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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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Comment by James O Phillips on April 3, 2011 at 7:43
I Think this Henry Boker Is from 1869-1914
Comment by Ricky Ray on March 25, 2011 at 19:07
Thanks Greg!
Comment by Greg on March 25, 2011 at 5:16
Great Info Ricky! Thanks for posting!
Comment by Ricky Ray on March 17, 2011 at 19:16
I think you are correct on both counts Roger. The shield on the right is on a cracked ice celluloid handled 9885 pattern. The tang stamp is BOKER/USA. I am not sure if the shield had been replaced, or it is circa 1983-1986. I have seen other examples of knives with the BOKER/USA tang stamp, and "MADE IN GERMANY" blade etches from this time period. I have suspected that the remaining USA in-process production materials were shipped to Solingen for completion after U.S. production ceased. I have no proof of that though.
Comment by Roger Russell on March 17, 2011 at 11:59

In reference to the bottom two shields: I remember the one on the left being on a knife that sold on ebay a while back. I don't  remember a lot of the particulars (tang stamps) about the knife but I do remember it had a corkscrew. In my opinion it is an old one. That is also the only shield I've ever seen like that.


The one on the right I have seen before, though it's not very common. Without knowing the tang stamps and/or seeing the actual knife about all I can tell you is: That aside from it obviously being made in Germany,  it's also post war. This due to the fact of the shield being smaller & having Solingen under the tree emblem. 

Comment by Ricky Ray on March 15, 2011 at 20:20
Thanks Steve!
Comment by Steve Hanner on March 15, 2011 at 20:08
Ricky, great information on the Boker Shields. Let's see if anybody has any others. Very educational.

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