How to Date a Kissing Crane Knife (Both Old and New)

The Kissing Crane Knives are among of the best-made, longest-lasting, and historically significant knives that may still be found in circulation today.

Even though some other firms have begun manufacturing updated versions of the product after taking over the design and manufacturing process from Klaas, there is simply nothing that can compare to the earlier models that were first released by Klaas.

If you happen to be in possession of one of these kissing crane knives. It is only natural for you to be curious about the year it was manufactured and the degree to which it is an original.

As a result, here is today’s instruction on the most effective way to date a kissing crane knife.

However, before…

What exactly is a Knife of the Kissing Crane?

There seems to be a large amount of confusion over the nature of the kissing crane knife and the things that it is not.

The Robert Klaas Company (located in Germany) introduced their brand of knives known as the “kissing crane knife” in the year 1895. These knives range from everyday knives to pocket knives. 

Due to the fact that the knives are well made from premium materials that are sourced in Germany and assembled there, they have enjoyed stellar sales and popularity. This has made them a force to be reckoned with among users who are particular about the knife quality they purchase.

The demand for pocket knives in the United States. The Robert Klaas Company stepped in to fill, is what led to the widespread misunderstanding that kissing crane knives are only used as pocket knives.

Around this period, German knives had a reputation for being of very high quality, and they gained popularity in the country as a result. Because of this, there are still some of them floating about in the United States even to this day, and since the manufacturer has gone out of business, they have all of a sudden become something of a collectible.

There are a Few Different Ways to Determine the Age of a Kissing Crane Knife

Having a romantic relationship with a kissing crane knife might be challenging for a variety of reasons. All of those topics are going to be covered in the next section.

Try the following when you have one at hand but are unsure what period it is from or whether it is indeed an original piece at all:

Consult someone who specializes in knives for the most effective strategy.

Consider the implications.

These professionals have devoted a significant portion of their life to acquiring knowledge pertaining to knives. As a result, they have most likely read a great quantity of written material on the subject.

That would put them in a better position to detect distinctive aspects of the knife which you may have overlooked, which would indicate to what age the knife comes from. This would be beneficial to both parties.

If you want to proceed in this manner, make it a point to work only with reputable knife pros and specialists.

Some people may not have much moral fiber. And they may tell lies about the characteristics of your knife in order to obtain a better deal from you when they buy it. That is not even close to being professional, yet there are individuals out there like that.

When you have located a reliable knife expert to whom you may take the blade, evaluate how they handle it.

PS Just because you took your kissing crane knife to a specialist does not imply that they have any knowledge about these knives. It’s possible that some of these experts are authorities on other kind of knives. They have no interest in the kissing crane knife at all. Or that they are just off base for one or more of a number of different reasons.

You might also try one of the other methods listed below.

Dating an Older Kissing Crane Knife (Pre 1990)

The 1980s and 1990s saw the introduction of the very first pair of kissing crane knives to the consumer market. As a result of this, they will also be the most valuable collector goods available today. If you happen to have any of these knives in your possession and you decide to sell them, you can expect to earn a high price for them.

Before you ever make an effort to date, here is how to spot one of these people:

  • Regarding the number of blades, the earlier kissing crane knives often included two distinct blades. These blades came in a variety of sizes and contours, each of which was designed to serve a certain function.
  • If you look all the way around both blades, you should be able to locate a numbering system that consists of four digits imprinted on it. Stamped on the sections of the blade that do not get worn down are the serial numbers (like the edges)
  • On the majority of Kissing Crane knives produced during this time period, there are no logos to be seen. There was no need to put a logo on them since they came from a single nation and were manufactured by a single business. Also, because the majority of the Kissing Crane knives that ended up in the United States were imported by the United Cutlery firm, it’s possible that they were not too fond of the large logos of other companies that were shown on the knives.
  • Form – as was previously said, the vast majority of earlier kissing crane knives come in the form of folding knives. That is one of the simplest ways to recognise any kissing crane knife, not just the earlier models; it applies to all of them.

Once you have all of the aforementioned items, you may date the knife using the instructions below:

Find the Numbers in the Puzzle.

The main body of the blade need to be imprinted with a numerical system that uses the Arabic script. This system of four numbers is intended to inform you the pattern of the knife. The number of blades that come with it, and the material that was used to make the handle.

For example, the kissing crane knife above carries a 3235 Arabic numeral stamp. That breaks down into:

  • Pattern – 32
  • Number of blades – 3
  • Handle material – 5 (stag/ deer antler handle material)

While the first two are easy to decipher, according to the above. You might have some challenges with identifying the handle material based on the number alone. Here are some common others:

  • 1 – solid hardwood
  • 3 – smooth yellow synthetic
  • 8 – Genuine mother of pearl
  • 9 – Imitation mother of pearl
  • 10 – Micarta, G-10

You can find more handle material codes in this online library of knife pattern codes.

Identify the Numerals

Besides the numbers, you will also find Roman Numerals on the older kissing crane knives. This was a mainstay between 1972 – 1986. So, even if you didn’t know how to read the Roman Numerals, you know that your kissing crane knife was made within this period if you find roman numerals on it.

Fortunately for you, reading the numerals is as easy as it comes.

The Roman numeral stamps started with XI in 1972, and every year has seen an incremental addition since then.

Thus, you will interpret:

  • XII as 1973
  • XIII as 1974
  • XIV as 1975
  • XV as 1976

… and so on, up till 1986.

Dating a Newer Kissing Crane Knife (1990 – today)

The newer kissing crane knives are a little bit dicier. The fact that the original Klaas company went out of business and other manufacturers took up the name has diluted the market a little bit.

Still, we can attempt to date these knives sometimes.

Here are the first things to look out for:

  • A ‘KC’ insignia – this KC stamp precedes the numbers or other details on the new knives. Once you see that, know that your knife is from 1990 or later.
  • Stamp – all-new knives in this category carry at least one stamp. The stamp can be the identifying Arabic numerals as shown above, or simply the logo of the company that makes the knives. It is also not uncommon to see a stamp on multiple blades on these knives.

While it is much more challenging to determine the exact year of the newer models. You might check with the manufacturer’s website to establish that.

Read Also: Where are Giant Mouse Knives Made?

Pitfalls of Dating a Kissing Crane Knife

As you must have seen, getting the right details on your kissing crane knife is no child’s play.

Among other things, the common challenges that you could face include:

  • Not having access to the right databases – when this happens, the numbers might remain numbers to you. I have linked to a guide above that shows you what each number means on the handle part, at least.
  • Blurred numbers – while manufacturers will usually stamp the numbers on areas where wear and tear won’t happen, these markings could still get scratched out. When that happens, it becomes harder to date the knife properly.
  • New companies – the initial company that started this kissing crane knife movement was based in Germany. Over time, they moved around to countries like Taiwan, among others, to ensure production at less expensive rates. Now that they have been taken over by yet another brand, all that mix-up could get you lost as to where your knife came from and when.

Final Words

Effectively dating a kissing crane knife is not rocket science. As long as you can pay attention and identify the relevant details. Applying the strategies discussed in this piece, you should have a better chance of getting relevant details about your knife than before.

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