Best Pocket Knife Collecting Guide!

Pocket Knife Collecting

Are you thinking about starting a knife collection? Knives are an exciting hobby with a lot of room for growth. It is also exciting and fun to learn which ones are best and sought after for their intended use. While they come in many shapes and sizes, they also fall into two distinct categories. There are those designed for general utility and those designed as display pieces. One segment of the hobby that draws a lot of interest is pocket knife collecting. Therefore, one of the most important things for enthusiasts is to find what suits their taste and budget.

Although there are many styles, options, and brands to collect, one knife that stands out is Case knives. Collectors favor the brand because not only are there so many types, but because collecting them is affordable, and they are known for their fine quality. 

In this article, we will take a look at the different kinds of Case knives as well as the company and why their knife is so popular. We will also talk about starting a collection and provide tips for those looking to buy or even sell these knives.

The Case Brothers

The story began back in 1889 when two brothers who had a passion for making knives sold began selling them from a wagon while they toured small Western New York towns. They went on to form Case Brothers Cutlery and today focus on supplying high-quality products for customers worldwide.

John Russell Case, who named the company after his father, William Russell (“WR”), formed WR Case & Sons Cutlery as it is known today. By the time the company moved to Pennsylvania in 1905, the brothers had well established their brand. The company’s original factory had been in Little Valley, New York. But today, Bradford, Pennsylvania, is home to their manufacturing. 

Why Should I Collect Case Knives?

knife collection

Collecting Case knives can be particularly appealing because many of their products, as previously mentioned, are very affordable. Most of the models hobbyists seek are under $200, a rarity in a hobby where items can sell for thousands of dollars.

They also have a wide appeal making them perfect for giving as gifts and great for beginning enthusiasts. Since they come in so many styles, they are ideal for a friend or relative who collects knives or related items. Their basic model retails for around $50, making it an excellent gift for enthusiasts on a budget.

Are They Worth Collecting?

While these knives have intrinsic value, most values are dictated by their condition and the model. When collecting, look for Case knives with no rust spots and minor or few nicks in their handles because models in better condition can go for a few hundred dollars, making them good starter pieces.

A knife with its original box can also hold appeal even if it is not in mint condition. While many without a box may be worth under $50, those with an original box and paperwork can sell for a lot more. The value is due to the Case’s long history and the quality involved in making them.

How to Begin Pocket Knife Collecting

Are you ready to get started pocket knife collecting? There are many places where one can find knives to begin a collection. Online sites such as eBay have them for sale. You will also find them at collector shows and knife dealers.

There are also clubs such as The Case Collectors Club, where members enjoy exchanging knives and information with each other. The club even has a magazine where you can learn about the products. Joining the club not only allows you to meet other knife collectors, but you can also learn more about your knives and what makes them unique.

However, the best place to start for the beginning enthusiast is by just going online and learning as much as possible.

Fixed vs. Folding Knives

Fixed blades are designed for hunting, fishing, or other outdoor uses. They are popular with enthusiasts because a fixed blade tends to be stronger than its folding counterpart. Fixed blades also tend to have larger handles that are easier to hold.

Folding knives are designed for every day. Yet they make excellent collectibles.

Folding knives include:

Penkinves – these are small knives that look like pens. Because of their design, they can be carried just about anywhere.

pocket knife

Pocket Knife – in recent years, this refers to any small multiblade knife designed to fit in a pocket and have blades that fold into its handle. While they can be used as tools, many people also have them as collectibles because of the knives’ many designs.

Jack knife – originally developed for hunters, this knife has a blade that folds away. They are also another excellent choice for folding knife owners because of their durability and reliability. The Jack Knife features a large clip blade and a small pen blade. And with proper care, it will last a long time.

The important thing is that the knife you collect should reflect your interests!

Case Pocket Knives

One of Case’s most popular products is their traditional Case pocket knife which comes in many different handle materials, colors, and blade options. In addition, they come with all types of handles, including bone, wood, acrylic, staghorn, scrimshawed ivory, or aluminum, and often look like something from the old west. This knife is perfect for enthusiasts or even novice hunters because of its affordability, durability, and broad scope of features.

Blade Options

Just as there are different handle materials, Case pocket knives also come with a variety of blade options. Some models use stainless steel, while others include Damascus or Carbon blade steel. 

