LUFTGRAV #38916 RB Numbered Luftwaffe Take-down Gravity Knife
This knife is the take-down variety. All of the external parts are blued. The throat assembly has the usual directional arrow. Once the release button is activated and the throat removed we see another directional on the area exposed. In addition to the arrow is the stamping “43”. This same number also appears on the butt plate of the throat assembly and the activator lever.
The grip is a pleasing walnut with fine grain. There are a couple of minor taps to this wood but the grips remain in basically good condition.
The marlin spike looks to have the original tip as well as a stickbird waffenamt numbered “5” at the corner.
The blade shows some spotting and is slightly gray, as well as having a minor amount of sharpening. In the main, however, it is not bad looking and the overall condition is good. The reverse ricasso is marked “RB NR./0/0561/0020”.
A good opportunity here to acquire a finely working period example showing wartime usage.
LUFTGRAV #38894C Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – F. & A. Helbig
Helbig Gravity Knives have a number of small design differences from those on the more commonly seen Weyersberg and SMF pieces. The throat is a slightly different shape as is the collar beneath it, being slightly more bulbous than typically encountered, and the hinged area of the marlin spike is a bit more rounded.
This example has fine, stainless steel components and the springs appear to still be strong. The marlin spike looks to have been re-pointed at one time but is not particularly short. There are no numbers stamped on the parts of this knife, also different from a typical example. It has the a stickbird waffentamt marked “5” on the hinged area.
The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets. These plates are in excellent condition throughout.
The blade of this knife is in extremely choice condition. It retains all of the original crossgrain and in in nearly mint condition. It is marked with the rarely seen trademark of the F. & A Helbig firm; pair of ellipses enclose the firm's name and location of “Steinbach KR”. Inside the ellipses is the words “Saeffer” and “Rostfrei”.
A very nice Gravity Knife here, with a very scare trademark for the type.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $1,395.00
LUFTGRAV #38933C Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – SMF
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife has excellent stainless steel components throughout. There is a small letter “Z” scratched on the throat, no doubt put there by the original owner. It is very light, though, a could be polished off if so desired.
The activator lever is marked “345”. The marlin spike retains the original tip and is marked “5” with a stickbird waffenamt. The springs feel nice and tight on this fine knife.
The grip plates are of the standard walnut. They show a little hand wear, but have no flaws and are in generally fine condition.
The blade is bright and retains much of the original crossgrain. There is some extremely minor sharpening on this blade but it is really not bad at all.
A very fine Luftwaffe Gravity Knife here.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $995.00
LUFTGRAV #37708 Takedown Gravity Knife with Army Markings
The activator lever is marked with a “0” stamping, as well as “1624”. Taking the throat piece off the same number, “1624”, is seen stamped on the bottom butt portion. This number is also stamped on the lower half of the knife visible when it is opened up. The throat has the usual directional arrows, a symbol also seen on the plate below the throat.
The matching blued marlin-spike retains the original tip. In the corner it is property marked “RV 0/0651/0019”. It is very interesting to note that on the reverse of the spike corner is the letter “S”. This letter is the marking used for Army property. Since this knife does not have a Luftwaffe waffenamt and instead has an Army property stamping I believe this knife would have been used by Army paratroopers. Kind of a rare thing here.
The blade of this example remains nice and bright and retains much of the original grain. There is evidence of some edge sharpening but it is not bad.
An excellent Gravity Knife here, with the added bonus of the Army stampings.
Near Mint. $1,395.00 (#092315)
LUFTGRAV #37706 Luftwaffe Gravity Knife – Malsch & Ambronn
This Gravity Knife is the first I can recall seeing from Malsch & Ambronn, and should really appeal to those of you who enjoy tracking down seldom seen makers. This example will make a great addition to your collection of rarities.
This piece should usage on the outside, but the nickel-plated parts are still in fine condition. I notice that there are no numbers on the activator lever, or any of the other components for that matter. It is also interesting to note that the spring on this example is constructed from a single piece of steel, as most of the others we see have two individual strips of spring steel. Quite interesting indeed for those who study the construction of these knives.
The marlin-spike is in fairly good condition, the corner being marked with a waffenamt. This mark is hard to see. It appears to be obscured by either grinding or tool marks; it is hard to say for sure. You really have to look closely to see this mark to begin with.
