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  #1  
Old 02-15-2017, 02:25 PM
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samg samg is offline
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Smoking gun on past Heiser v Johnson sheath debate!!

OK, so I am a little compulsive about stuff Randall, and as many of you know, a couple of years ago there was a raging debate as to whether the early RMK stamped sheaths were made by HH Heiser (at the time HKL) or Maurice Johnson, It was debated over on another collectors site. It was an excellent debate, going back and forth as to who made many of those early Brown button RMK stamped sheaths.

Well, moving to now, I have kept my eyes open since then, be it Google searches, group sites, auctions, and eBay.
I struck gold the other day on eBay and found the holy grail for the proponents of the theory that Johnson made them!!
Without going into the weeds about all the evidence that led us all to believe what constituted whether it was Heiser or Johnson made, for my collecting purposes, if a brown button sheath has a tooled edge ( a ridge left by the sewing machine), center keeper snap, serif model/length numbers on the back of the sheath, and a west facing stamp, it was no doubt Heiser (HKL) made.
If the sheath has a beveled, curved edge, keeper snap on the edge, non serif numbers, or no numbers and has an east facing stamp, it was made by Johnson.
This way of identification has held fast and true for me, without exception....
Until now.
After 2 years of searching, I have found one!



Notice the tooled edge down the outer edge of the sheath, and center snap.



The back



Close-up of the back, with east facing stamp AND serif numbers!!!



This is the only brown button tooled edge, center snap, seirif numbered sheath with a WEST FACING STAMP that I have seen. And yes, it's going in my collection. It came with a knife, a user.
This sheath will be a constant reminder to me that there is always...The exception to the rule.
In hind sight, I'm glad the other camp at the time of our sometimes heated debate, didn't come up with this little jewel, though I know it is HKL made and someone oriented the stamp wrong....Or is it? Could this be one of Johnson's early sheaths that he made, before he came up with the idea to bevel the edge, and though he had serif stamps, decided to quit using number stamps for awhile, then when he took up using number stamps again, began using non serif number stamps. Then he probably decided that the sheaths would look better with the stamp oriented to the east, evolving quickly to what became the now familiar baby dot sheath.
So, does anyone out there have one of these oddballs? I would love to know if there are others out there.
Though there were coarse words back and forth between many of us, in hindsight, I think the Randall community learned a lot from the dabate.
Regards, Samg

Last edited by samg; 02-15-2017 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:12 PM
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This is the stag handled knife that came with the sheath. Next to an unused 3-6 with leather handle. Used just a little...You think? It will still make an awesome whittler😀 Hey...It's a Randall!!

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Old 02-15-2017, 03:52 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Don't forget to include pics of the "Blue Ink Printed" Hone!
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:55 PM
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Here ya go Bill. Not sure that it's original to the knife or not, but one thing is for sure, it wasn't used to grind down that blade 😀😀



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Old 02-16-2017, 06:22 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Nice find, Sam. Count me in the camp that says an HKL worker got a call from his newly pregnant girlfriend just as he was about to orient the stamp.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:54 AM
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Too funny Ron! Little did that guy know 54 years ago, how important that mistake would be! To think that sex between 2 people in Denver Colorado 54 years ago would be the ruination of our well thought out, researched determination! Egads!

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Old 02-16-2017, 11:01 AM
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Good work Sam... but that is not the first or only. There has been an occasional odd ball... as one would expect. These exceptions do help make the rule.

In May, 2013, when Ron transposed our original thesis from this board (The Magic Randall line, now on second page) to the other forum, Gary Clinton reviewed the data and did a quick check of his collection. He then posted that he was on board with the discovery of the markers and timing for Heiser and Johnson sheaths with brown buttons and Randall stamp. BUT he posted one anomaly. Here it is along with his comments.

"...Now here is the problem. There is always one bad apple in the batch. This knife is obviously an oddball and there is nothing concrete about some guy writing his name and date on the back of the sheath. But the problem is it has the snap in the center of the sheath with the R for Randall on the bottom ( Johnson)

This is the only one like this I have so I would say it's 50 to 1."
[my note: that is, 50 of his brown button sheaths fit the id, against one that is an anomaly]



Here is a link to that discussion including Gary's comments and pictures (which are on page 11).
http://www.knifetalkforums.com/ubbth...=109301&page=9
Here is Gary Clinton's posted statement after reviewing the data.. see link above:

"From what I see and hear from these last posts I'm on board with this new theory. Sure there may be some exceptions and I'm convinced something must have happened at Heiser for the quality to dip towards the end of their sheath making era. It fits nicely with Gary Randall meeting Johnson in 1962 and it also does not suggest another sheath maker had a major role during this time. Thanks for the posts and I enjoyed this very much.

Gary"


I think the "grand unification theory" is now almost completely accepted across the collecting hobby. Even Joe is apparently using the ID markers for dating and identification, though he has not publically acknowledged it. In my opinion it is so widely accepted that we don't need to keep beating the horse... he is drinking the water.

Note: nice pommel cap on Gary's knife...

Last edited by Jacknola; 02-16-2017 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:46 PM
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Thanks Jack for bringing that one up as well. It's interesting that on one sheath the number stamp is above the RMK stamp, up close to the top of the sheath, and the other is down below the stamp, where there is plenty of room. Perhaps they were both done the same day that the HKL employee learned that his girlfriend was pregnant😀😀



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