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Buck Knives Inc. dates it history back over 100 years to the first knives made by Hoyt H. Buck. Hoyt H. Buck became a blacksmith apprentice in Kansas in 1899 at the age of 10. During his tenure Hoyt learned to make knives and in 1902 when he was 13, he developed a method of heat-treating the steel in hoes and other tools so they would hold an edge longer. Hoyt left Kansas in 1907 for the American northwest and eventually enlisted in the United States Navy. He is not known to have made knives until 1941 in Mountain Home, Idaho after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Hoyt made each knife by hand, using worn-out file blades as raw material.These early knives are called "four strikes" by collectors, because each of the letters in BUCK was struck with an individual letter stamp, which in 1961, was replaced by a one-piece stamp.

With the entry of the USA into WW2 the government asked the public for donations of fixed blade knives to arm the troops. Upon learning there were not enough knives for soldiers who needed them, Hoyt Buck bought an anvil, forge and grinder to set up a blacksmith shop in the basement of his church and started making knives for US troops. Hoyt later explained, “I didn’t have any knives, (to offer) but I sure knew how to make them”.

After World War II, Hoyt and his son Al moved to San Diego and set up shop as "H.H. Buck & Son" in 1947.These early knives were handmade and more expensive than a typical mass-produced knife, Hoyt Buck made 25 knives a week until his death in 1949.In the 1950s the company began making knives on a much larger scale marketing through dealers as opposed to direct mail.

        Note: The Tang Stamp of the 2002 Buck/Anvil/Custom/U.S.A. has been used since 2002 for various "Limited Edition" and/or "Special Project" knives Therefore the existence of the Anvil symbols not limited solely to 2002 models IF it is accompanied with a "Custom" marking.

Here is some additional date information about the 110 Folding Hunter and the 112 Ranger:


  • 1974 to 1980: one dot on either side of the model # (example: .110.)
  • 1980: two dots on the right side of the model # (example: .110..)
  • 1981 to 1986: two dots on either side of the model # (example: ..110..)
  • NOTE: Buck uses the Year Symbols on all knives, not just Folding Hunter & Ranger.

Today Buck is going the direction of Case & Sons by introducing the US Made 110 Folding Hunter with different scales and engraved bolsters not to mention work by Brian Yellowhorse. Buck is also gone offshore (China) producing a large number of knives (see list below).

Types of Vintage Buck Knives

The advent of the commemorative and collectible knives opened up a new field for people interested in collecting Buck Knives. Some of the art scenes were done in such limited numbers that only an avid collector would pursue finding them. This field of collecting was hampered because not one informative article had ever been published on the old knives or the limited editions.

Buck has long passed the ten million mark on one single model, the 110 Folding Hunter. No other knife ever made has reached anywhere near that number. Can you imagine how many of the more than twenty different variations of the 110 are out there?

A collector starting out today really has a choice. They can collect Buck knives in general or they can choose one of several distinct types of knives and concentrate on them. There are at least six different categories of Buck knives to collect.

Early hand-made knives

These are the hardest to find, and the most valuable. Many of them were sold by mail, so they can be found almost anywhere. These go back to the early 1900's when H.H. Buck started making knives back in Kansas. He did not start stamping them with his name until about 1940 or so. The knives made by H.H. (Hoyt) and his son, Al, in the fifties were all stamped or etched with the BUCK name.

Production knives

Actual production started in 1961 and continues today, so this is a very broad category. The early production knives are very different from those made today, so this area can really be divided into sub-categories. The 1973 to 1985 production knives bear a model number as well as the BUCK and the U.S.A. Starting in 1986, a year mark was added. To know the year of your Buck knife, compare the symbol on your blade to the following chart. Knives with no date symbol are pre-1986. Folding knives were made for Buck by the Camillus Company that closed it's doors in 2007 (See my guide). Below a Camillus "Yellow Jacket" Trapper and Buck Yellow Trapper. These were made in Black & Yellow.


Limited Edition knives

Most of the knives made by Buck that can be listed under this category have etched blades, but there are a few that have custom handles only. The majority of the pieces in this division are serialized. Some of them, particularly the earlier ones, have a tang stamp that says BUCK CUSTOM, but they definitely belong in the Limited Edition category. They are separate and distinct from the knives made in the custom shop.

Custom knives

Buck's Custom Knife Shoppe produced about five thousand knives between its inception in 1981 and December of 1994. Most of them have been documented in some way. Almost all of them are stamped BUCK CUSTOM. Today, the blades are designated on the back as "Designer's Choice." Not included in this category are the knives by Dave Yellowhorse and the Harley-Davidson knives because they stand in categories all by themselves.

