John Ek HAMDEN CONN Model 6 fighting knife made circa 1945, SN 6R484. Rare American Historical Foundation 1986 Ek Knives 45th anniversary commemorative issue; only 100 serial-numbered fighters were made from original WW-II era blades.
Rare and desirable WW2 era production Model 6 Commando fighting knife was made by the famous John Ek in Hamden, Connecticut circa 1945. This Ek Knives Commando is one of the so-called “private purchase” fighting knives that were manufacturing for the American GIs by a number of knifemakers during the war. John Ek was probably one of the best-known makers of the time; his fighting knives were famously simple, yet very practical and reliable sidearms highly regarded by the men in the uniform (General Patton was one the more famous fans and carried one of Ek creations throughout the war). Not to mention, Ek Knives were selling to the active-duty personnel only and offered a life-time warranty to the original buyer – that is why every WW2 era knife was serial-numbered. By mid-war Ek’s knives were so popular with the troops that John could barely keep up with the demand. By 1944 he hired 3 helpers to run a full-time production making 6 different fighting knives’ models, 7 days a week, two shifts per day. The following is the link to Ek Commando Knives page – courtesy of Wikipedia.
This is a very interesting and rare Ek Knives 45th anniversary commemorative issue produced in 1986 by the American Historical Foundation using the original WW-II era blades purchased from the Ek family. The actual production was supervised by John Ek’s son; only 100 serial-numbered fighters were made (this specimen’s SN is 015). This circa 1945 production Model 6 Commando Combat is serial-numbered 6R484 on ricasso indicating that this Model 6 fighter was 18,484th knife made by John Ek. The blade is faintly stamped John Ek KNIFE / HAMDEN. CONN. on one side. Once the war ended these partially-finished blades got moved several times with Ek’s family since 1945; most were a bit rusty by the time this commemorative issue was made in 1986. The blade has been cleaned and blued to prevent further corrosion; these knives were finished with the same handle materials John used during the war. Contoured handle scales are cut from rock maple; the rivets are hot-poured lead, just like Ek’s WW2 era standard-issue. The only difference is the bronze double-guard: WW2 era Model 6 fighters had iron guards. The handle is solid; the guard has a tiny bit of a play. Finely contoured handle provides a very positive grip; the blade is razor-sharp still; the tip is intact. An extended rounded pommel serves as a practical skull crusher. The knife is about 12-1/4” / 31 cm overall; the blade is about 6-1/2″ / 16.5 cm; full-tang construction.
This type is illustrated on page 118 of the KNIVES OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY WORLD WAR II book by Michael W Silvey – a well-established expert and the author of a number of books on the subject of the US military edged weapons (see the page scans attached). Some of these 1986 commemorative knives were sold in presentation boxes with a letter from AHF, some without. Attached is a photo of the “premium” AHF display box with the description of this commemorative issue (the photo is an internet find; the box is not part of this lot). This specimen does not have a box, only the blade protector. This commemorative run was issued without a scabbard. Overall, this original WW2 era manufacture John Ek HAMDEN CONN Model 6 fighting knife is in 100% serviceable condition still – rare this nice. The knife has not been cleaned or tampered with in any way, it is in 100% original “as purchased” condition.
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