"Marca Oro" -- 1940s? switchblade

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button_man
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"Marca Oro" -- 1940s? switchblade

Post by button_man »

I've had some decent luck at the local flea market in the past couple of weekends..... on May 15th, I bought a "Hammer" brand bo/bc (7 5/16" as is) with slanted candy-stripes for $40. The point has been broken off (maybe 1/8" or so).... the blade has some wobble.... and the channel is crusty.... but it's still a hard knife to find and I think that it was a fair trade. It will do until I find a better one.

Of more interest is the picklock that I bought today: the ricasso is marked "Marca Oro" and I don't see it listed in 'Switchblades of Italy' nor can I find any info online. OAL is just under 10 3/4" and it would be a bit longer if somebody had not apparently broke the tip off this one also, and then did a so-so job of re-shaping the point. That aside, it's pretty impressive -- a nice 'cameo' style horn scale on front, with an attractive white oval surrounded by a dark border; flat nickel-silver guards with brass linings; an unusual safety slot with a hole at the bottom; a scallop cut-out on the ricasso for the sear pin to slide up; strong spring; no blade peek; nice clean channel..... it seemed like a steal at $50.

Any information on the "Marca Oro" would be greatly appreciated ~ !
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Marca_Oro__1183_c__ricasso.jpg (476.7 KiB) Viewed 1379 times
Marca_Oro__1180_c__point.jpg
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Hammer_Marca__1164_c.jpg
Hammer_Marca__1164_c.jpg (861.08 KiB) Viewed 1379 times
Hammer__1168_c__ricasso.jpg
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Hammer__1168_c_OBV__open.jpg
Hammer__1168_c_OBV__open.jpg (328.3 KiB) Viewed 1379 times
Last edited by button_man on Tue Jul 06, 2021 2:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by Bill DeShivs »

While I can't tell you about the stamp, you got an absolute steal at $50. I'm sure you will get some offers on it.
It's an early 1950s flat guard pick lock.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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whippersnapper
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by whippersnapper »

You did great on both but especially the picklock.
button_man
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by button_man »

Thanks guys.... I have to work hard to keep them city slickers from hornswoggling a humble country fella like myself......

I apparently need to state that I have no plans to sell the knife at this point.... I never sell anything until I am 100% sure of exactly what I have; and right now I don't have any idea. But SOMEBODY knows, because I have just received a staggering offer on the knife. (four figures) Apparently it's even better than I thought, and then some.

Google's translate program has interpreted the name as "Gold Brand" in SPANISH -- NOT Italian! Perhaps made in Italy for sale in Spain?

I will add information as soon as I learn anything.... right now, people are throwing money at me but are not divulging whatever they know.
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whippersnapper
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by whippersnapper »

Great to see somebody find a treasure once in awhile at a flea market or garage sale.

Around me in Michigan, I rarely see "any" knives of any kind with carbon steel blades. Not any deals anyway, and rarely see any vintage auto knives.
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JulesVane
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by JulesVane »

Great find on the picklock for sure! Is that a one-piece spring?
Image

"By accepting you as you are, I do not necessarily abandon all hope of your improving"- My Wife (1963-Present)
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by Bill DeShivs »

I'm sure it's a dovetailed spring. It's just dirty inside.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Factory authorized repairs for:
Latama, Mauro Mario, LePre, Colonial, Kabar, Flylock, Schrade Cut Co., Presto, Press Button, Hubertus, Grafrath, Kuno Ritter knives.
button_man
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by button_man »

I don't know all of the technical stuff yet, and I don't know how to recognize a dovetailed spring.
I'll try to swab out the channel and post some more photos.

