Queen Cutlery Special Projects and Special Factory Knives, 1980-2017: Huge and Not Documented
Queen Cutlery Special Projects and Special Factory Knives: Introduction
Rarity has become increasingly important in knife collecting, and Queen Cutlery responded by producing many small editions of knives that never were cataloged. Initially these were often annual club knives. But Queen was happy to work with knife distributors, and semi-custom cutlery shops to increase this business (see our articles about Clarence Risner).
I stress that we are not talking about “private label” jobs by other companies that had Queen Cutlery make their products with no identification of the manufacturer of the product, just the purchaser’s own ID. Examples can be found all the way back to Schat & Morgan, but prominent recent examples would be “Winchester,” “Moore Maker,” or “Case Classics.” Just brand names as a jobber. We are talking instead about:
A.) knives made by Queen and never put in a catalog – limited edition knives (Queen Special Projects (QSP);
B.) Knives ordered by others who wanted Queen-labeled knives to improve their ability to sell them. Special Factory Orders (SFO).
My ten-year study of Queen Swing guard pattern shows that catalog knives account for only about 25% of these knives, with another 25% as “Queen special projects,” and a very large 50% for special factory orders that used Queen stamps (and often, but not necessarily, identification from the purchaser- like knife club name or stamp) for markets they had.
So, in a favorite pattern among collectors’ catalogs alone might miss 75% of Queen’s production over the “collector period,” roughly from 1972 – 2017.
These knives have never been documented very well – since the company was paid at the time of sale for SFO knives there was no need for traditional advertising. Internet sales have provided very efficient means of getting new versions of preferred patterns to distributors and buyers.
There are two reasons for beginning the task. First, because the Queen Cutlery shut its doors and its production is finally a fixed target.
Secondly, unfortunately, the bankruptcy also sold off huge numbers of knife parts and there will be people who would try to increase the value of a post-shutdown “parts knife,” claiming rarity, with old tang stamp and some other parts. Every such parts knife sold reduces the value of knives actually made in the factory by skilled cutlers. Information about early special knives becomes important as prices rise and parts knives show up.
Displaying These Knives
Some knives will be summarized only in text files – for example in knife club listings. Some will have good descriptions with photos, others will have just a photograph. Eventually, we will try as much information about a given knife as possible – for now, it is just a start.
How You Can Help
Small articles with images of knives and basic information follow, based on knives in our limited collections. We need help in adding to this resource by having collectors send in good copies of their knives, showing mark and pile sides and any details of timeline and production that we can add to this web site. Over time, this will become a huge repository of high- quality collector knives from the time when they were made in the Titusville PA factory.
We are seeking input of any special project knife or SFO showing both Queen/Schatt & Morgan (and perhaps tang stamp of buyer). Big distributors like Smokey Mountain, Clarence Risner, Yellowhorse, Michael Prater, Deadwood, or any knife Collector Club or commemorative knife. You name it. Let’s see what is out there! The big question is “What did Queen Produce?”
We will have our reviewers and expert collectors evaluate knives submitted before addition to our resource. I will add knives photos in this site and use each item as input to a Queen Cutlery Special Knife database and Guides to help all collectors. Thank you!
Special Knives by Model Number
Queen 82L, SFO 3-28-2020