Original WWII U.S. Navy "KA-BAR" Mark 1 Fighting Knife by Union Cutlery with USN Leather Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. The Navy MK1 knife was used as both a utility knife and a fighting weapon. While some undoubtedly saw combat, particularly with Naval Aviators, these blades were mostly used for everyday functions aboard ship and ashore. The Mark I knives were Navy issue throughout WW2 and remained in inventory through the Vietnam war. They were purchased in huge quantities so replacements were not needed for many years.
From a collecting standpoint the beauty of the Mark I knives is in the wide variety of makers and blades that can be found. As for values, like most things USGI blades are evaluated based on scarcity and condition. This knife is a very good example, with all leather grip washers intact and present, and a great blade and scabbard.
Unlike many example we have seen, this knife was made by Union Cutlery of Olean, N.Y., who would later work with the the Marine Corps and Navy to develop the Mark 2 knife, usually referred to simply as a "KA-BAR" Knife. This name was however in fact a trademark brand name of Union Cutlery, which was marked on many of their knives, including this example. The design however definitely shows similarities to the Mark 2 design, with the round steel pommel cap.
The stacked leather grip is still tight on the tang, so the leather has not shrunk while in storage, and like other makers there are 3 plastic washers up against the pommel and crossguard. The knife measures 9 1/2" overall, with a 5 1/4" clip point blade. The blade is nicely marked U.S.N. on the ricasso and KA-BAR / OLEAN, N.Y. on the reverse. The original factory heavily blued finish is retained very well, with just the factory sharpening removing the finish on the very edge. There is a bit of speckled oxidation, but there is no sharpening, so this knife may have never been issued.
The scabbard is the earliest leather MK1 version which is nicely marked USN on the front side, and is in good lightly used condition. It looks to only show storage wear, and there is just a bit of verdigris and oxidation near the fittings.
Overall this is a great example of a "KA-BAR" brand U.S. Navy Mark 1 knife, complete with a great leather scabbard. No collection of World War II US military knives is complete without a Mark 1, and this is the perfect opportunity to acquire one from a hard to find maker in great shape!
Blade length: 5 1/4”
Blade Style: Clip-point "Bowie"
Overall length: 9 1/2”
Crossguard: 1 3/8”
Scabbard Length: 5 1/2" + Belt Frog
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