In the meantime, I am now not so sure that the point was ever broken off. The more I look at it, the more it seems to me that the long-ago owner decided that the existing point simply wasn't pointy enough -- so they ground the flat top of the end down into a chisel shape, and then brought up the bottom to match it. I can't know for sure, of course.... but it really looks like that. Clearly somebody was seriously Open For Business.
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Chris51P
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by Chris51P »

That's a very nice find indeed. Most Excellent on the Marca Oro. I'd like to know where your flea market is. The mid-TN area doesn't have crap for Gun and Knife Shows or flea markets.
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by Bill DeShivs »

There are people who troll these forums looking for deals on rare knives.
Be very careful.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
http://www.billdeshivs.com
Factory authorized repairs for:
Latama, Mauro Mario, LePre, Colonial, Kabar, Flylock, Schrade Cut Co., Presto, Press Button, Hubertus, Grafrath, Kuno Ritter knives.
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Peiper
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by Peiper »

Good find. Thanks for sharing. I really like the Marca Oro. Marca Oro is an Italian and I think it translates to "Gold Brand" in English.
button_man
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by button_man »

Thanks to everyone for the admiring comments.... I'm constantly amazed at the terrific knives on display here; and sometimes have felt discouraged because it seems like all the great stuff is being scooped up by other folks with more access, while I putter around in the backwaters. I guess I don't have too much to gripe about after a score like this.

Here are a couple photos of the spring base inside the blade channel. It's difficult to get a good photo but hopefully this will clarify things somewhat.
I've also included a photo of the honey horn on the reverse side. Photos don't do justice to the scales on this knife; they are really extremely nice.
The honey scale seems to have a bit of translucence to it, and practically glows.

Bill, thanks for the warning - - - I won't be making any decisions until I know for sure what I've got. I can just picture myself selling too early, and then somebody comes up with a photo of an Italian diplomat presenting this knife to Francisco Franco.....

Right now I have a request in to the Lame d'autore magazine that was mentioned in another thread. I'll post information if / when I find out anything.

----------------
Attachments
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spring_base__1196c.jpg (168.51 KiB) Viewed 1049 times
Marca_Oro__1210c__R_open.jpg
Marca_Oro__1210c__R_open.jpg (268.47 KiB) Viewed 1049 times
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jim d,
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by jim d, »

Button_man,

I know I'm a bit late to respond here. You are certainly correct with your comment "don't have too much to gripe about after a score like this". What a great find and best of luck with whatever you decide to do with it.

Jim
button_man
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by button_man »

This update is characterized more by the absence of additional information than by supplanting what we already know.... which is not much.

I asked a friend to post photos of the 'Marca Oro' on various knife sites to which he belongs. He did so; and nobody that responded had anything meaningful to offer. According to him, a couple folks chimed in with info from THIS thread, because it's the only thing that turns up on a web search. But there was no indication that anyone had ever seen a knife with the 'Marca Oro' brand. Apparently a couple people scoffed at the high offers, and thought that I was lying about it. Attached is a screen-shot of one offer, with the sender's info redacted.

A couple aspects of the knife which did not occur to me the day that I originally posted, but which now seem intriguing:

First, the horn scales increase in thickness from front to back. Look at the very first photo that I posted. Is this common on old picklocks?

Second, the guard tips point slightly downwards. The photos of old picklocks in "Switchblades of Italy" show guard tips that either point level,
or that point slightly upwards. I'm not sure whether this is significant; but it may eventually provide a clue in narrowing down the maker of the knife.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inquiries to potential information sources have been met with a deafening silence:


May 25 --- Isomedia.it --- NO RESPONSE (Italian knife magazine)

May 26 --- Turner Publishing --- NO RESPONSE ("Switchblades of Italy" publisher)

May 26 --- museocoltellerie --- NO RESPONSE (Italian knife museum)

June 3 --- cuchilleriaalbacete.com --- NO RESPONSE (Spanish knife company)

For now, I am at a dead end. If anyone personally knows any of the authors of "Switchblades of Italy",
could you possibly reach out and inquire about the 'Marca Oro' ? I simply don't know what else to do at this point.

As always, any suggestions on how to learn more about this apparent "Unicorn" would be vastly appreciated ~ !
Attachments
1500_offer_cc.jpg
1500_offer_cc.jpg (56.8 KiB) Viewed 601 times
button_man
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Re: "Marca Oro" -- 1950s switchblade

Post by button_man »

Oh, I forgot to mention this..... my knife guy suggested a possible reason for the mysterious hole at the terminus of the safety: he said that while the slide channel was being cut, the horn may have started to crack; and the hole was drilled as a "firewall" to prevent further cracking. Makes sense.
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