How Many Years Does My Swiss Army Knife Have on It? How Should One Court a SAK?
1891 was the year that saw the first release of the Swiss Army Knife. Since then, throughout the course of its 125 years of existence, they have elevated the quality standards for knives and have become an example of durability and reliability.
Because of its robust construction and extensive history, the Swiss Army Knife made by Victorinox has earned a formidable reputation all over the globe. As time has passed, the knives have gained the same level of desirability among collectors as they have among those who make practical use of the instrument.
However, given the antiquity of these blades, the possibility of acquiring a historical model is fraught with a great deal of uncertainty. It’s possible that you’ve wondered about the age of your Swiss Army Knife ever since you acquired it, whether it was handed down to you by your grandpa or purchased at a yard sale.
You may determine the age of your Swiss knife by following some broad guidelines, which can be helpful whether you want to sell it or research its history. Some contemporary knives are very easy to recognise, while others have the potential to lead to a great deal of trouble. Everything you need to know about dating a Swiss Army Knife is included in this article below.
Read Also: Swiss Army Knife Identification Chart
Authenticity should be checked.
First things first, you’ll need to determine whether or not the Swiss Army Knife in your possession is genuine. Typically, Swiss Army knives are quite straightforward to recognise.
Examine the colour, form, and number of blades, as well as the blade type, of the soldier knife model you have purchased.
Surprisingly, the knives have undergone just a few iterations of design change during the course of the company’s existence.
When it comes to Swiss army knives, I suppose that looks aren’t the most important consideration. Despite this, there have been some subtle but discernible alterations in the knives’ design throughout the course of their more than 100-year production cycle.
Keep an eye out for the “cross” mark of Victorinox or, on knives issued to military personnel, the coat of arms of Victoria, Switzerland. On the other hand, it is possible that these distinguishing features have worn away or been removed from a genuine knife over the course of its lifetime.
Furthermore, a fake knife might contain any one of these markings and still be considered a fake. Therefore, it is in your best interest to have your knife evaluated by a reliable and experienced antique appraiser or a knife collector who specialises in the field.
Using Stamps to Determine the Age of a Swiss Army Knife
The process of determining the age of a Swiss Army knife is made more difficult by the fact that a weapon created in 1990 may have a similar look to a knife made in the 1920s in certain cases.
If it has been well preserved and hasn’t seen much usage, a really ancient knife may have a more appealing appearance than a more recent option. Again, there are situations when you can simply tell that a knife is rather old by looking at its evident wear and tear. In general, older knives have greater wear and tear than newer ones.
The stamp is what makes the true distinction. The vast majority of knife manufacturers stamp their blades with a variety of codes that consumers may use to identify the knives and determine when they were manufactured.
The firms that do not imprint the knives themselves are the ones that provide the logos. As businesses have a tendency to modify their logos over the course of time, the logo of a knife may sometimes reveal a lot about its history.
Therefore, just as with the other types of Swiss army pocket knives, you need to pay attention to the stamp on a Victorinox knife. This is one way that you may obtain a rough estimate of how old your knife is.
When it comes to stamping, the majority of companies choose for the portion of the blade that is closest to the handle of the knife. On the handle, in the case of certain brands. In such a scenario, it is possible for it to fall off as a result of the rigorous use and prolonged exposure to wear and tear.
There is a stamp located rather near to the handle on all Victorinox Swiss army pocket knives. In most cases, that section of the blade is not subjected to wear and strain, thus it is well-equipped to withstand the passage of time.
An Explanation of the Swiss Army Tang Stamps
Since the Swiss Army Knives do not always follow the usual development of the tools, you will need to make use of the evolution in this case as best you can, in addition to the tang stamps and emblems. You need to pay close attention to determine if the knife is of the standard economy kind or whether it was intended for advertising or marketing purposes.
Stamps are included on a variety of Swiss Army knives’ accessories. There are over 130 unique stamps now available, and every one of them has its own narrative to tell.
Consider the following when making an educated guess as to the age of your knife:
The Swiss Master Cutlers Association, in particular, the Eco line knives class stainless steel pocket knives were made between the years 1979 and 1994. This was done out of respect for the highly specialised craft. Handles with a light red colour were used for a Swiss wholesaler of significant size. And a unique rendition of the company logo.
