1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

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Gunsil
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1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby Gunsil » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:11 pm

Hi all, I have had this knife for many years, a Camillus 1949 MIL-K. When at the Camillus, NY show last month I talked to a gent there who told me there were only four of these known! Now mine makes five. Did he really know his stuff? I can hardly imagine these are so rare but one did sell on the bay in 2017 for over $1150.00!! I know a bit about these knives, have several mint Kingstons, etc, but I just don't know how well those guys in Camillus know their MIL-Ks or the true rarity of the 1949s. They are supposed to be the first Camillus made. The bail on this one is non-magnetic and looks like nickel silver to me. Any factual info on this year knife is appreciated.

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eveled
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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby eveled » Wed Jul 31, 2019 4:34 pm

::tu:: That’s cool. Looking forward to the responses. I just know they are rare. Didn’t know that rare.

I’m sure you’ve done searches on it. The internet consensus is less than 10 known. This includes some heavy hitters. Frank Trzaska, and Tom Williams.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby orvet » Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:16 pm

I suppose it depends on who you were talking to as to how well they know their stuff. Tom Williams knew the MIL-K knives very well, as did his partner whose name was Tom Ligget. If you were talking to Tom Ligget, I would think you got the straight scoop. Tom Williams passed away several years ago, but he and Tom Ligget were partners in a business repairing knives, and specializing in MIL-K knives.
Tom Williams used to handle the phone calls that came in looking for the newest release of the MIL-K knives for the new year. I remember him telling me 1949 was the very first year Camillus issued an MIL-K.

Aside from Tom Ligget I'm not sure who else would have information about the MIL-K, but I'm sure some of the people who worked at the factory would have a fairly good idea about some of the issue dates, depending on where they worked in the factory.
Of course anyone who wanted to do the research and talk to the local people there could probably learn a great deal about the MIL-K.
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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby orvet » Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:22 pm

I do recall Tom Williams saying there were very few known examples if the 1949 MIL-K. I don't recall an exact number.
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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby Gunsil » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:39 pm

Thanks Dale, the gent I was talking to was one of the Rockwell brothers who have the knife shop and museum in Camillus, NY. I believe the gent I talked to's brother was a long time Camillus employee. I figured they must know a lot but five known examples including mine just sounded too amazing too me.

Thanks eveled, I know Frank pretty well, I'll have to ask him how many he knows of. I guess this may be one of my best flea market finds albeit I got it over thirty years ago.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby eveled » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:07 pm

A good find? You found the holy grail.

Please let us know what Frank says.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby carrmillus » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:42 pm

.......that's really something!!......when I got discharged in early 1962, I laid mine up on the counter with all my equipment I was turning in and the supply sgt. said if you want to keep it, it's o. k., so I did and I still have it, it's stamped 1958!!.......... ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu:: .................

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby orvet » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:07 pm

Another good person to check with would be Mike Silvey. He has written a couple books on pocket knives of the US Military.

Which one of the Rockwell brothers did you speak with, was it Wallace Rockwell by chance?
I have traded with and purchased from Wallace Rockwell, he is very knowledgeable, a real straight-shooter and a nice guy!
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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby Gunsil » Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:01 pm

I don't know which I was talking to about the 1949. I did speak to both of them but was not introduced. A fellow from another table told me who they were and I should show them the nice old Camillus trapper I had with me. I e-mailed them and Frank this afternoon, have not heard back yet.

eveled, I don't know about holy grail, I was told I found that when I found my seven blade KA-BAR pocket knife at a flea and the same thing when I found my V-42. I think there are a lot of different grails for different people. My favorites are my mint rare pattern KA-BAR hunters. I am thrilled to have the 1949 though. I am also lucky not a lot of folks know about them because it was in a for sale case with some other MIL-Ks at the last show I did (Mystic, CT), and a guy asked me about it and I told him $150 and he put it down like it was radioactive. When the guys at the Camillus show told me what they thought the knife was worth (I didn't have it with me) I almost fell over.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby eveled » Thu Aug 01, 2019 12:35 am

::facepalm:: wow! You are lucky indeed. That guy had the deal of a lifetime and passed! Lol. Great story.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby RobesonsRme.com » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:01 pm

Dennis Ellingson told me long ago that there was a particular year marked MIL-K in the 40.'s after WWII, that was extremely scarce and hard to find.

Unfortunately, I cannot recall the year, but I suspect it was 1949.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby steve99f » Sat Aug 03, 2019 11:41 am

I'll bet you a donut that bail is monel Gene after reading the other thread about the utility knives. The color in your photo looks right but not a leadpipe cinch. I bump into monel occasionally in the work I do, usually heat exchanger tubing.
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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby Gunsil » Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:17 pm

Steve, I think it is nickel silver, has that light tarnish tint to it. The scales are magnetic so they must be stainless. I have not heard back from Frank yet, Wallace Rockwell did get back to me and he said he thinks there are likely a bunch more out there than the four or five his Camillus collector's group know of. I would think this too, but where are they? I can't tell if the blades are carbon or stainless but there is what appears to be a tiny amount of rust on the screwdriver/caplifter.

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby Gunsil » Wed Aug 07, 2019 2:44 pm

Well I heard from Frank Trzaska and he said he knows of a handful of 1949s in collections so he figures the known numbers must be in the dozens. He has two or three himself and describes them as hard to find but not rare. Still seems like a mighty few survivors remain, sadly he did not have factory production numbers. They sound pretty rare to me!

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Re: 1949 Camillus MIL-K knife

Postby eveled » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:43 am

Thanks for the update. I wonder what it takes to be rare in Franks eyes? Lol!


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