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John, i just got this from my mom, it was out of my dads collection, he didnt keep many knives but the ones he did are nice. This has a 7" blade and its bery thick, what is the standard thickness for them? Dad thought it might be the optional thicker blade mentioned in price guides. Any close quess on date of manufacture? And yes I have the sheath. 

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John, the nut on the pomell is 1/2" diameter, I think that is a dating clue. Oh and I do know its a Marbles. I love this knife! 

Michael,

Gus's chat blog might be able to help with the dating http://knifetalkin.blogspot.com/2013/11/marble-arms-and-manufacturi...

Michael-WOW !! What a nice gift !! This knife dates to circa 1902-1911,with some sources saying to 1907, when the stag for the pommel became unavailable and was replaced by Lignum Vitae wood until supplies of stag became available again in 1911.This was originally called their model 1 Ideal, and was renamed in 1906 the model 41 Ideal.Your knife has the early large block tang stamp. Sources vary on what constituted a thick blade model but somewhere between 3/16" and 1/4". The thinner bladed ones had a spine of around an 1/8" up to 3/16".The Ideal knife came originally in 5",6",7" and 8" blade lengths.For those that don't know The M.S.A. stood for Marble Safety Axe Co. In 1911 the name was changed to Marble Arms & Mfg. Co. Michael, I would love to see some good pictures of the sheath,as these original sheaths are quite rare and can fetch some pretty significant prices themselves in any condition, and greatly add to the value of the knife .From what I can see of the condition, the knife alone is probably somewhere north of $1000, and depending on the sheath could be substantially higher.

Hi John, thanks. the spine measures just under 1/4" , its a heavy beast. Ill post a pic of the sheath here soon, its the typical Marbles drop in style. I have seen the M.S.A. Co. done 2 ways, one like mine with a wide kern to the letters and one with them closer together, narrow kern. The narrow set seem to be a better stamping, could the wider style be earlier? 

Michael- yes, your knife with the wide spacing  and the hyphen between  MICH-U.S.A. is the earlier M.S.A. stamp.Your sheath is the original tube sheath and in very fine condition for a sheath over 100 years old. The sheath alone is between $125 and $250 in value per what I have seen recently. BTW, just an FYI on the handle. Marble's was the FIRST company to bring the stacked-leather-washer handle into widespread use and acceptance in the USA. Pretty neat piece of knife history.

Thanks John, all great info. So would I be correct in calling mine an Model 1 Ideal? 

That is a beauty!  Congrats!

Michael- Yes as long as you call it a model 1 or style 1 Ideal. In their 1903 catalog they called it a style 1 . #2 had stag handles and pommel and style #3 had a hard rubber handle. In 1906 they were renamed models  41,42,and 43 respectively. The confusion lay in the fact that they in the same 1903 catalog showed 4 versions of their M.S.A. folding safety hunter, also called models 1,2,3 & 4. They later renamed these models 83,84,85, & 86 as their product catalog grew and to avoid confusion. Therefore your knife is a model 1 IDEAL, just not simply a model 1.

What a SWEET piece of history, Michael.

I am a major M.S.A & Marbles arms fan.

.

I've a #1 safety folding axe .. my grandfathers.

I've also a 4 1/4 safety folding hunter in stag (hardly "vintage" quality)

but

both my pride & joy !!!

.

You've a genuine piece of cutlery history there, Michael !!!

What wonderful condition for it's age, looks a real classic to me.

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