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Old 03-18-2012, 02:17 AM
Buddy Thomason's Avatar
Buddy Thomason Buddy Thomason is offline
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Largest Scagel collection auctioned for big bucks!

Here are some thoughts and a few images related to the recently concluded auction of Dr. Jim Lucie's lifetime collection of William Wales Scagel knives, tools, other objects and memorabilia. Every item sold at or above the low end of estimated and many items sold for well over the top end of estimated. This auction was significant in the world of antique knives, prices for which have been flat over the past few years.

*Please note the actual realized prices include the sale price (what I've listed below) PLUS an 18% buyer's premium paid to the auction house!

1. Lot # 1258 is as wonderfully unique and functional as anything I've ever seen by Scagel - an all handmade muskrat trap line and companion finger knife to do the necessary chores. The forged elements in the chain are masterfully done and the little knife is out of this world, IMHO. Sold to a bidder on the floor for a whopping $11,500.


2. Lot # 1271 A corkscrew - simple, sturdy, beautifully organic. Gotta think that Scagel made a lot of these... but, where are they? Sold to a bidder on the floor for $3,750.


3. Lot # 1288 Crown stag folding knife - sold to a bidder on the floor for $18,500. That's right... eighteen thousand five hundred dollars. Speechless...


4 & 5. Lots # 1295 and 1269A, The set of 34 tools and the copper coffee pot are the kinds of things that really add depth to a collection. Ordinarily such things shouldn't be terribly expensive and indeed the coffee pot went for $3,000 to a bidder on the floor while the tool set went for $4,500, also to a bidder on the floor. To me these amounts represent "retail" price - so, not a great deal, and yet in the context of this auction overall, these were probably two of the better bargains.

On the high-end:

6. It was pretty amazing to see the bids climb to a high of $39,500 from an internet bidder, for one of the biggest and most desirable Scagel camp knives out there. After adding the auction buyer's premium of 18% the total came to $45,225!


7. Lot #1251 Scagel's personal belt knife - a real treasure, no doubt about it. Sold, to an internet bidder for $35,000.


8. Lot #1260 VL&A original box, totally mint condition highly desirable knife and one of the best and more valuable sheaths (Heiser-Denver, circa late 1920s) - sold to a bidder on the floor for $28,500. Worth every penny. This was an amazing find for Dr. Lucie, but it came late in his collecting run - so not a lot of time for appreciation. Still, how could anyone in his position resist. This is one of the most desirable Scagel knives extant. Mint counts for a whole lot in the world of antique knives - it could be argued that true mint condition trumps everything else.


Two surprises (for me, at least):

9. Lot # 1277 D-guard WWII era fighting knife. This purpose-built knife is a bit of an outlier. Scagel made it but it features little of his iconic style. One or two of the pyramidal bash bits are missing if I recall correctly. I love it, but $36,000 was a mountain of dough to drop on this one. I may be off base in my assessment because in truth, bidders with way more jingo than me felt differently.


10. Lot # 1255 Featured on the cover of Dr. Lucie's book, Scagel Handmade, and in quintessential Scagel style, this brow tine fighter easily tops the other examples I've seen - in terms of condition, proportions and overall flow. This one has that special something and was a perfect choice for the book cover. It should've sold for more. The lucky bidder on the floor paid $12,500. Not a screamin' good deal but again, in the context of this auction I imagine it was one of the better deals.


There were many other notables in the auction. It's all great stuff... carefully accumulated by him who knows the most and passed on to those who care the most.


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