The Shield Tells a Story - More on Estimating the Age of Boker Knives

First of all, let me start by saying this is a work in progress. We know how difficult it is to determine the age of a Boker knife. Tang stamps, steel, bolster and liner materials, blade etches, and scale materials all tell a part of the story. Another method is by looking at the shields. It is tricky, because one needs to be certain that the shield is original to the knife. For the sake of argument, let's say that you can be sure ...

Here is a collection of shields, and my attempt to put a date of use with them. Most of these are educated guesses, based on other factors. With that said:

GENERALLY speaking, a plain shield with no company logo or name is pre 1960. Originally, shields on knife handles were mostly for decoration. They also made a convenient location for engraving your initials. In the 1950s and 1960s this changed. Having said that, let me immediately backpedal because Solingen made Bokers have used the tree shield with SOLINGEN underneath for quite a long time.

I've attempted to place a date with the following photos. Please let me know if you have additional photos to add, or correct me if you see glaring errors. I am certain there will be several!


First is the tried and true bar shield. This one is on a knife made in 1937, but the bar shield was in use long before that. One of the earliest catalogs I have is a 1914 reprint and several bar shields are included.

Next is another old standard. The federal shield. There are a few variations on this theme, dating up through the 1950s on US made Bokers. Many variations of these were used in the early 1900s also.






Shield on the left is circa 1937.


On the right is circa 1920s - 1930s.










Acorn shield circa 1920s   


 This shield is circa 1940s-1950s. Together with a BOKER/USA tang stamp. This is my favorite EDC knife - an 8588 stockman pattern with a broken main blade. It was purchased at an online auction. The main blade is about 3/8" too short, and has been reprofiled.

 Below is a shield found on a 1940-1950 era 9361 pattern, scout knife.

If coupled with a BOKER/USA tang stamp, the shield below indicates a US Boker manufactured before 1975. Careful though - many old Solingen made knives also have this shield! Note the lack of a trademark registered symbol. The shield pictured is from a NEW BRITAIN blade etched US Boker circa 1968-1970.

A shield with a trademark registered symbol indicates a knife manufactured after 1975.

Boker registered the "OLDE STAG" name in 1976.

When the COOPER group owned Boker in its final years of US knife production, this shield was used. Circa 1982.

Even though UNITED BOKER was its own separate company, I've included this shield because there are so many out there. Circa 1984-1994.

Below is the standard SOLINGEN shield. This one is still in use today. I have no idea how long this shield has been in use. Made in Germany.

Compare the shield above to this Solingen shield from the early 1960s. Made in Germany.

It is my understanding that the Henry Boker shield below is from the 1980s, and was a special factory order for a large US knife distributor. Made in Germany.

This shield was used in 1994. That was the 125th anniversary of the Solingen manufacturing facility.

Bullseye shield circa 2001-2004

Below is the 2009 shield - 140th anniversary!

This shield is relatively new (circa 2008). It is found on knives with appaloosa bone handles.

Below are two shields that I can not identify. Do you know the age?















I am certain that there are other collectors who can add to this list! Reply, and show your shields. My focus is on Boker knives manufactured after WW2, so I know there are several shields from the early 1900s that aren't shown. Got any pics to add?

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In Memoriam
Comment by John McCain on February 17, 2015 at 18:28

Boker---based on the one pic the tree image most resembles a  1947-1974 Boker logo- Without further photos I would guess in the 1960's-- If you will provide us with any additional photos of markings on any of the blades or tang stamps- I'm sure Ricky and I can help you further.

Comment by Ricky Ray on February 17, 2015 at 18:02

So true, Jan! When I first saw that knife I thought it looked like US made. But mine in the picture below was made in Solingen. So tricky, so tricky.

Comment by Jan Carter on February 17, 2015 at 17:58

Ricky, the tang is the BEST question!  It should reveal more info on the knife's origin

Comment by Ricky Ray on February 17, 2015 at 17:56

Here's a 1961 model I have with the same shield, but different bone

Comment by Steve Scheuerman (Manx) on February 17, 2015 at 17:28

At 7:45 on February 17, 2015, Boker said…

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome!! Quick question for you....can anyone tell me about this Boker crest?

Comment by Katrina Hatch on December 1, 2014 at 19:57

You been busy John! I really do appreciate all your help.
going to sit & google some more.

In Memoriam
Comment by John McCain on December 1, 2014 at 19:06

Katrina-- I have spent hrs. researching this knife and it has led me all over the globe-- Still baffled-- What I surmise so far is a series of contradictions-- South American, maybe-- But they did not normally have curved blades on their gaucho style knives-- They sometimes cut down swords, BUT if you look at the pin placement, the steel is full tang, complete with the radical curve in the handle-- Pins and overall feel suggest 18th-19th century- BUT most countries had far more intricate horse head figures,even then-- Knife also has a blood groove, which is normally used not for the above named purpose, but to reduce blade weight .Almost positive, the handle is cow horn-- definitely horn material. The tree stamps could possibly be a pair of "tree of life" stamps, common representation in many cultures. The fact that it is maker stamped is also intriguing-- Even in the18th-19th century, a maker had to register his mark with a fee-- Usually around $25- Back then, that was pretty well a month's salary-- Hand-made maybe-- but not an amateur-- The curved steel  full tang construction helps verify that--That hollow eye horse figure has a tribal,r fetish, spirit aimal feel to it--- I know I have seen a similar image, just can't place it. Inuits used that hollow eye motif, but no  horses and deciduous trees , there. Long story, full of contradictions-- I will keep looking, plus I have 4 new knife reference books in the mail-- Hope I can find some new answers---BTW, that pronounced U shaped handle, I have yet to find !!

Comment by Ms Data on November 29, 2014 at 18:28

I respect Mark's opinion totally and I also do not think it is Boker.  This may be a wild goose chase but I did find similar stylized horse's head handles that are commonly used on Punjabi wedding kirpans.  That doesn't say anything about the trees though.

Comment by Katrina Hatch on November 29, 2014 at 9:01

Thank you for your input!

Comment by Mark Zalesky on November 29, 2014 at 8:46

I was asked for my input on this, and my opinion is that it likely doesn't have anything to do with Boker -- I've never seen a two-tree trademark associated with the firm and there are no other clues leading to that conclusion here. It seems to be a South- or maybe Central American machete with cow horn handles.

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