Pearl Knives

Robeson Cutlery by Queen in the 1990’s

Queen Mother of Pearl handled Knives, 1947-2017

Fred Fisher and Dan Lago October, 2019

One of the most obvious conclusions in reviewing older Queen catalogs and price lists is how strong and consistent their history of producing the finest Mother of Pearl handled pocket knives has been. The connection between exotic handle materials and oily old Titusville, PA, does not seem likely, until you connect their original experience with Schatt & Morgans expertise and supplies. The Schatt & Morgan #2 Catalog (about 1907, pp 101- 117) illustrates 81 different pearl-handled folding knives (see David Clarks 2010 reproduction catalog in references). The commitment to “Gentlemen s knives” has been a theme of the company since the beginning. Our comments are based on the newly available Guide “Pearls as a Series” on this site and attached at the end of this piece.

Queen cataloged three pearl patterns (#4, Sleeveboard, #6, Senator, and #8, Senator with bale) in their first catalog in 1947. They offered some patterns consistently, with ten patterns (4, 6, 8, 14, 21, 26, 54, 57, 59, 96) in more than ten catalogs. The clear winner is the small Dogleg Jack (#14- renamed the popular “Peanut” with 25 separate catalog offerings. Certainly, a collection of any of these patterns spanning the variations in their tang stamps/blade etches and steels would be most impressive!

On the other hand, there are at least nine additional catalog model numbers that have been offered less than four times each over the years (2, 16, 17, 38, 41P, 41LP, 46, 68, 316). The Sheffield jigged Pearls were offered only in the 2002-2003 catalog and despite their rarity have not found a home as collector favorites –

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they can still be obtained at reasonable prices if you are lucky.

The Queen “Mini hunter, #41LP in both pearl finishes, 2002-2003 (probably produced only once, and in D2 steel)

In addition to these knives of very limited availability, Queen has offered at least 16 other model numbers only once in connection with Schatt & Morgan Annual Keystone Series and other special limited editions, such as the “Presidents Series” knives in the early 2000 years . Some of these knives were both wide and long, and with very beautiful high-quality pearl. They came with boxes and are again, highly collected.

One of our favorites – a pearl-handled Copperhead (#8135) offered only in 1981 with a companion stag

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Copperhead. These sold out very rapidly.

Queen also has a very strong history of doing small editions, or Special Projects (QSP) and there is little documentation of these knives. The best example is the very limited series of “Smoked Pearl” knives.

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A rare set of all Queen Smoked Pearl Knives

The quality and unusual handle treatment are a nice example of where the knives themselves have created the interest among collectors. These most desirable knives may have been produced in such limited numbers that they were left out of catalogs – There are no smoked pearls in our catalog database. Only one pencil-dated price list (1968) shows Smoked Pearls to our knowledge. And most amazingly, the smoked Pearls were LESS expensive than a regular Mother of Pearl Knife.

Another rare set of pearl knives are those file-worked by hand from Master Cutler Samuel Nelson.

A pair of Samuel Nelson knives with file worked backsprings – Truly very rare knives

“The Presidents Series” by Nick Trbovich and Bob Breto n through the first decade of the 21st century

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included a number of very special pearl knives. Here is an example of a boxed set of tiny toothpicks in both black and white pearl, 2006 & 2007. In our opinion superb pearl in these knives.

Queen also made Mother of Pearl special factory order (SFO) for knife collector groups over the years and there is no documentation for these knives: they remain to be discovered as they come out of private

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collections over time. A very few Black-lipped pearl knives are included in this number – of these the Dan Burke line – Englishman Jack and Serpentine Doctors Knife seem to be especially favored among collectors. You will pay a lot for these small knives!

Here is an example of a Queen Swing Guard Lockback knife (#1L) commissioned by the Wolverine Knife Collectors in 2001. Fort City Knife collectors also ordered a 25th anniversary swing guard at the same time (see below). There is also a Schatt & Morgan similar knife with a deep gold blade etch. This might have been one of the last times such large, high-quality pearl scales were available.

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Fort City 2001 Mother of Pearl swing guard with gold deep etch, edition of 31, serialized

Certainly, a serious collector of Mother of Pearl Knives made by Queen Cutlery would have a variety of very nice knives to choose from.

(Throughout this article, we admit our photographic skills cannot capture the fire and beauty of these pearl knives. Look for yourself). HAPPY COLLECTING.

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Clark, David (2010). Reproduction of Schatt & Morgan 1903 and 1907 Catalogs. (1903, 52 pp, 1907, 128 pp). Published by Lois and Clark Publications, 349 Windsor Dr., Marietta GA 30064. Available from:

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