The latest edition of the most complete guide to knife and cutlery markings available - the knife collector's "bible."
reviewed by Knife World staff
Goins' Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition is probably the most talked about, eagerly
awaited book in recent memory. Since the first Encyclopedia became required
reading for all cutlery collectors 12 years ago, John and Charlotte Goins
have been deluged with ever more questions, queries, and bits of
information on old firms and markings. Increasingly, collectors have
wondered if and when there might be an update to that knife collector's
"bible." Friends, the answer is yes, and that day is finally here.
For those of you unfamiliar with the "Goins Book," Goins' Encyclopedia
contains summaries of the known history behind practically every marking
found on antique cutlery. There are literally thousands of cutlery
manufacturers, importers, dealers, hardware firms, barber supply companies,
and the like included in its scope. When it comes to historial information
on the brands of old knives, razors, or anything else that goes 'cut,'
Goins' Encyclopedia is far and away the best single resource.
Superficially, the new book reminds one a lot of the old Encyclopedia. The
title is the same, and the cover photo is somewhat similar. The two are
roughly the same size. Can the new book be much different? You bet it can!
More efficient use of the space available has been achieved by the removal
of the section on safety razors, the incorporation of the bowie knife
marking information into the rest of the book, and a slight reduction in
typeface size. The only group that should mourn these changes are the
safety razor and safety razor blade collectors, for everyone else makes out
like a bandit. This space conservation has allowed the authors to pack well
over a thousand new markings into the book, countless expanded histories,
loads of new photos, and a couple of new features.
It's impossible to give you an accurate idea of the number of new entries,
but the impression it leaves is that firms from all areas and periods have
been added to the new book. It seems in particular that a tremendous number
of small New York, Pennsylvania, and New England firms have been
discovered, as well as a large number of English cutleries. The chances of
owning a knife 'not listed in Goins' have been greatly reduced!
Perhaps the most appreciated area of the new book will be the information
added to already-existing listings. Some of the most important are the
updated entries for original Barlow markings, Camillus, Case-related firms,
Imperial, Queen, Remington, Robeson, and Russell, all of which contain
important new information. In particular, the new, detailed information on
Camillus markings should have an immediate impact on the value of these
knives on the collector market. As an added bonus, a Coca-Cola section
pictures over 50 knives, both authentic and reproduction (and so labeled).
As we have come to expect, the book is illustrated throughout with company
trademarks, but with an extremely important new twist: each is listed with
the date the mark was registered, effectively providing the earliest date
an item bearing that logo could have been made. This information will
undoubtedly prove very useful to all interested in dating an older item. In
addition, a large number of previously unpictured knives and razors are
shown, as well as a great assortment of postcards, box labels, ads, patent
drawings, and the like.
For those who have looked up a marking in the previous edition only to find
that nothing was yet known about it, Goins has utilized his more than three
decades of experience in assigning an approximate date to these unknowns
based on the examples observed. Thoughtfully, these 'approximate' dates
have been designated with the prefix "g." rather than "c." indicating a
"guesstimate." Those of us less experienced than John will undoubtedly find
this information very useful - in other words, practically everyone!
In short, the new Goins' Encyclopedia is far and away the best source of
information ever published on old cutlery firms and markings. If you
collect, deal in, research, or just enjoy the history behind old knives,
razors and other edged collectables, this book is an absolute must-have
Note: John Goins passed away in December, 2003. This second edition of "Goins Encyclopedia" will be the last. All of the remaining stock is in our warehouse -- when they're gone, they're gone.
Goins' Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings, 2nd ed.
by John and Charlotte Goins
Softcover, 311 pp.