The view out of the front of an LCT as it drops its precious load of men at Omaha Beach on D-Day. For many young men this was their last view of life. This Memorial Day please remember those who have served, fought and died for the freedoms we so precariously hold onto right now.
It seems like every so often I have someone compelled to email me to "straighten me out" about some error in my thinking. Happened again about a week ago. I was excited to see I had an email from a friend and fellow collector. It came from this website contact page. As I opened it and started to read I was really disappointed. Obviously the man did not know who he was addressing, that we had communicated for years, and that I had bought some pretty expensive knives from him. The beauty and the curse of such communications is the anonymity it provides. You can be blunt, rude, chastising, just as easy as you can be friendly. I would rate this recent email as blunt. If you have read anything I have written you know my dislike of experts. You also know I have stated that every time I think I know the answer to a question on F-S knives another anomaly comes out of the woodwork. Here is the ricasso of a knife purchased from a seller in Australia.
This email started out like many others: "Since you seem to be an expert", or "you ought to know better", or how about...."I cannot believe you really think these knives are legitimate", etc, etc. Then follows: "I hate to be the one to tell you that your (Pick anyone of my bayonet conversions) is a fake but someone has to tell you the difference between reality and your fantasy world". I suppose I should feel honored that such friendly advice is offered so freely. It is so rewarding to have someone advise me that the $2,500 knife he is talking about is a fake. Of course this news is always followed by their validation of: "I have been collecting these knives for 30 or 40 years." This is one way of saying: "I know better than you." I bought my first F-S in 1978 and you know what, I am still finding unique knives and prototypes, which according to these other people, are simply more fakes.
Smooth Handled Fatman knife. Never existed according to the experts.
When asked how many of these fakes have they personally inspected the answer is usually none, or I get no reply. How do you know they are fakes?? No answer or because so and so said they are. This is similar to the expert's comments on what Shanghai daggers are legitimate, or not. How many have they handled? NONE. I have actually handled FIVE and I have even been permitted to take them apart. So I know how they are constructed, how they were converted from 1888 and 1903 bayonets. SO please do not tell me they cannot be made or that the bayonets cannot be converted. The ones I actually handled were made during the 1930s when Fairbairn, Sykes, Yeaton, Moore, etc. were stationed in Shanghai at the SMP. These are bonafide Shanghai daggers. Knives this rare sell for thousands of dollars. Take the price of a mint First Pattern, multiply it times 5, and you have an idea of how expensive they are. According to Wm.. Cassidy less than a dozen of the hi-grade daggers were made.
So I too have some small background in rare commando knives and WW-II conversions but I am not an expert and I am not going to email other people to straighten them out. I am happy to report the last person to contact me, and I, have restored a cordial relationship. The world of people sharing interest in these knives is small enough as it is. Even if you are an expert, it doesn't hurt to contact someone passively to share your knowledge. Make sure you are 100% right before you drop what you feel is a righteousness bomb on them. Now if they are obviously pedaling fakes for profit that is a different story altogether. Life is stressful enough, try to be kind. Stay safe and healthy during these days of lunacy. (And if your are interested I have a box of fakes to sell you!) JUST KIDDING.
A trinity of legitimate Yeaton Shanghai Daggers. The one on the right is soon to be mine by a trade.
You can find out more about me on the "Stories" pages. My hobbies have included training in Japanese martial arts, Kenjutsu, many forms of knife fighting, long range rifles and tactical firearms. I have written several self published books on muzzle-loading firearms, knife-fighting and gas engines and compressors. I am working diligently on my 400+ page F-S book.