The knife marked “Elsener Schwyz” was produced somewhere between the years 1884 and 1931. It was given the tang stamp for 1976–1980. The development of the tool does not indicate a function for 90-degree multi-tools or a sewing eye.
It had a substantial front that was extremely straightforward to read. The stamps on the knives that were produced between the years 1884 and 1908 were also the same, although the typeface used on them was narrower. The italic type on the same stamp indicates that the date might be anywhere from 1884 and 1942.
The stamps on the knives that have Gesetzlich Geschützt written across two lines indicate that they were produced between the years 1891 and 1901. The logos were utilised in a variety of ways.
The same reading might be shown on a single line or even spread out over two lines using an italic font. If the word “Depose” is inscribed on the blade of the knife in a handwritten typeface, then the blade itself dates to the period between 1891 and 1901.
Between the years 1891 and 1945, the firm went through many rebranding efforts, during which time they produced knives with the Armee Suisse insignia in an italic typeface. If you see this writing on a knife, there should be a line across the left side of the text.
The identical emblem in a straight typeface indicates that the knife was manufactured in either 1897 or 1945.
When you see the SMV emblem and it has a cross below the wording, this indicates that the product was made between the years 1908 and 1930. During this same time period, the emblem of Victorinox Swiss army pocket knives was a single letter “E.” Each collection should have its own distinct typeface.
The emblem that is now known as the Victoria Switzerland brand went through many iterations between 1909 and 1930. During that period of time, the Elsener Schwyz emblem was reintroduced.
The lettering was straightforward, however the several collections each had a unique typeface. During the same era, there were also a few more variants of the name Victoria in use.
The one with the simplest text and the most traditional typeface was the one that stood out the most. It was made somewhere between the years 1909 and 1923. In addition, between the years 1909 and 1930, the blades were stamped with the word “Inoxyd” followed by the letter “E.”
Beginning in the year 1920, the two lines in front of a straight front were used as the emblem for Victoria Switzerland. Up until 1950, the emblem was in use. Elsener Switzerland was printed on two lines on a postage stamp that was in issue between the years 1920 and 1940.
It could be difficult to understand what is going on if the only stamp you have is one that reads 50. Given that the stamp was first released in 1921 and that it is still in use today, finding the answer may prove to be challenging.
The Victoria brand mark, which consists of a crossbow aimed upwards in the centre of the word “Victoria,” indicates that the knife was manufactured between the years 1923 and 1930.
During this period of time, a straightforward horizontal crossbow was also in use, in addition to Inoxid, Victoria Inoxyd, and Victorinox, all of which were housed inside frames. Between the years 1923 and 1933, some knives only had the word “Inoxid” written in an italic typeface. Despite this, it seems to be the letter J.
Made in Switzerland was the most prevalent stamp used during this time period (1923–1930). Between the years 1930 and 1940, And Elsener Switzerland Stainless was manufactured. Once again around the same time period, Swiss Army knives had a logo for Elsener Swiss that was divided over two lines. Elsener Schwyz became the name of the company’s logo between the years 1930 and 1950.
In addition, between the years 1930 and 1955, an unusual stamp was used. Huguenin Switzerland Stainless is an uncommon stamp, yet it was used on the knives during that time period. Knives produced between the years 1931 and 1960 had one of two logos: either a straightforward R or the number 48 P printed across two lines.
Beginning in 1931, Swiss Army Knives had logos that read “Inoxyd” and “Victorinox” in a format that was identical to one another, and these logos were followed by a flag and a crossbow that was aimed upward. They persisted until the year 1942. In 1931, several postage stamps were issued, including the P, the 36P, and the P36.
From 1940 forward, the knives were packaged with the Anticorro, Poldi, Victoria Switzerland 471, and Victoria Switzerland 476 stamps, each of which was written over three lines.
Between the years 1943 and 1951, the knives were manufactured using a variety of stamps that said Victorinox and Inoxid on top of a crossbow. These stamps were used throughout the production process.
On the knives produced by Elsener Schwyz between the years 1932 and 1956, the company’s emblem consisted of huge regular letters placed across two lines. In addition, beginning in 1943 and continuing until 1973, the knives were stamped with a depiction of Victoria holding a crossbow behind her as she is looking aloft.
