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Nation's Attic 2024 Diving Into History

Rare AJ Morse Trigger Release Mechanical Dive Knife

The auction will start in __ days and __ hours

Start price: $500

Estimated price: $4,000 - $6,000

Buyer's premium: 20%

Sales Tax: On the lot's price and buyer's premium

The 1917 AJ Morse catalog features three different knives with one virtually known to collectors today – the "spring lock" mechanism knife. This intriguing design, arguably one of the rarest American diving knives ever made, was advertised for its ease of use: "much more easily withdrawn from the sheath than the screw pattern."So, why are these knives practically invisible to collectors? The answer likely lies in one of two possibilities:

 

  Cost factor: Integrating the mechanical locking feature into the handle might have made them too expensive for widespread adoption.

  Navy’s rejection: Perhaps the US Navy, a key customer for diving equipment, didn’t approve of the design, leading to its limited use by commercial divers.

While the reasons behind its rarity remain shrouded in mystery, a few of these exceptional knives have fortunately survived. This particular one is in outstanding condition!

 

The knife functions by pushing a trigger located on one edge of the flat brass handle. This trigger or push button then disengages a hook, allowing the knife to be removed from a flat brass sheath. The handle has two flathead screws that are part of the spring-loaded trigger mechanism. The design is simple, effective, and much quicker than threading the knife into a sheath. This efficiency may have also led divers to mistakenly think the blade was locked into the sheath, resulting in blades falling out and getting lost.

 

As shown in the photos, this example is in very nice condition. The trigger mechanism works correctly. There are no stamps or manufacturer names on the knife or sheath. The presence of a similar example in the 1917 AJ Morse catalog is the only indication of who made this special design. Overall the knife weighs 3 pounds 15 ounces. It has a unique visual appearance that sets it apart from all other American knives of the period. Without a doubt, this knife would be the key centerpiece of any collection.

 

International bidders are advised that some countries do not allow the importation of knives. Nations Attic is not responsible for shipping charges going or coming back if your country’s customs denies delivery. Rejected items can be consigned into a future sale as there are no refunds.

 

All items will be shipped with a signature required upon delivery and full insurance either via FedEx or the USPS Priority Mail. Worldwide shipping is available; however, no ocean freight will be offered on large items. DHL Express is an option for international shipments under 600 pounds via air. Payment via bank wire for customers outside the USA is required. A shipping quote prior to the auction can be provided by emailing your postal code. International bidders are advised that some countries do not allow the importation of knives. Nations Attic is not responsible for shipping charges going or coming back if your countries customs denies delivery. Rejected items can be consigned into a future sale as there are no refunds.