Yellowhorse knives

A collection of just the knives customized by Navajo artisans Dave Yellowhorse and his son Brian is an impressive collection in and of itself. A full collection would now have over forty different knives. This is a dual approach collection because it appeals to those interested in Indian art as well as knives.

Harley-Davidson knives

In another dual approach to collecting, here you will be among die-hard Harley collectors who collect everything made that has Harley-Davidson written on it. A category unto itself, this is an impressive array of knives.

Hard to Find, but Worth Finding

As you can see by this simplified outline, there are a lot of knives to choose from when one decides to pursue collecting Buck knives. It seems that most collectors concentrate on the Limited Editions, probably because they are the most beautiful and the most readily available. Still, an impressive collection can be assembled without the "hard to find" ones. With a little effort you, too, can have a Buck knife collection.

 China Buck Knives

China Buck Knives first turned up at Wal-Mart. They were folding knives with dark walnut look wood (Unknown Wood). The specs say 420HC? They look good. They have the Buck Guarantee. There are now folders with red jigged bone (limited edition). They are here on ebay, Trappers, Stockmans etc. The word China is on the back of the second blade? Does Buck think these are Collectable? Can knife collectors collect China Knives?


283BK Nano Bantam™, 379BR Solo, 371BRW Stockman®, 372BRW Muskrat, 373BRW Trio, 375BRW  Deuce, 380BRW Mini Trapper, 382BRW Trapper, 384BRW Large Trapper, 421PL Newt, 421OR Newt, 421BK Newt, 421GR Newt, 754BK NRG™, 754PLT NRG™, 754RD NRG™, 754BL NRG™, 283BK Nano Bantam™, 284BK Bantam™ BBW, 285BK Bantam™ BLW, 286BK Bantam™ BHW, 316GY Parallex™, 316BL Parallex™, 318BTTX Parallex™, 318GYX Parallex™, 318BLX Parallex™, 325 Colleague™, 326 Scholar™, 327 Nobleman™, 327TT Nobleman™, 173 Buck/Mayo Northshore™, 174 Buck/Mayo Cutback™, 179 Buck/Mayo Hilo™, 177BK Adrenaline-BK™, 177SPX Adrenaline-SPX™, 178BK Adrenaline-Ti™, 198 Mantis™, 198X Mantis™, 199 Pilot™, 199X Pilot™, 318BTTX Parallex™, 472BK Diamondback Guide™, 478BK Diamondback Outfitter™, 473BK Diamondback Guide™, 479BK  Diamondback Outfitter™, 471BK Diamondback™ 4.25, 476BK Diamondback™ 3.25, 284CM Bantam®
BBW Camo, 285CM Bantam® BLW Camo, 286CM Bantam® BHW Camo, 730CMX X-Tract™ Camo, 472BK Diamondback Guide™, 478BK Diamondback Outfitter™, 224 Ulti-Mate™ Stream, 226 Ulti-Mate™ Lake, 229 Ulti-Mate™ Ocean, 815BK Utility Shears, 720BK Pruning Shears, 821BK Grip Saw, 730RDX X-Tract™, 730PLX X-Tract™, 730BLX X-Tract™, 730BKX X-Tract™, 760GRX  Summit, 760BLX Summit, 760RDX Summit, 760BKX Summit, 751BLX Approach™, 751BKX Approach™, 752GRX Short Approach™, 752BLX Short Approach™, 752FGX Short Approach™, 752ORX Short Approach™, 752BKX Short Approach™, 752PLX Short Approach™, 756RD Transport™, 756PE Transport™, 756SMK Transport™, 756BL Transport™, 758SMK Metro™ LED, 758RD Metro™ LED, 758BL Metro™ LED, 758FG
Metro™ LED, 759BLW  Metro™, 759FGW Metro™, 759GRW Metro™, 759BKW Metro™, 759ORW Metro™, 759PLW Metro™, 759RDW Metro™, 777SMK Lumina™LED, 777BL Lumina™LED, 777RD Lumina™LED, 755RD Folding Saw, 755YL Folding Saw, 755BK Folding Saw, 757RD Camp Axe, 757YL Camp Axe, 757BK Camp Axe, 198BKX Mantis™ - All Black, 199BKX Pilot™ - All Black, 870X Bones™, 872CMX Sandman™, 872BKX Sandman™, 873X Iceman™,     


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