By now most of you know I try and focus on knives that have a story, and since the history of the knives still seems to be a primary driving force of interest to numerous collectors, my efforts to acquire such pieces for study continues.
While “sock drawer” knives are ok, alone they just don’t have the appeal to me of a carried piece, and/or one with a story from the original owner or family member. So the subject of this article brings the best of both worlds together, a knife in “sock drawer” condition and from the original owner. The story of this stellar 1940’s vintage model 2 is best described in a letter from the original owner.
My name is Sydney Russell Grove and the history of this knife is as follows:
I was born on May 5th, 1930 and I received this knife for the occasion of my birthday in the mid 1940’s. It was given to me by my uncle and aunt, Peter and Bert Portman of Wisconsin. My uncle Peter was a combat soldier in the United States Marine Corps, and fought during WWII. After his tour of duty was finished he came back to the United States and drove from the west coast to east coast just seeing the country and looking up some of his fellow Marines. My uncle was very knowledgeable about guns and knives and while he was in Florida he special ordered this Randall knife and had my name engraved on it. He later presented it to me in Lake Worth, Florida where my family had a winter residence. It was a fantastic birthday present and has been a cherished possession of mine ever since.
This knife has never been sharpened or used for anything outdoors or indoors, and it is always kept secured in my safe or bank box for protection. I am the first and original owner of this knife and I am still in awe of it after 70 years of ownership. It is the type of treasure a young boy from Wisconsin, now 85 years old, will never forget.
I have an affinity for the model 2, particularly early examples, as they may be the purest fighting knife ever devised. Historically, the dirk or dagger style blade has been around for eons. This fine example of the genre by Randall Made Knives soundly reinforces the reputation of the company.
The slightly larger than 8” blade is in unused condition as described in Mr. Groves letter and retains the overall shape of a WWII model 2. This would stand to reason on a late 1945 to 1946 knife as I am certain the blade is a WWII forging. Hammer marks are visible as was common for Randall’s of the period. The hilt is also of the later WWII type. Great pinned stag with the chamfered butt all point to characteristics found in early to mid 1940’s era Randall Made stag handled knives.
The H. H. Heiser translucent snap sheath is truly an outstanding example of this leather company's work. Note the sheath is a model 1 sheath which was not unheard of for a model 2 during the early years, and this knife and sheath combination would even show up on occasion much later.
I was curious a bit as to why Mr. Grove’s uncle chose a fighting knife for his nephew versus a field knife, which he presumably would get more use out of if Russell chose to do so. My guess is once a Marine, always a Marine, and Russell was going to recieve a knife designed for a purpose Uncle Peter knew all too well.
Note: I used the original cell phone photos sent to me by Mr. Grove that were taken by a friend of his. The detail is not the best, but even with these photos it is quite evident what a spectacular piece of Randall history it is. I spoke to Mr. Grove on the phone several times, and all I can say it they don't make 'em like that any more
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