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Antique Bowie Knife Collector


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#1 ron norman

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 12:36 PM

I need to find a recognized expert in the field of Antique Bowie Knives. I have an article pending on an important Bowie Knife and the Magazine wants an experianced Bowie collector to confirm that the knife in question could be from the period that I believe it is and if so will publish my article. If you know of any one you can suggest, that I can contact who can help me I would sincerely appreciate it. The knife is very important and should be shown and written about as it may be the only one known made in the US in San Francisco during the period of the 1849 GOLD RUSH.

 

Thanks

 

Ron Norman  (old member in more ways than one)


Edited by ron norman, 07 July 2018 - 12:37 PM.


#2 aznation

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 02:21 PM

Bernard R. Levine 
PO Box 2404 
Eugene Oregon 97402 USA 
Tel: 541-484-0294

 

Email:  http://[email protected] 

 

 

  • 41 Years Experience 

    33 Years Expert Witness Experience 

    10 Knife Books 

    More Than 500 Magazine Articles 

http://knife-expert.com/

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#3 ron norman

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 06:36 PM

Thank you, I have his book, 

 

I was told that he was that he was not easy to deal with and wanted to charge for his information. 

 

Perhaps I have been misled.

 

Ron Norman



#4 aznation

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 07:30 PM

Hi Ron,

 

I don't know anything about his demeanor but on his website he does appear to charge a fee for identification/authentication.  Doesn't seem like an unreasonable price to me, but your choice.

 

Good Luck!

 

 

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#5 ron norman

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Posted 07 July 2018 - 09:13 PM

Let me make a few comments.

 

I was a personal friend of Bill Williamson, Robert Ables, Norm Flayderman and John Hammer. I put many Knives into their personal collections. Other than Bill Williamson,(who ivied in California and I at the time in Florida) all the others had been a guest in my home. I was occasionally consulted by all these listed gentleman for my opinions and advice on weapons and militaria. I do not wish to pay for an opinion on what I know to be true. My problem is that I have NEVER charged nor did any of the other named acknowledged experts for the truth on an important here to for unknown weapon. We (and I include the others mentioned here) were always excited and deleted to discover and learn something new. I and the others would charge for a detailed appraisal of a collection or for a expert witness in a federal court case that often we had to travel to. I am really concerned that paying a fee may taint the Bowie knife I am writing about.

Ron Norman 



#6 militariaone

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 01:34 AM

Greetings Ron,

 

I follow your premise that a paid for expert’s opinion might taint the knife. However, in Mr. Levine’s case, it would be no different (as you have mentioned in terms of provided for official services) than paying a subject matter’s expert for their expert’s testimony in court. While I know who Mr. Levine is, I’ve never interacted with him in any manner.

 

Just as easily, I would argue that an unpaid for/free opinion could be similarly tainted as the individual advising may possess the desire to glom onto any publicity the knife’s article generates or is simply, rubber stamping your own conclusions as they don’t wish to disappoint.

 

For $25.00, I would rather possess a disinterested and wholly qualified party’s opinion rather than a free/less contentious and potentially sycophantic expert’s opinion. Additionally, if I were your article’s publisher, I’d respect a potentially unfriendly/contentious expert’s opinion than multiple unpaid backslappers’ opinions.

 

Ron, you seem put out having to pay for other’s confirmation of information you know to be true. As a disinterested yet sympathetic observer, it doesn’t appear to be a hard choice to make. That is, unless it’s not about paying for that confirmation/information, but more about the loss of pride of having to pay for what once could be had for free when your esteemed colleagues were still amongst us.

 

For a nominal fee, you could move past this current hurdle and onto the next knife worthy of your time/talents. I only wish all of life’s challenges were this straightforward and affordable.

 

Best,

 

V/r Lance


Edited by militariaone, 08 July 2018 - 01:35 AM.


#7 ron norman

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 05:21 AM

Your Point is well taken and believe me its not the 25.00 fee that bothers me. 

I think when all is said and done I reflect back to the older COLLECTORS  who were there to help and guide other collectors to knowledge and enjoyment and that is always the way I felt. I believe that in todays world its how much I can make rather than how much can I contribute to the knowledge for other collectors.

I have been collecting for over 70 years now and have had the privilege of knowing many of the great collectors and gaining knowledge from all of them.

 

Ron Norman 



#8 Les George

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 05:30 AM

As far as San Francisco’s gold rush Jim Sornberger is probably the most knowledgeable guy I am aware of. He’s a Knifemaker and engraver and he’s inspected most of the known Knives from that era.

He will talk your ear off on it, for sure!



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#9 ron norman

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 06:05 AM

As far as San Francisco’s gold rush Jim Sornberger is probably the most knowledgeable guy I am aware of. He’s a Knifemaker and engraver and he’s inspected most of the known Knives from that era.

He will talk your ear off on it, for sure!



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Les, Can you tell me how to contact Jim Sornberger by phone or email ???