Knife Whitling

Case Knife Styles

Case knives are known for their beauty and style. There are many different styles of Case knives, with the knives being categorized into patterns. Each knife has a pattern number on the blade and the box. Some of these patterns include:

Trapper Case knives – The Trapper model is Case’s most popular knife. Introduced in the 1920’s it combines two blades in one body and includes clip and Spey blades, making it perfect for skinning or whittling.

Stockman – The Stockman includes a clip, pen, and sheepfoot blades. This model is perfect for on-the-go needs.

Sowbelly – The Sowbelly has a curved handle, making it easy to hold with either hand, and includes up to three blades.

Case Barlow – Released in 2019, this historic style knife measures over five inches when closed and holds two blades.

What Does Case XX Mean?

When looking for these knives, you will undoubtedly see an “X” or “XX” on the blade.

A stamp on the blade can identify case knives, usually near the handle, that says “Case Knife Company” and then underneath has been tested to meet certain requirements. Case XX signifies that a person or company has used the knife to test the quality of a case knife before it is released for consumer use.

The amount of X’s refers to the tempering process used in making the knife. Two XX’s means the knife was tempered twice, one X stands for once.

Understanding Pattern Numbers


There are also pattern numbers that enthusiasts look for when collecting. The most popular patterns include 37, 38, and 54. When enthusiasts refer to a Case pattern, they’re referring to the shape and number of blades on the knife. This number ranges from two blades on some models to five blades on others. A Case knife will have its pattern number printed right on the blade.

Colors Mean Something

Additionally, colors affect a knife’s value as well. If you’re looking for vintage knives, look for handle colors that are hard to find. Depending on the time of manufacture, different models were available in different colors. 

The more you collect, the more patterns and numbers you will want to add to your collection. Therefore, it’s essential to know which knife belongs to what pattern.

Tony Bose Knives

One knife that stands out is Tony Bose knives because Tony Bose, a highly respected custom knifemaker, favored quality knives with a handcrafted look. Case makes Tony Bose knives with materials that match Tony Bose’s style and preferences, like Cocobolo, Desert Ironwood, and Mother of Pearl. Tony Bose knives were first produced in 1972 and continue to be one of the most collected brands today. As with any knife, the older models are valued more than newer ones.

Choosing the Perfect Knife

Before purchasing, consider what features you like best. For example, do you like vintage models or modern-day styles? Do you have a knife you want to match, or will your knife collection be mixed and matched another way? Just remember, the more features you like, the higher your knife’s price will be.

A Knifes Value


When collecting Case knives, values are essential to understand. Rarity and price go hand and hand. The more rare a knife is, the higher the price will be. For example, a knife worth $30-$50 in average condition can be $100 or $150 if unopened just for its rarity value. 

Condition is also very important because if your knife is damaged or refurbished, it will devalue the knife.

Patterns can range in price depending on their rarity, making each pattern number valued differently. It’s also important to understand the color and style because this will help determine how much your knife is worth.

And don’t forget that often a knife can be worth more with the original box and packaging.

But, as the buyer, it’s up to you to decide what knives are worth and how much they’re worth to you as an individual. So do your research and know what you’re looking for before buying.

The Best Places To Find A Price Guide

If you are collecting knives, you will need a price guide.

Online forums offer a lot of information and will help to determine prices. Often they also provide ratings, reviews, and comparisons, and you can see what other knife enthusiasts are saying as well as what they are buying and selling.

In addition, websites like and provide values. There, you can find out everything you need to know about pocket knives and how to determine the best knives for your collection. Additional places to determine prices and value include eBay and the Case Collectors Club. Determining value is essential as it will help you make an educated purchase.

Different Kinds of Collections

With so many Case knives available, enthusiasts tend to build two main collections. The first is a basic collection that includes knives with different patterns and handles. Building this kind of collection can be easy if you focus on finding basic models but more difficult if you want to add specialty pieces. But, remember it’s also best to buy what you like rather than going after a particular pattern or number. A collection like this will usually include different types of knives, from hard-to-find and discontinued sets.

However, enthusiasts also build knife sets where they collect all the same types of knives with the same numbers and features.


Folding Knife

Case & Sons Cutlery has been around for a long time. Their knives are perfect for enthusiasts because of their designs, quality, and craftsmanship. Enthusiasts also appreciate the many materials used to make the fine handle material used in Case knives.

Pocket knife collecting, especially Case Knives, is a highly personal factor, so don’t be afraid to choose models that appeal to you directly or choose sets of mixed knives with various patterns. Either way, understanding what makes a good knife and its value will help you understand more about collecting so you can do so with confidence.


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