Gary Cunningham's

Bayonet Point's

Updated May 6, 2004

Bayonet Points #19 - May, 2004

 

In my book, I listed the production quantities of the Model 1905 Bayonet by Fiscal Year as given in the Reports of the Principal Operations of the Springfield Armory. These reports can now most easily be accessed in Col. William Brophy's book, Arsenal of Freedom, The Springfield Armory 1890-1948.

When I put together the Production Data list, I was using another source to a great extent, and it turns out that my numbers are somewhat off according to Brophy. Below is a new table based on the Brophy information.

The list of lowest and highest observed serial numbers are based to a great extent on the table in Col. Brophy's book The Springfield 1903 Rifles. I have also kept a small database on serial numbers, many from sales on eBay, and on the whole they agree with that of the Colonel. The numbers in the table below are rounded off, but suggest a range that might be found with each year's date.

 

Fiscal Year

Finished and Turned into Store

Cumulative Total

Blade Date

Lowest Serial Number

Highest Serial Number

Number

With

Date

1906

2100

2100

1906

1

190,500

190,500

1907

154,467

156,567

1907

190,500

240,000

49,500

1908

141,818

298,385

1908

240,000

355,000

115,000

1909

94,542

392,927

1909

355,000

432,000

77,000

1910

42,989

435,916

1910

432,000

475,000

43,000

1911

46,207

482,123

1911

475,000

510,000

35,000

1912

35,175

517,298

1912

510,000

550,000

40,000

1913

40,609

557,907

1913

550,000

585,000

35,000

1914

31,639

589,546

1914

585,000

608,000

23,000

1915

23,309

612,855

1915

608,000

633,000

25,000

1916

15,649

628,504

1916

633,000

653,000

20,000

1917

55,198

683,702

1917

653,000

765,000

112,000

1918

134,834

818,536

1918

765,000

1,050,000

285,000

1919

191,902

1,010,438

1919

1,050,000

1,125,000

75,000

1920

72,134

1,082,572

1920

1,125,000

1,172,000

47,000

1921

28,704

1,111,276

1921

1,172,000

1,192,000

20,000

1922

15,110

1,126,386

1922

1,192,000

1,196,000

4,000

 

At the beginning of production, there was a "catch up" time while the rifles were being modified and fitted for the bayonet. It appears that there was a lot of blades made and dated that were not finished and turned into store for a year or so - the philosophy was probably still somewhat based on the old system that the rifle and bayonet were a "unit".

By Fiscal 1908 the cumulative total of bayonets finished and turned into stores falls reasonably well into the serial number range, as would be expected. This continues until Fiscal 1919 when suddenly the lowest observed serial number is higher than the cumulative total of bayonets made by about 40,000.

Reading Brophy a little more carefully, we discover that in Fiscal 1918 (July 1, 1917 to June 30, 1918) there are listed under Parts for Bayonets, Model of 1905 50 Blades and 46,000 Blades with Guards, as well as thousands of the other parts of the bayonet. These were probably made as spare parts, not turned into stores and counted as finished bayonets, but would have been marked and serial numbered.

Fiscal 1920 maintains the circa 40,000 gap between the cumulative total and the lowest serial number, but in Fiscal 1921 this jumps again to a difference of slightly more than 60,000. Brophy does not show the complete breakdown of all parts in any year other than FY 1918, but it may be that another 20,000 spare blades or blades with guards were made in FY 1920. By the end of production in 1922, the highest known serial number is about 70,000 numbers higher than the cumulative total shown as Manufactured. Some serial numbers were probably "spoiled" during the final finishing operations or did not pass final inspection, but certainly not 70,000, so it must be assumed that spares were made, possibly even throughout the entire production period. Does anyone have any other information that would make some sense out of the 70,000 missing bayonets?

Brophy, in The Springfield 1903 Rifles, also provided a chart with the estimated first serial number struck at the beginning of each calendar year. Note that in most years, after they finally caught up in 1909, the numbers agree fairly well until 1920 when bayonet production falls well behind that of the rifles. Again, the bayonet numbers are rounded off, and are not to be taken as exact numbers.

 

Calendar Year

First Serial Number Struck in the Calendar Year

First Bayonet Serial Number Observed Dated that Year

1907

269,541

190,500

1908

337,862

240,000

1909

358,085

355,000

1910

398,276

432,000

1911

456,376

475,000

1912

502,046

510,000

1913

531,521

550,000

1914

570,561

585,000

1915

590,601

608,000

1916

620,121

633,000

1917

632,826

653,000

1918

761,758

765,000

1919

1,055,092

1,050,000

1920

1,162,501

1,125,000

1921

1,211,300

1,172,000

1922

1,239,641

1,192,000

 

 

The K-M8A1 Scabbard

Richard Hamer, whom I mentioned last month was kind enough to let me know that he had some interesting M8A1 scabbards for sale, again contacted me to let me know that he had some Korean M8A1 scabbards in the original packaging.

