewhere on Sicily DZ..... happy as a pig in shit until I too, lost it jumping....... :D Damn thing didn't like to stay in it's sheath.

greenberetTFS
12-30-2010, 02:26
'"No,No,No," don't do it.............:eek: That's a treasure!.............. :D Only wish I had the $700,but is's out of my league......... ;)

Big Teddy :munchin

Hartley
12-30-2010, 09:10
OK, so I took it out of the drawer and brought it out to my office to verify the details, 'cuz I've been learning my memory isn't to be trusted anymore..

First of all, I should have said, "early '72", because that's when I went thru TG (first memory error) and upon further observation, my sheath is in waaay worse shape than the one on ePay.

And having it my hand convinced me - I couldn't sell this old friend, even if it is some sort of antique museum piece now. So I will put it away in a safe place with a 3X5 card telling my history with it, so when I get run over by a bus my kids will know what it really is and not throw it out..

Then I'll go find something newer (and less valuable/meaningful ;) ) I can carry with me.

Thank You all for your wisdom!

Hartley


p.s. I did the calculation - if I had put the money I spent on it ($40, I think) in the bank at 5% it would have grown to $266 - to reach $700 would take an interest rate of 7.6% - not a bad ROI, really. Now see if my wife agrees when I go and buy a really nice replacement..:rolleyes:

Pete
12-30-2010, 10:06
I found one once somewhere on Sicily DZ..... happy as a pig in shit until I too, lost it jumping....... :D Damn thing didn't like to stay in it's sheath.

Along with a watch of mine. Rather nasty opening one dark night and - poof - it was gone.

wet dog
12-30-2010, 12:24
... So I will put it away in a safe place with a 3X5 card telling my history with it, so when I get run over by a bus my kids will know what it really is and not throw it out..

Hartley

I finally had to come clean with my family. I once called home informing my wife that I needed $2000 to fix the transmission. This was 1996, before internet banking become what it is today. She goes to the bank and makes the deposit.

Years later, after the divorce, I told by oldest son, "Before you were born, I called home having your mom send me some money. In my closet is a 1911 Cogswell & Harrison Sandhurst, 12 bore, 2 3/4" chamber in excellent condition. There was nothing wrong with the cars transmission".

I always feared my family would sell the items for the same price I told them they cost. But I never complained when she wanted new shoes or a hand bag she wore or used once.

She kept the shoes, I got more closet space and all the stuff in the attic.

mojaveman
12-31-2010, 18:36
"There was nothing wrong with the cars transmission".

LOL! That is a classic. I did something like that onetime but with a company credit card. :D

Green Light
12-31-2010, 22:22
I bought one in the 1970s and ended up with another later on (can't remember why). They're in one of the boxes in the garage. Gotta find 'em!

Buffalobob
01-01-2011, 15:50
During production, the serial stamping dies would occasionally suffer partial or total breakage. A common effect of a partial breakdown results in missing leading zeros. For example S/Ns 05266, 05352, 05396 and 05542 are missing a single leading zero. Serial Numbers 9613, 9681, 9705, 9777, 9917, 9934 and 9989 are missing two leading zeros. A single leading zero is again missing on many knives between S/N 10034 and 12107. I don't know if the leading zero problem is sporadic or continuous in the range of the above mentioned serial numbers.

I have one of those with the deficient serial number. SN # 10779. Bought around late 1969 or early 1970. I can tell you L6 tool steel did not like humidity and rice paddies, nor did the leather scabbard. No matter how often I oiled the blade it still pitted badly. The scabbard has a hole where the point worked through and one of the upper metal dowhackeys pulled out. I always kept a lanyard on it and threaded the snap strap through the lanyard so the knife did not climb out and walk off.

DJ Urbanovsky
01-01-2011, 16:43
Hartley: Depending on the condition of that knife, it's absolutely worth that much money. It's a treasure. How about some pics? :D

MK-IIs of that vintage were going for half that about five years ago.

Is yours serrated? It's right on the edge of when they started offering that as an option in 1971. Prior to that, they were all plain edged, narrow wasp blades.

If you sight down the edge, you may notice that the blade is canted five degrees, towards the serial number side. If you got it in 1971, it's possible that it's one of those earlier pieces.

These knives were introduced in 1967.

Gary Armorhide was made until 1977.

They were all made of L6 until 1979.

Forged until 1972, hand ground after that until 1979.

There was also a variant called the Command that had a sharpened swedge with serrations instead of being fully double edged. Those aren't nearly as common as the MK-II.

Hartley
01-01-2011, 18:56
Hello DJ et al,

Mine is not a canted model, has the normal double-edge and it has the "fine" serrations (14/inch, I think). The only thing I can't jibe with the records I've seen is the color of the sheath - all the sources say it should be "brown", and I've seen a number of pictures with fairly light brown sheaths - but mine is quite dark - not quite black, but almost. The only thing I can think of is that I may have rubbed a load of Sno-seal into it, which would certainly darken it - at least it sure darkened my hiking & ski boots.:)
Mine never went to SE Asia (I didn't either) but the L6 steel definitely does stain - I cleaned it with a "green pad" a few times and that helped, tho there are still some light stains on it. That steel definitely takes and holds an edge, though - if I remember right, it took many, many hours to get it up to "shaving sharp" - but it kept that edge for a looong time between sharpenings.

I really should build up a "light box" for taking pictures of things - one of those projects that needs to get started.. I've always admired folks who can take pictures of things like guns and knives and had them look really good. My pictures always have that "deer in the headlights" look to 'em. Sunsets, sunrises and sailboats I can do, but stuff, not so much..:(

Hartley

Buffalobob
01-01-2011, 20:28
My sheath started out light tannish brown and is now really very dark brown. It had oil and sno seal and who knows what I might have rubbed on it on the outside, and LSA on the inside from the blade plus a lot water. You can see the tip of the blade poking out and the black tap around the top holding the sheath together.

The pictures were taken several years ago before I understood the effects of background color on objects.

The lanyard is a real genuine jungle boot lace marinated in rice paddy mud. :D

Hartley
01-01-2011, 21:05
Buffalo Bob,

I merely THOUGHT my knife & sheath were high-mileage -- I can see mine is practically new compared to yours..;)

I bet they're still sharp, tho.

Hartley

fatleg
01-25-2011, 22:50
I bought a MK II mail order from Gerber in 1968 while in VN. This model had the 5 degree canted blade. It's serial number was 1330.

Last year I sold it to a collector for $2,000. The proceeds were promptly spend on a new Les Baer Super Tac 1911.

It was in average condition considering it's age.

The Randall #14 that I carried while out in the bush is still in the safe and will be buried with me.

Back211
02-05-2011, 13:10
After Fiskar took over Gerber, the execution and materials for the knives went down the drain. They still have many classic designs and ideas, just poorly implemented. I can see how "pre-fiskar" Gerber knives become more valuable due to their better construction and slowly-its rareness.

Hartley
02-21-2011, 11:48
I'll agree with that 1000% - after having that MK II and seeing how well it stayed sharp, I bought a nice little folding knife by Gerber.. nicely sized, rubber-covered which felt nice - and a blade that was softer than the peanut butter they use for "Swiss Army knives" I gave it the heave-ho and I've never considered buying Gerber again.

Hartley