The grip plates are a dark color walnut with a nice, slim feel to them. They appear to be a bit thinner than those we see from Weyersberg and SMF.
The blade is still bright throughout but it does have some sharpening, but nothing too bad. We removed most of it from the obverse side, but didn't restore the reverse as to preserve the trademark. This mark is a bit vague from age but is unmistakable, in the form of a man working an old-fashioned water pump. The name of the town “Steinbach” appears below.
A very interesting Gravity Knife here that is still in good, collectible condition and with a rare maker that is bound to amaze your friends.
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife is made of all polished nickel parts and it is the non-takedown type. All of the nickel parts are in good condition throughout. The springs are nice and tight on both the marlin spike and blade. The activator is stamped with a number one and also, “54” underneath this number. The marlin spike has the usual stick bird waffen amt in the lower corner and the bird has a, “5” in his belly. The grip plates are a good oak solid wood and the reverse plate is in good condition throughout. The obverse plate has a gauge cut across the letter portion of the wood as well as a matching type cut across the upper area of the same grip. I do not know why this was done but a lot of things can happen during wartime and perhaps boredom.
The blade of this example works well and it is still bright. It also has quite a bit of crossgraining in the finish. Unfortunately, someone has done a sharpening job and the sharpening was not done too well as some of it has scored the blade itself. It is not bad though and this blade still rates at excellent to excellent plus. In fact, some of this could be taken out if somebody wanted to work with it. All in all though, a good original gravity knife.
Excellent Plus, Plus. $750.00
This Luftwaffe Gravity Knife appears to have been a nickel-plated version, but possibly, it was produced later in the war as the mounts are a steel base. The mounts are all in good condition, however, there is a light coating of rust that is noticeable on the throat area as well as on the back strap and some area around the marlinspike. It gives the gravity knife an unusual look, as the flush mount four rivets on each side of the throat area stand out against the dark background created by the toned metal base. The springs on both the activator lever and the marlinspike are strong and work nicely. The activator lever is marked “318”. The marlinspike appears to have the original tip and it is waffenamt in the corner.
The grip plates of this example are a fine toned oak and they are in perfect condition, showing very little wear. The blade of this example, on the obverse, is bright and in mint condition with full grain. The reverse of the blade also is still quite nice, although there are some sharpening scars that show about ¾ of the way down. Other than these scars, the reverse blade is still in fine condition also. This blade is etched with the SMF logo that features the seated king holding an upward pointing sword. Below the king are the firm’s initials, “SMF”, and the location town of “Solingen”. Below this is the German word for stainless steel, “Rostfrei”. A nice gravity knife here that with a little effort could have the finish brought up, but actually I kind of like it the way it is. The choice would be up to the next purchaser, as I’m quite sure this finish would clean up.
This maker mark for a Gravity Knife is extremely difficult to find. I have sold a lot of gravity knives over the years, and I have only had one F. & A. Helbig example in the past. If there is someone out there that is specializing in gravity knife types, this example should be of prime interest.
Holding the knife next to the Weyersberg and SMF entries, it is interesting to note that the mounts are of a slightly different shape. The throat is different, as is the activator lever and also the grip plates are of a flatter nature than the other types. These aspects all make for a unique item here. The mounts are all nickel plated type, and they are in good shape throughout. There are no number stampings anywhere on this gravity knife. The activator lever spring works well, as does the marlinspike spring. I note also that the marlinspike appears thicker than the types used by the other makers. This marlinspike is stamped on the corner with a waffenamt. The waffenamt is the standard stick bird with a "5" in his belly. The grip plates appear to be walnut, but as stated above, they are flatter in nature than the more curved types used by other producers. These grip plates are in excellent condition throughout, having no flaws or problems.
The blade of this piece unfortunately has some fairly good edge sharpening. The sharpening does go up slightly also into the blade surfaces. In the areas not scarred by the sharpening though, the blade is still factory bright and has all of its crossgraining. The maker mark is very lightly etched on the reverse ricasso, being a double oval. The ovals contain the firm's name "F & A Helbig" and their location below. About half of the maker mark has been worn off by the sharpening. Below the maker mark is the word for stainless steel "ROSTRFEI". An interesting example here, in good working order, and a very rarely seen maker.