Although I am not particularly interested in the foreign made copies of the US bayonets and scabbards, I will add them to my reference collection when the price is right. His was, so I ordered a pair of them (they come two to a package).

When they came, I unwrapped one and kept the other in the plastic wrap for future reference. They came with a small paper label (unfortunately in Korean). Possibly Bill Porter may be able to tell us what it means. However, I did note that the symbol on the paper matched that on the back of the scabbard throat, and also found on some of the K-M4 and I believe the K-M5 bayonets.

 

19-KM8A1.jpeg (182073 bytes)

 

The K-M8A1 scabbard. A well made copy of the US M8A1, probably made for Korean Military use. Note the Winged Anchor with a Star mark on the packing slip, the back of the scabbard throat, and the underside of a K-M4 bayonet. Almost certainly a Korean military mark - does anyone know what it means?

 

What is My Bayonet Worth?

Although I mentioned in my first article that I don't appraise bayonets, I still get many emails wanting to know what something is worth, and the question appears constantly on the various forums dealing with military blades.

It is very difficult to place a value on an item without seeing it. Even with good photos, there is no substitute for an actual hands-on inspection to the appraisal process. The normal description that I receive is something like "I have an M1 bayonet that is in pretty good shape for its age. The grips are good with a couple of small chips and some scratches. The blade still has a lot of its finish and the edge has only a few small nicks. What is a fair price?" If I am in the wrong mood I will sometimes answer that it is worth between 10 and 100 dollars, but normally I just reply that I don't attempt to place a value on such items.

There are three methods that I use to try to keep myself abreast of prices for my own use, and I might suggest these to others who are interested.

  1. I go to a gun/military show now and then, and usually browse the bayonets fairly carefully. Although I seldom actually write something down, I make mental notes as to asking prices.
  2. There are several dealers on line that sell bayonets and military knives. I make it a point to include them in my favorites folder and check them out every month or so.
  3. Although many people hate eBay, it still is an excellent reference for what something is actually selling for. I have searches set up for Sold Items for most of the US bayonets, and I check it out every week. It must be remembered that eBay is essentially "top dollar" for most items, although it appears that some sellers are now assuming that if it sold for X dollars on eBay, that is what they can get for it at the Podunk Flea Market and Gun Show.

Frank sells a Price Guide titled U.S. Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes that is very useful for establishing a base price, and I refer to my copy often. Such books are usually out of date quickly, but at least are useful for establishing a comparative value between different items.

Unfortunately most of those who ask what something is worth want a quick answer, and don't want to do any work themselves. Often I feel that they are just trying to see if they can make a buck on something they have seen, rather than planning to buy it for themselves.

 

Experts Beware

 

I have a friend in the antiques business, who is often called upon to "make an offer" on something. People will bring items into his shop, or call him to stop by their home or a house they have inherited. In most cases they really don't know what they have, or if it is of any value, so they turn to the "Expert" to give them a price.

All well and good, except they often have a preconceived notion about what the items are and what they are worth. Possibly a friend or neighbor has said "I saw one of those on Antiques Roadshow and it is worth a lot of money!" - even though the one on the Roadshow was a genuine Tiffany leaded glass lampshade and the one they have is a 1920s knockoff worth maybe 10% of the Tiffany. So the dealer makes an honest offer and is promptly branded a crook or worse.

Some fairly recent court cases have made "making an offer" a little more difficult for someone like myself who can be branded an Expert. If I make an offer to buy a bayonet, and that offer is well below what it is really worth, I can be charged with a criminal offense. Since I am an "expert" and can be presumed to know what a fair market price would be, if I offer a much lower price I am "using my knowledge" to perpetrate a swindle. Just how much below the market price is still a matter of opinion, as of course a dealer has to be allowed to cover expenses and make a "fair and reasonable" profit.

According to general usage, a fair market price is that which is agreed on by a willing seller and a willing buyer, both in possession of the facts about the merchandise. This is where the lawsuits have come in, stating that the expert is taking advantage of his specialized knowledge to take an unfair advantage of the seller. It is worse if the buyer misrepresents the item of course, such as showing the seller a new Camillus ad for the M3 knife to show him what the one the Grandpa brought back from WW2 is really worth.

It is OK if I buy at a seller's price. If I go to a flea market and see a Model 1905 Bayonet with the M1905 scabbard in new condition on a table for $10, it is perfectly legal for me to pay the money and walk away as the seller set a price and all I did was to recognize it as a bargain. But if it is on the table without a price, and the seller says "make me an offer" and I offer $10 I could be prosecuted. Not likely to happen of course, but something to keep in mind.

I am working on a more detailed article along the lines of those I have done on the M4 bayonet and M1917, but health problems and the nice weather have slowed me down. Hope to have it ready in another month or two.

E-mail me at bayonetman@suddenlink.net

To purchase a signed copy of Gary's awesome book, American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century click here American Bayonets Book All of the above reports referred to and the books are available on our Books For Sale  and or Documents page.

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