This particular knife has an interesting story to go along with it’s rarity.
First, a bit of background on the Sportsman’s “Ideal” Hunting Knife as Webster Marble referred to the knife first released in 1900.
In the1903 Catalog he listed three “Styles”; Style No. 1 featured a laminated leather handle with polished staghorn pommel.
Style No. 2 was a Pinned Stag Horn Handle and Staghorm Pommel and Style No. 3 a hard rubber handle with six inch blade.
Styles 1 and 2 were available with 5, 6, 7 and 8 inch blades.
In 1906 the knives were “renamed” Model 41, 42 and 43 respectively.
In 1907, Marble was having difficulty obtaining sufficient staghorn to supply the entire line of this popular knife. The Model 41 received a pommel made of Lignum Vitae, a super dense exotic hardwood in place of the staghorn. The difficulty was resolved and the pommel was returned to staghorn after the 1911 production run until; 1920 when it was replaced with aluminum.
This knife features a lignum vitae pommel with the correct profile and 1/2” nut narrowing the production date to the period between 1907 and 1911.
Now for the story behind it the knife. Remember, a smart collector may well pay attention to “the story” but he pays money for THE KNIFE. Stories can be fabricated as easily as they can be true and without provenance add only interest to the knife.
The knife came from the second owner who purchased it from the family of Bill Finney a “Timber Cruiser” who worked the eastern U.P. around the turn of the last century. Bill carried the knife for a few years before putting it away. The knife he carried for the remainder of his career was a Marble’s Woodcraft, I wish I knew where it ended up.
In the time he used the knife, he modified it by grinding off the guard and lengthening the choil to allow choking up on the knife to end up with about five inches of useful blade.
The eight inch knife is certainly the more expensive of the line, costing a third again the price of the five inch version so I don’t think a thrifty “Timber Cruiser” would have spent the extra money. He also didn’t trade it off when he obtained the Woodcraft.
Since Webster Marble was a “Timber Crusier” in the same area and general time period, and those guys generally worked together or at least knew one another, could this have been a gift from Webster?
We’ll likely never know but the story has some merit and certainly adds interest to a knife that needs little help.
It’s in the used knife case for $650 and on the website for $595… It’s going to be an awesome addition to someone’s collection.