Goins’ Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings (Second Edition) by John and Charlotte Goins
The single best source for dates and information on old cutlery firms and markings. The knife enthusiast’s “bible” – a resource no antique cutlery buff can afford to be without. Softcover, 311 pp.
The final edition of the most complete guide to knife and cutlery markings available – the knife collector’s “bible.” THESE ARE ORIGINAL, NEW OLD STOCK COPIES – WE OWN THE ENTIRE REMAINING STOCK.
reviewed by Knife World staff
Goins’ Encyclopedia, 2nd Edition is probably the most talked about, eagerly awaited book in recent memory. Since the first Encyclopedia became required reading for all cutlery collectors 12 years ago, John and Charlotte Goins have been deluged with ever more questions, queries, and bits of information on old firms and markings. Increasingly, collectors have wondered if and when there might be an update to that knife collector’s “bible.” Friends, the answer is yes, and that day is finally here.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “Goins Book,” Goins’ Encyclopedia contains summaries of the known history behind practically every marking found on antique cutlery. There are literally thousands of cutlery manufacturers, importers, dealers, hardware firms, barber supply companies, and the like included in its scope. When it comes to historical information on the brands of old knives, razors, or anything else that goes ‘cut,’ Goins’ Encyclopedia is far and away the best single resource.
Superficially, the new book reminds one a lot of the old Encyclopedia. The title is the same, and the cover photo is somewhat similar. The two are roughly the same size. Can the new book be much different? You bet it can!
More efficient use of the space available has been achieved by the removal of the section on safety razors, the incorporation of the bowie knife marking information into the rest of the book, and a slight reduction in typeface size. The only group that should mourn these changes are the safety razor and safety razor blade collectors, for everyone else makes out like a bandit. This space conservation has allowed the authors to pack well over a thousand new markings into the book, countless expanded histories, loads of new photos, and a couple of new features.
It’s impossible to give you an accurate idea of the number of new entries, but the impression it leaves is that firms from all areas and periods have been added to the new book. It seems in particular that a tremendous number of small New York, Pennsylvania, and New England firms have been discovered, as well as a large number of English cutleries. The chances of owning a knife ‘not listed in Goins’ have been greatly reduced!
Perhaps the most appreciated area of the new book will be the information added to already-existing listings. Some of the most important are the updated entries for original Barlow markings, Camillus, Case-related firms, Imperial, Queen, Remington, Robeson, and Russell, all of which contain important new information. In particular, the new, detailed information on Camillus markings should have an immediate impact on the value of these knives on the collector market. As an added bonus, a Coca-Cola section pictures over 50 knives, both authentic and reproduction (and so labeled).
As we have come to expect, the book is illustrated throughout with company trademarks, but with an extremely important new twist: each is listed with the date the mark was registered, effectively providing the earliest date an item bearing that logo could have been made. This information will undoubtedly prove very useful to all interested in dating an older item. In addition, a large number of previously unpictured knives and razors are shown, as well as a great assortment of postcards, box labels, ads, patent drawings, and the like.
For those who have looked up a marking in the previous edition only to find that nothing was yet known about it, Goins has utilized his more than three decades of experience in assigning an approximate date to these unknowns based on the examples observed. Thoughtfully, these ‘approximate’ dates have been designated with the prefix “g.” rather than “c.” indicating a “guesstimate.” Those of us less experienced than John will undoubtedly find this information very useful – in other words, practically everyone!
In short, the new Goins’ Encyclopedia is far and away the best source of information ever published on old cutlery firms and markings. If you collect, deal in, research, or just enjoy the history behind old knives, razors and other edged collectables, this book is an absolute must-have resource.
Note: John Goins passed away in December, 2003. This second edition of Goins Encyclopedia will be the last. All of the remaining stock is in our warehouse — when they’re gone, they’re gone.
John Ward (verified owner) –
Yes, it has a lot of information. Very thankful that they reprinted such a book. For the price it is acceptable. But, the images of actual knives are very poor. Black and white pictures
appear to have been photo copied from pages in another book.
This 2008 revision and reprint reduces text about about two thirds in size from the 1986 printing . Allows for more info per page, probably costs less but is not as beneficial to the user. Very limited information on the variations of Western brand knife tang stamps.