WWII Floyd Nichols Fighting Knife with Sheath
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $3,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:11)
Arms & Militaria, Science & Technology
Gary Piattoni, Inc.
GUEST: It belonged to my dad, and he was raised in David City, Nebraska. And there was a sculptor/blacksmith that made these knives, along with two other blacksmiths, and they gave them to all the residents of the county that were drafted into the war during World War II.
APPRAISER: It was actually made by a man named Floyd Nichols, and his name appears on the knife. It says "Nichols," just simply his last name, and it says, as you said, "David City," and then Nebraska abbreviated. Floyd Nichols was a World War I veteran, and he was a welder, later sculptor, who kind of answered the call for the country's need for knives during the Second World War. When the war first broke out, there really weren't enough knives for every soldier that went into service, and the government asked for people to donate knives. A lot of people donated hunting knives and whatever knives they had in their closets. There were a number of folks that actually made their own, and there's a little bit of controversy over this because they were using war materials, and the government really would rather make their own knives versus other people making knives using these materials, but it wasn't so frowned upon that it was stopped. And folks like Floyd Nichols, among others, made a lot of these custom knives for soldiers going off to war. And Floyd was from Nebraska, so he did make knives for all the folks in his county. And the great thing about these knives, why collectors like them is because first of all, they're beautiful-- it's got an elegant handle, elegant blade-- and then he also put your father's name with his service number here on the cross guard. He also had a buddy who was a saddle maker-- his name was Alfred Cornish-- who helped make these wonderful sheaths that they were in. Nicely tooled leather, also with your father's name and service number, and then Cornish signed it up at the top here. Earlier knives by Nichols sometimes even had a little buffalo nickel in it because his last name was Nichols. The blade would be steel and the handle would be brass or bronze, and it often had a lanyard ring, would have held a leather strap so it could have been attached to the hand. It was thought that about 1,200 or so of these were made in total. The reason people like knives like this is because it really represents the real one-on-one independence the soldier would have for self-defense. It's really...the last resort would be close-combat fighting, and so it has a real symbolic meaning to soldiers and collectors. Now, there are a lot of, as I said, government-made knives and knives made by other folks. This is really at the highest level of knife workmanship. So today, on the market, it could easily be, at a show or retail gallery, somewhere in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
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