Help: Case Knife Quality Codes
The Blademaster uses the following general pocket knife grading and evaluation system:
  1. NEW - meaning never sharpened.
  2. USED - A sharpened knife, yet does not appear visually to be worn.
  3. WORN - the wear in the blades and/or handles is substantial and easily visible in a picture.
  4. BROKE - Something bad happened, and the knife has a busted handle or blade.

The Blademaster has set up sub groups within the 4 major categories. For example: What about the knife that has never been sharpened or carried, but got a couple of age spots or a pin crack? It's not really mint, yet it has never been carried or sharpened. Using the Blademaster's system this is easy. It's a 1- (a one minus). New, never sharpened, but with minor flaws.

Every price shown by the Blademaster should have a quality code next to it. This could be like 2- or 3 or 2+, meaning respectively, used knife close to worn (2-); a worn knife (3), or a very lightly used knife-sharpened once or twice, few spots (2+).

Here are some more examples:

Knife Quality CodeCharacteristicsExample
NEWNever Sharpened 
1+New in the box
1New, no box. Most knives prior to the 1970's did not come in an individual box.One
1-New with a spot or two or a pin crack 
1CRestored to original appearance 
USEDSharpened, but with full appearing blades. 
2+Full looking Blades, original finish, some spots, handle good. The sample knife has very light sharpening marks.
2Full looking blades, more spotting, more patina, handle good. Blades open and close correctly. Spotting may be thru out, but deep pitting is not evident.
2-Hard to tell visually if blades are full or not. Increased corrosion. Note that the pen appears a little misshapen in the middle of the blade in the sample. Blades still open and close correctly. May have corrosion and some shallow pitting. If you ask yourself are these blades worn or not? Then it is probably a 2-.
WORNDeformed Blades, visible handle wear, blades may be slow. 
3+Blades and handles show minor loss, and the loss is clearly recognizable visually.
3Blades and handles show substantial loss and wear. Blade may be short but has been reshaped.
3-Blades and handles very worn, but knife is still a functioning tool.
BROKEBlades or handle broken, missing 
4Some of the old knives in 4 condition will sell for a surprising amount of money!
NOTE: This is a guide. The determination of condition is not subject to absolute rules. And there are pocket knives where this easy system of NEW, USED, WORN and BROKE is not adequate. You have probably seen a knife with handles worn almost smooth (a category 3) that also has blades that appear to have been minimally sharpened (category 2). In this situation, the Blademaster like Solomon before him, splits the baby and takes an average--making this example knife either a 2- or 3+ depending on the overall condition.