Summary: one of the first eight (or very soon after) of this model Bo made and sent to friends and dealers in 1946. The historical value of this knife is through the roof, I sold one of the first 8 last year and except for the etched name this knife is the spittin’ image. The letter from Robert Gaddis is for reference, I know there’s more information about these early Trout & Bird knives in one of the Randall books but do not recall which it is.
From a very astute Randall collector:
I don't think the list of names etched on those early 8's was ever disclosed. Mine had the name "Fred Gilman" etched. Ref Gaddis' letter to me as attached. Without the names, I believe there are other "tells" of the 1st eight: One was the grind. Another was that these eight was made from 1/8" stock. The blades were ridiculously thin! The last was that they were handled in ivory. If yours matches up, I don't think there would be much doubt.”
Everything about the knife is tight, nothing is loose although the ivory is cracked. Made with a sterling silver hilt, overall length is 8-1/4”. The right side carry brown button Heiser sheath with some carry wear / handling marks, most notably on the front. The snap functions perfectly, Heiser stamp is clear and legible. FWIW: I question whether this is the original sheath, for sure it’s early but I would think the original sheath would have been a Heiser with rivets.
9 photos for review – as shown, a Randall carry case is included. I could go on and on about the rarity of this early pinned ivory knife, it’s 70+ years old with rock solid provenance in several books. Check out the photos, check the letter, reference Gaddis’ book and decide for yourself. Thanks and good luck.