Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Colonel Coon Knives were made by Adrain A. Harris, Mr. Harris started making fixed blade knives as a hobby in the 60's, in 1976 he became the only authorized field repairman in the U.S. for Schrade, a few months later he became the only authorized repairman for Kissing Crane and J.A. Henckels in the United States, in 1978 he founded Tennessee Knife Works Inc. in his home town of Columbia, Tenn. and began making Colonel Coon Knives the old style a true bench made or handmade pocket knife. In 1988 he sold his manufacturing processes to W.R Case & Sons and retired.
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jlholdings
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm

Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by jlholdings » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:47 pm

I have decided to write this thread in order to inform collectors of some of my findings as a researcher and collector. As a lifetime collector of Case XX knives and Colonel Coon knives, I have always been interested in the urban legend of the elusive Colonel Coon Trapper. What I really mean is, unless you are a cutlery insider who truly has knowledge, or a former employee of Tennessee Knife Works, there have been no books written on how to identify a Colonel Coon Case Trapper. They have always intrigued me, but I did not know anyone who could claim to have one or know how to identify them by any specialized markings.

In order to identify a Colonel Coon Case Trapper, you must first know a little bit about the creator, Adrian Harris. Mr. Harris was an amazing innovator. He developed so many processes and ideas that are alive and well in the cutlery industry today. He IS the father of the commemorative knife. He made knives through Tennessee Knife Works from 1978 to 1988. He developed a special etching process that was far superior to anything else at the time. He created a hinged box that is used in so many knives even today. He created his own dyes and handles. He was so good at what he did, that he was bought out by Case and retired. Quite simply put, he made some of the rarest and most beautiful hand made knives created during this time period. Today his knives are highly sought after and command high premiums.

Creating pocket knives for a large company is a costly process. For Case XX, any time they want a new knife, they need to set up the tooling and process for that for that particular creation. For Case, it would have been very costly then for them to produce less than a few hundred pieces. Mr. Harris filled the gap. He made specialized knives for knife clubs and other organizations. He made very limited production runs for some organizations. One thing was for certain though. The quality of his knives won him return customers. Most clubs would order year after year from him.

It has been stated that in the beginning, Mr. Harris would mark some of his knives to make them identifiable. Colonel Coon Case Trappers are no exception. This marking has often been misunderstood by many people. I have heard it described in many ways over the years by collectors. The mark is secretive. It hides right under your nose and is often shrugged off and mistaken for a Case marking, but it is truly all original Coon. Have a look for yourself and see if you can spot it. Just like an ol' Coon, it has hidden under our noses all these years...
Attachments
1982 Sho Me Cutlery Club Adrian Harris Proto 2008 pic front1.jpg
1982 Sho Me Cutlery Club Adrian Harris Proto 2008 pic front1.jpg (24.18 KiB) Viewed 2654 times
1982 Sho Me Cutlery Club Adrian Harris Proto 2008 pic shield2.jpg
1982 Sho Me Cutlery Club Adrian Harris Proto 2008 pic shield2.jpg (25 KiB) Viewed 2654 times
1982 Sho Me Cutlery Club Adrian Harris Proto front 2015 pic2.jpg

robinetn
Posts: 1440
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:30 pm
Location: North East Tennessee

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by robinetn » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:18 pm

Are you saying that he actually made these knives , or just etched Case knives , installed the club emblem , then stamped his circled "c" on the tang ?

Bob

jlholdings
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by jlholdings » Tue Jun 14, 2016 4:45 pm

This particular knife is a custom Colonel Coon prototype that was produced for the Show Me Cutlery Club. This has been verified by Tonya Hinch and the Colonel himself. Adrian Harris is known for making his own dyes and handle scales, making handle shields (notice the mule that resembles the Mule Day Knives), and deep beautiful etching.

The most interesting observation of all though is the small "c within a C". This is the marking that appears on early club knives made from the late 70's through 80's. I assert that this marking is a genuine Colonel Coon tang stamping. It appears on many early club knives. For many clubs, it will appear on the first few knives and then disappear on later club knives. Here are some other examples...
Attachments
1981 Bold City Knife Club Col Coon Case Trapper front1.jpg
1981 Bold City Knife Club Col Coon Case Trapper back2.jpg
1982 Alabama Gun Collectors Adrian Harris Case Trapper front2.jpg
1982 Alabama Gun Collectors Adrian Harris Case Trapper tangs4.jpg
1982 Alabama Gun Collectors Adrian Harris Case Trapper back5.jpg

jlholdings
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by jlholdings » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:37 pm

The stag knife was produced for the 1981 year Bold City Knife Club. I would guess that this knife was made for them because this knife resembles the 1979 NKCA knife. I do know from what I have read that Mr. Harris was an instrumental member of the NKCA.

The AGCA knife is also marked with the "c within a C" mark.

I'll also add another beauty made for the Trapper Knife Collectors...
Attachments
1982 CC Case Trapper Knife Collectors Pearl front1.jpg
1982 CC Case Trapper Knife Collectors Pearl front tangs3.jpg
1982 CC Case Trapper Knife Collectors Pearl back2.jpg

jlholdings
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by jlholdings » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:49 pm

Post your Colonel Coon Case Trappers for all to see!!!

jlholdings
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:58 pm

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by jlholdings » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:40 pm

The previous knife had a synthetic pearl handle. Notice the "c within a C" marking on all of these knives. Here is another made for the Permian Basin Knife Club in 1985. Notice the beautiful etch that Colonel Coon became famous for. Also notice the box, which is a style that was utilized by Tennessee Knife Works. These knives are beautiful works of art created by a man ahead of his time in the industry...
Attachments
1985 Permian Basin Knife Club New Grind CC Trapper front1.jpg
1985 Permian Basin Knife Club New Grind CC Trapper etch4.jpg
1985 Permian Basin Knife Club New Grind CC Trapper back tang7.jpg

Cutmyself
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:43 am
Location: Central Illinois

Re: Colonel Coon Case Trappers

Post by Cutmyself » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:15 pm

Great post, thanks for the information!

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