Despite the fact that many iterations of Swiss Made were in use between the years 1943 and 1951. After some time had passed, simpler tang stamps began appearing on Swiss Army knives. Between the years 1957 and 1986, the knives had the logos Hoffritz Switzerland Stainless and Switzerland Stainless Rostfrei (and a few other varieties).
Between the years 1976 and the 1980s, the brands Economy and Victorinox Rostfrei were used. The knives that were produced in 1984 and 1986 have the markings Victorinox Switzerland across two lines, as well as Stainless Rostfrei, Patented, Pat. Pend. and Mod. The majority of these stamps are rather common, and several of them are still still in use today.
Therefore, locating this mark will provide you with a general concept about the knives. Therefore, you need to investigate the matter further in order to discover the precise year. Up to the year 2008, Victorinox Switzerland Stainless Rosfrei was also utilised throughout all four lines.
Stamps reading “Victorinox Switzerland Stainless” appeared on contemporary knives somewhere between 1993 and 2009, and these knives were produced between 1993 and 2009. Another often seen stamp, the Officer Suisse variety was produced for general circulation in the year 2005.
Another example of a contemporary tang that saw widespread usage during the years 2005–2009 is Victorinox Swiss Made Stainless spread over three lines. These days, the use of “Pat. Pend.” is commonplace as well. Since 2007, it has been used, and many newly manufactured knives still come with this mark.
During the years 2009–2011, when the trend for simplicity was sweeping the globe, the corporation relied on a straightforward stamp that read Victorinox Swiss Made Stainless over the course of three lines. Beginning in 2013, knives were adorned with a cross and the company name Victorinox directly below the cross.
This design was introduced by Victorinox. You will still find the stamp on knives manufactured today. 2014 saw the adoption of a logo that looked somewhat similar but without the armour.
The typeface was extremely simple, consistent, and unmistakable in appearance. No extravagance anymore. Lastly, the year 2014 was the year of production if you are able to read “Victorinox Swiss Made Delemont” on the knife.
Beginning in 2013, a variety of knives have been adorned with a shield with a cross and the brand name Victorinox underneath it. The stamp is still used these days in several places. Following the year 2014, knives with a similar branding but without the armour began being produced.
The typeface is legible and of a standard style; there are no embellishments. Lastly, the year 2014 was the year of production if you are able to read “Victorinox Swiss Made Delemont” on the knife.
Chart for the Identification of Swiss Army Knives
The Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox :
- The trademark emblem should be the first item to be brought to our attention since it guarantees the genuineness of a product. The cross and shield that make up the Victorinox Swiss Army Brand are seen here.
- The exterior casing of a Victorinox product is often coloured red, and the company’s enclosing shield emblem has five corners and is placed slightly off-center on the surface of the casing.
- There is a very little indentation in the centre of the shield emblem that is used by Victorinox. The indentation seems to be nearly identical to the one that is often seen on police badges.
- The Victorinox shield has a white background with a red centre and a white outline around the red centre.
- You will see that the real logo consists of a prominent cross that is coloured white and positioned in the centre of the design. By extending just a little bit farther, the border of the cross was able to make contact with the white outline of the logo.
- The blade of the knife has a stamped trademark that reads “Victorinox” and “Swiss manufactured” in all capital letters. This trademark is located in the centre of the blade. Additionally, the same trademark may be seen carved on the base of the blade of certain knives bearing the same brand.
- The name Victorinox is synonymous with genuine Swiss army knives. The pricing range for it is around $17 to $120. (according to the manufacturer in 2010 depending on various qualities). If the price drops significantly, there is a possibility that the product is not the original.
First things first, make sure you verify the Wenger Swiss Army Knife logo.
- The Wenger brand identifier is shown in a square format.
- You will see that the square logo is positioned in the centre of the outside section of the casing between the top edge and the middle edge.
- The squared logo has rounded edges, and there is a white outline that can be seen around it.
- The inside is coloured red, and there is a pronounced cross in the centre; nevertheless, there is no expansion of the white border with an outline as in the Victorinox emblem.
- This trademark stamp, which reads “Wenger Delemont Switzerland Stainless,” is something that may be seen on genuine Wenger knives.
- The stamp may be found in the portion of the blade that extends into the pivot mechanism and is located at the bottom.
- The price of a Wenger Swiss army knife may vary anywhere from $13 to $100 or even more than that, depending on the level of intricacy of the knife. The product’s credibility is called into doubt by its ridiculous price tag.
