Pattern Stamp Numbers on Your Case XX Knife and Knives

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What do all those numbers mean?

We are often asked, "What do all those numbers mean"? We are also asked, "Is this knife a full size trapper or a mini trapper"? Or, "Is this a small stockman or a medium stockman"? We don't mind answering those questions, but we thought you might be interested in knowing just how to figure it all out yourself. It is interesting and satisfying to be able to read the just the pattern number of a knife and be able to know exactly what you have or are about to buy. We sell different patterns of knives on our Ebay auctions. If you click on tammylee57 you can see examples of pattern numbers and the knives that go with them.

Case has developed a unique number system that allows its collectors and knife owners to distinguish between the HUNDREDS of knife patterns Case has produced over the years. The Case knife pattern number is stamped on the tang of the blade. The "tang" is on the base of the blade, at the thick part of the blade. Sometimes you will also see some X's and Dots there, too. For now, forget those! (That is another Guide) Pick up one of your knives if you already own one, and let's identify a knife together!

Identifying your Knife Pattern

So, you have a knife and you've looked at the pattern number stamped on the tang. Here is what those numbers mean:

  • The first number tells you the type of material the handle is made from
  • The second number tells you the number of blades
  • The last two number (or more) tell you the factory pattern number
  • There are a few "tricky" numbers to pay special attention to. 6.5 is considered one number when found at the beginning a a pattern stamp. 7/P is considered one number when found at the beginning of a pattern stamp. 10 is also considered one number, and is not to be confused with the number 1 in a pattern stamp. (I's gets a LITTLE confusing here...but with practice you will soon learn how to distinguish the difference between a 10 and a 1 in pattern stamp. If a 1 is followed by a 0 at the beginning of the pattern stamp, it is ALWAYS a 10. If the number 1 is not followed by the number 0, then it is a 1...right?)

Let's say you've looked at the tang, and the number is 6254. The 6 tells you what the handle is made from. The number 6 indicates, in the world of Case XX, that either jigged bone, jigged synthetic, or jigged laminate was used to make the handle. When the first number is 6, it ALWAYS indicated that the handle is jigged. So we know this handle is jigged. Let's move on. The 2 tells us the number of blades on the knife. This is more or less self-explanatory. This 6254 pattern knife has two blades. We know that because of the second digit, the 2 in this case. The second number ALWAYS tells us the number of blades, so that's easy! The last two numbers let us know what the factory pattern number is. In this knife, the last two numbers are 54, which means this is a trapper. The pattern number 54 is ALWAYS a trapper.

Let's identify another knife based on its pattern stamp. Let's use a 10318 pattern stamp for this exercise. First, let's identify the handle. The number 1 is followed by a 0, so the first number is this pattern is 10. The number 10 ALWAYS stands for either micarta or G-10, depending on the age. G-10 has been produced in more recent times, so if your knife is fairly modern the 10 will tell you that the handle is made of the synthetic material G-10. The second number, after the 10, is 3. How many blades does this knife have? YES! Three! You're getting the idea! The last two numbers in the pattern are 18, which tells us the factory pattern number of this knife. The number 18 tells us the knife is a medium stockman. When 18 is the last two numbers of the pattern stamp, you ALWAYS know that your knife is a medium stockman.

OK, clear your head. Shake it off. It gets easier, and it ALWAYS works. How rare is that to find something in today's complex world that always works? The numbering system implemented by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company years ago worked then and it works now!

Handle Materials per Pattern Stamp

  • 1 stands for Solid Hardwoods
  • 2 stands for Smooth Black Synthetics
  • 3 stands for Smooth Yellow Synthetics
  • 4 stands for Smooth Synthetics
  • 5 stands for Genuine Stag
  • 6 stands for Jigged Bone, Jigged Synthetics, and Jigged Laminates
  • 6.5 stands for Bone Stag
  • 7/P stands for Curly Maple, Rosewood, or Smooth Laminates
  • 8 stands for Genuine Mother of Pearl
  • 9 stands for Imitation Mother of Pearl
  • 10 stands for Micarta, G-10


Please check our auction listings to see a variety of knife pattern numbers and the matching knife photographs. That should help you to visualize what you have just learned.  If you have any further questions, go to our About Me page and contact us. We'll do anything we can to help. You can also check our other other Guides for more information about Case XX knives.

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