Dating a modern Buck knife may not be so challenging. Chances are you will get some paperwork with it, and the manufacturing year will be clearly mentioned on it. Real challenges occur when you deal with an old model.
Whether you have just received a vintage knife from a relative or you have found an ancient one in the attic, you obviously ask yourself – how old is my Buck knife? Is it worth anything? The good news is there are a few different ways to date an old Buck knife, yet very old models could make it a bit challenging. Here is everything you need to know.
Dating a Buck knife with stamp
All knives from reputable brands and manufacturers come with stamps. In the attempt to preserve these stamps for as long as possible, most brands choose the least exposed areas of their knives. The handle is always in use, while the blade faces wear and tear regularly. The base of the blade – close to the handle – is where the stamp goes.
Buck has changed the stamp pretty much every year throughout the past decades. Therefore, dating a Buck knife is not that difficult. Hold the knife with the tip facing the sky and locate the stamp.
If you have a classic old-school model that only says BUCK, it was made between 1961 and 1967. If it says BUCK USA, it was made between 1967 and 1972. Models saying BUCK 110, USA # (where the # is given as an actual model number), the knife was made between 1972 and 1986.
While you can get a few hints about the age of the knife, you cannot tell whether a particular model was made in 1968 or 1970, as stamps are identical.
110 and 112 models from Buck came with different stamping standards. Knives made between 1974 and 1980 came with the model number and a dot on each side. Those made in 1980 and 1981 had a single dot on the left side of the model number and two dots on the right side. From that year until 1986, the stamp included two dots on each side. Knives with the simple anvil stamp were made in 2002 only.
In 2014, a special edition came with the number 50 inside an anvil and USA written under it or on its left side.
Knives made after 1986 came with different stamping signs, and each of them tells a story. Here is a list with the stamp description and the year associated with it:
- 1986, symbol <
- 1987, symbol >
- 1988, symbol upside-down V
- 1989, symbol V
- 1990, symbol X
- 1991, symbol +
- 1992, symbol –
- 1993, symbol /
- 1994, symbol \
- 1995, symbol C
- 1996, symbol backwards C
- 1997, symbol upside-down U
- 1998, symbol U
- 1999, symbol squared C
- 2000, symbol backwards squared C
- 2001, symbol upside down squared U
- 2002, symbol anvil
- 2003, symbol T
- 2004, symbol upside-down T
- 2005, symbol Idaho
- 2006, symbol -|
- 2007, symbol V
- 2008, symbol upside-down V
- 2009, symbol >
- 2010, symbol <
- 2011, symbol C with a dot in the middle
- 2012, symbol backwards C with a dot in the middle
- 2013, symbol upside U with a dot in the middle
- 2014, symbol U with a dot in the middle
- 2015, symbol squared C with a dot in the middle
- 2016, symbol backward squared C with a dot in the middle
- 2017, symbol upside down squared U with a dot in the middle
- 2018, symbol squared U with a dot in the middle
- 2019, symbol -|·
- 2020, symbol ·|-
- 2021, a symbol like in 2004 with a dot underneath
As you can tell, some symbols repeat. Knives from 1986 have the same symbol as knives from 2010. Deciding on the year is not that difficult, though, as you can tell from the style. A knife that is 24 years newer will look better and have a more modern appearance. If you still find it confusing, you can always check some old magazines from those times or simply look up online for Buck knives from both years to get an idea.
Here is a visual guide for your reference.
Dating Buck knives without stamps
What if the stamp is gone? Buck knives are designed like powerhouses. They will work wonders if well looked after, so they can take a good beating. Things may fade away, and the stamp may also go after a while. At this point, unless you are an experienced Buck user or a specialist in knives, telling the age of a knife can be tricky. What options do you have then?
Get your hands on some magazines, newspapers, knife or hunting magazines from those times. You have no idea when the knife was made – it could be 2005 or 1995. If you have no experience with these knives, you will need to take your time and go through lots of old printed materials. Brochures will also help, but most importantly, you should hunt catalogs from Buck and knife magazines.
Someone who has dealt with knives for their whole life will most likely be able to give you some hints. You can always find some local experts who know what they are looking at. Even if they cannot tell the precise year, they will show you some details that will narrow the selection to just a few years, making your search much easier and accessible. You can also find faraway experts – simply contact them online.
There are many online communities out there that can provide some info about the knife you have. Find knife discussion boards and forums like bladeforums.com where experts and newbies gather together and discuss knives. Get some clear pictures of your knife and whatever you can see from the stamp – ask for advice, and you might get your answers.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.