If you follow the identification chart that is located above, I hope that no one will be able to trick you into purchasing a fake Swiss Army Knife.
An Explanation of the Tang Stamp Code
A unique tang stamp code is used to identify each individual tang stamp. This code is typically in the format XXXX/YYYY, where XXXX represents the stamp on the tang’s facing (obverse) side and YYYY represents the stamp on the tang’s reverse side.
The number of capital letters in each group indicates the number of lines of text on that particular side of the tang. Each letter is linked to one or more words that appear on the stamp; for instance, the letter S may stand for Schwyz, Suisse, Stainless, Switzerland, or Swiss Made.
When included in a particular tang stamp code, each letter in the code automatically adapts the association that corresponds to it correctly. An underlined letter denotes that the initial letter of the linked word is bigger than the remainder of the word, or in the instance of E, it shows that the whole tang stamp is a larger variety.
A lower case w is used to signify a broad variety of the word connected with the previous letter. Other less popular forms of coding include the plus sign (+), which represents the Swiss cross when used in conjunction with Armée Suisse, and the letter Va, which represents Victoria when used independently of Victorinox.
The hyphen character (–) is used to denote a blank tang. Because the codes for tangs that include Crossbows are already distinct from one another, it is not essential to use additional letters for other markers such as the Crossbow.
With the help of this coding system, specific tang stamps can be easily described. For instance, the straightforward five-letter code VSS/OS describes the tang that has the following markings: Victorinox with a large V, Swiss Made and Stainless on the front of the tang, and Officier Suisse on the back of the tang.
Seek the Advice of a Qualified Professional.
Even if you are familiar with all there is to know about the logo and tang mark, it is possible that you may still have a tough time dating your Swiss Army Knife. There are instances in which the knives are so ancient that the tang stamp may no longer be present.
Again, on occasion, a stamp will be there, but because of normal wear and tear, there won’t be anything more to discover there.
In light of this particular circumstance, I would advise you to make contact with a member of The Swiss Army Knife Collectors Society or maybe a knowledgeable somebody in your immediate area.
If you let them examine your knife, it will be much easier for them to arrive at an accurate estimate of your knife’s age. You may even locate knife collectors who reside in other countries if you look hard enough (You can find them online). submit a comprehensive picture of your knife to them once you have contacted them and discussed it with them.
Although many experts will be able to estimate the knife’s age based on its design and general look, determining the exact age of knives with uncommon stamps or patterns may take a little bit more assistance. In such a scenario, the Swiss Army Knife Society may be able to provide a hand.
They have a robust community that is very engaged. You may also join public discussion boards and forums, which is not the least of your options. You are free to initiate a conversation in which you ask about the knife.
There is always the possibility that someone on the other side of the planet may know the solution to the problem you are having. You at least know in which direction you are heading, even if the response you get is not very detailed.
Check to see whether there are any printed documents.
If you have an estimate of how old your knife is, I recommend that you go through any printed publications that were popular during that era. It’s also possible that you’ll discover some of the information you need in periodicals, such as magazines or catalogs.
There are instances when a magazine showcases a knife and goes into depth about its characteristics. Additionally, brochures originating from the era in question are of great use. It’s possible that you won’t always be able to locate them in physical form; in that case, consider looking for antique publications online instead.
What exactly does it mean when someone says they have a Swiss army knife?
The Swiss Army knife has been available in a form that is easily recognizable ever since 1897 when a Swiss manufacturer named Karl Elsener obtained a patent for his officer’s and sports knife.
Karl Elsener was a maker of medical equipment. Because American troops returning from World War II were unable to correctly pronounce the German word “Offiziersmesser,” they came up with the name “Swiss Army knife” as a replacement.
When used as a figure of speech, the term “Swiss Army knife” refers to anything that is very useful and can be used to almost any situation that may arise.
Make contact with the company that made the product.
Today, the manufacturer of the iconic Swiss Army knife is recognized by its current name, Victorinox. Who else outside a Victorinox specialist is more qualified to determine the age of an ancient Swiss Army knife? Exactly.
Make contact with the firm and seek assistance from them. Even though the question has nothing to do with sales, the customer support professional will be pleased if you are able to provide dates for things that are so outdated.
The vast majority of people will be more than delighted to help you, and they will enjoy the opportunity to see a piece of the company’s history that they are now employed by.