 

Thanks,

 

Ron Norman



#10 kfields

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 06:10 AM

I have never met Bernard Levine but do respect his opinion. I think a published authors opinion would carry a lot of weight with the magazine. I have read some of Mr. Levine's internet posts and have come away with the opinion that he does not suffer fools kindly. In the age of the internet, I suspect if word got out that he was inspecting and providing written verifications of knives for FREE, he would have no time left to brush his teeth or take a bath room break!!

I would bet money that he has been approached by many, many folks who have one-of-a-kind knives that have turned out to be fakes or common stuff. He doesn't know you so his placing a dollar value on his time is his way of sifting out the cheapskates and folks trying to make $10 bucks on a $5 dollar knife.

If it were me, I would pay the man, get the authentication in writing and move on.

Kim



#11 ron norman

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 07:26 AM

I have never met Bernard Levine but do respect his opinion. I think a published authors opinion would carry a lot of weight with the magazine. I have read some of Mr. Levine's internet posts and have come away with the opinion that he does not suffer fools kindly. In the age of the internet, I suspect if word got out that he was inspecting and providing written verifications of knives for FREE, he would have no time left to brush his teeth or take a bath room break!!

I would bet money that he has been approached by many, many folks who have one-of-a-kind knives that have turned out to be fakes or common stuff. He doesn't know you so his placing a dollar value on his time is his way of sifting out the cheapskates and folks trying to make $10 bucks on a $5 dollar knife.

If it were me, I would pay the man, get the authentication in writing and move on.

Kim

Thanks Kim, I appreciate your comments and will contact Levine. My original comments were based on the fact that I previously had several people tell me he was knowledgeable but difficult to deal with. Your premise about his time is probably a concern, however by offering FREE appraisals at the shows I set up at over the years has brought me some RARE and Wonderful and Historical weapons, which I was able to obtain for a fair price. That is also an important reason to be helpful to folks.

 

Ron Norman



#12 Les George

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Posted 08 July 2018 - 10:48 AM

Les, Can you tell me how to contact Jim Sornberger by phone or email ???
 
Thanks,
 
Ron Norman

Hey Ron,

He’s in California for your time planning purposes.

Contact information:
Phone: 209-295-7819

Email: [email protected]


If you talk to him, tell him I was online making cracks about him being an old man, or something like that. Feel free to embellish that as you see fit! :)



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Edited by Les George, 08 July 2018 - 10:50 AM.


#13 ccyooper

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 05:25 PM

Ron,
I do not have Adrian Van Dykes address available because Im on the road but you should contact Bill Walters. I know he stays in touch with Adrian. While I know Adrian is not collecting knives anymore I believe he wrote or published a Bowie Knife book with Bill Adams. I know you know them I expect either would help you out in your efforts. Just a thought. See you at the SOS next spring. Regards, Curt

#14 sksnut

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 03:24 PM

My suggestion would be to deal with Bernard Levine.  If the knife is as important as you think it is, 25 bucks is small change.

 

Bill Adams, Bill Walters and I have been great friends for years and we always readily share information with each other and with others also.  We do not charge a fee because we enjoy what we do.  However I have no issue with someone who does appraisals and charges for them.  

 

I reproduced an early Joseph Rogers catalog in hardback many years ago.  I obtained the original catalog from Bill Adams.  Although some of the knives I owned at one time are pictured in Bill Adams' stunning bowie book, I had nothing to do with the creation or production of same.  Bill Adams did purchase some very nice bowies from me over the years, and I purchased some very nice military knives from him.  It has been a great relationship for both of us.  We remain good friends to this day.

 

Bill Walters has completed his second book on military knives, and it is a magnificent work.  It weighs 8 1/2 pounds and is massive.  The quantity, quality and scarcity of the knives therein is unbelievable.  I cannot see how anyone could better Bill's effort.  At $200 plus shipping, it may be a hard nut for some to crack.  However, when it goes out of print, you may find copies of it going up for sale at many times the original purchase price.  A good example would be Clawson's book on the .45 Automatic.  I understand that a copy recently went up for auction and fetched over a thousand bucks.

 

This collecting game has been a wonderful experience.  I have met, and enjoyed the company of many delightful people, accumulated a number of great collections, disposed of some of them, then went on to collect something else.  I no longer collect knives, although I do pick up rare or interesting pieces for a good friend of mine who is a mid-level collector.  I have also given him a number of really good knives that were in my collection.

 

My current collecting interest is in Vietnam bringback weapons and artifacts, SKS rifles, and combloc handguns.  If the latter (combloc handguns) interest you, George Layman has authored a book about that subject this year, ($40 plus shipping from Mowbray Publishing, phone 800-999-4697).  I highly recommend this book.  George has done a great job of research and presentation of facts.  Although a number of my items are illustrated therein, I have no financial interest in the book,

 

Adrian Van Dyk 



#15 oldradiostuff

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Posted 12 October 2018 - 06:35 PM

Not to hijack your topic, but you sure brought back some great memories of sitting around our dining room table many, many nights when I was a teenager in the 70s with my dad and Bill Williamson.   He lived very close to us and he and my dad were friends and traded many knives.   I can't help you on your knife but thanks for bringing those back to me.




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