What knives have impressed you?


June 23, 2008, 02:02 AM
The question is just that. I was on a search for a good quality, yet affordable Karambit Folder. Of course if you run a search, the Emerson comes up the most, or some by Terani. Good knives, but more than I want to spend. These brands run from $150 to over $200. I wanted something under $100. I came across the Mantis MK line of Karambit Folders.

I had never heard of Mantis Knives before so was kind put off. Not many reviews exist so I was not able to really make an educated decision, but I pick up the MK-3 for around $70. Once I got, I was greatly impressed by the great feel in my hand. I was lightweight, built strong and sturdy, and really sharp. There was no loose wiggle in the blade, which I have found on many expensive reputable brands. I also quickly realized at how well this knife held an edge. I was pulling the knife through paper, cardboard and rope right and left. After all that, it still held a razor-like edge.

The only other knife that has surprised me was my SOG Mini X-Ray Vision that I will soon replace with a Mantis Chaos Folder. I will let you all know what I think of it after running it through the paces.

What knives have impressed you and why?

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June 23, 2008, 02:14 AM
By Mel Pardue www.melpardueknives.com
This Leaf spring auto has a damascus blade crafted from a two bar composite twist pattern steel, the top edge is false grind, (not sharpened). The bolsters are fluted single twist damascus , the rockers bar has two opposed faces carved in it , and it is of damascus steel. The scales are fluted center cut Kudu horn. The backstrap is fileworked and has a face carved in the rear. The liners are fileworked gold anodized titanium.

PRICE: $2400.
This right here IMO is the nicest knife out there. the kind you put a saftey deposit box when not in use.

June 23, 2008, 11:39 AM
The 2 knives I'm most impreesed with are not expensive. The first is the Buck 110 Lock back folder. I was really impressed with their manufacturing process I saw on the History channel.

The other knife is one I haven't purchased yet. It's the Kabar Hunter 6".


Looks to me like the perfect utility sheath knife and it's only $60.00!:)

The Tourist
June 23, 2008, 11:54 AM
Strider folders.

The knives look like Mick carried them around in his pocket for a week before shipping. In fact, when I inspected the portion of the liner lock that actually closes bethind the blade, I thought it had rusted. Closer examination showed that it was heat scorching from bending. Titanium doesn't rust.

Now why would a guy want a knife like that? Machismo?

No, not entirely. But like many here, I'm simply tired of hype and disappointment. I like big strong knives, and I'm at a point in my life where I can afford a little nicer implement.

I knife might show signs of wear. However, even if the knife was so worn that all of the original finish had been marred, Mick's knives would still be the strongest of the competitors.

Other than a Ringed Razel, I cannot think of a knife stronger than a Strider AR. Yes, a Kabar is tough, but Striders are built like a bank vault door and still slice like a razor.

June 23, 2008, 12:04 PM
Benchmade Mini Ruckus Not under $100, though.

June 23, 2008, 12:08 PM
Fixed Blade: Fallkniven F1. Can be had online for around $90.

Folder: Benchmade 550 Griptillian. Around $60.

June 23, 2008, 12:58 PM
ooks to me like the perfect utility sheath knife and it's only $60.00
Nope, it's only $38, plus shipping.
I have been impressed with Case yellow handles and Victorinox SAKs. Also, the Benchmade Vex, Kershaw Sapphire, and Al Mar Eagle Talon have impressed me. Suprisingly, my Gerber Ripstop and Fatty are very good knives for the money and design. The Buck 110 can't not impress. Oh, and I was impressed with CRKT's customer service. They sent me a brand-new M16 after mine broke. The new one has done just fine.

June 23, 2008, 01:27 PM
Higher end production and custom knives have pretty much always satisfied my expectations.

2 knives that have impressed me are the Mora carbon knives that I have purchased for between $9-11 and the several $5-7 Rough Rider small folders that I have bought at auction from online.

The Mora are pure performers and can be honed sharp enough to shave (I tried it once on a whim) and tough enough for 95% of any outdoorsman's tasks, while the RR are cheap, solid & reliable for pocket carry chores.

Carl Levitian
June 23, 2008, 03:14 PM
The Frosts mora's from Sweden. They are some of the most effective cutting tools I've used. Sharp, durable, comfortable in the hand.

Opinels. Same comments as mora's, but with the addded convienence of folding to go in pocket. Cuts better than most of the high dollar custom knives I used to collect before I wised up.

SAK's. Too handy not to have one around. In addition to being a pretty good knife, it's also a screw driver, can opener, awl...

The Case peanut. A nice little package that fits in a pants pocket without making itself known, but cuts most anything you need to cut in the real world. And it looks great doing it. Available in wide amount of handles and colors to be collectable.

The above knives have done me well for many years now, and are pretty much the only knives I own anymore. I sold off the collection of Randalls, Hastings, Hendricksons, Morseths, and the others, because they just did not work as well as the real knives of the working masses.

June 23, 2008, 03:28 PM


Blackie Collins's LST

Ken Onion's original Random Task assist

Microtech LUDT and Mini and HALO

Vallotton 2-Step

and on and on and on

June 23, 2008, 04:12 PM
Great ones already mentioned.
From out of left field...

The Christy Knife

June 23, 2008, 04:32 PM
How about the best knifemaker you've never heard of? Todd Begg has become my favorite maker with his awesome skill on the manual mill and CNC machine, besides just being a fantastic maker. He did a knife for a contest recently that he now values at $5k and it's not only a wonder to behold but he built it in 5 days. His folders go for $1500 so I'll never own anything of his but he's now going to offer one-on-one 3 day training to knifemakers who want to learn to use the mill better in knife applications. I'm going!

Todd and Tanya are the kind of people that not only offer this class but will pick you up at the airport, give you a room in their house and feed you also. For $700 it's the chance of a lifetime for me

Here's the contest knife, The Predator:


I like Striders the best for carry folders, and also have and use Emersons, Case and SAK.

For $100 or under I'd get a Case, a Buck/Strider or a Griptilian.

June 23, 2008, 07:09 PM
I have been impressed by knives from various makers. Sometimes what impresses me is something I can't really explain: either you have the ability to feel it, or you don't.

As far as production knives go, my friend Ken Cox has said that the Spyderco Chinook (http://www.newgraham.com/detail.aspx?ID=6330) is the ultimate fighting knife. I don't agree. If I had to use a blade to defend myself, I'd want it to be long enough so that I would have the reach advantage over an adversary.

But, I did find the Chinook drastically discounted online, a couple of years ago. I ordered one. It was absolutely more knife than I could cart around in my pocket on a daily basis at school. I can say this: if I had to defend myself with a knife, and could only have a folder, the Spyderco Chinook would be that knife. So, yeah, big for daily carry in academia, but the Spyderco Chinook is one hell of a knife, well designed and built tank tough.


June 23, 2008, 07:59 PM
The line of knives that have impressed me the most over the last 10 years have been products made by Victorinox. They are hard to beat for the price.

This year, I have purchased a SOG Mini-Vulcan; a Schratt & Morgan Mountain Man Trapper; one Dozier blade; one by a maker named Ed Wallace; and a Cold Steel Sword. I may have purchased a couple of other SOGs, I forget the timing sometimes. I have been impressed by all of these. Guess I impress easily.

June 23, 2008, 08:38 PM
Great knives folks. I agree with posts on Spyderco's, Benchmade Griptilians, and the LST. All impressive for what they are and what they offer.

If I had to pick one of my knives that was a complete surprise when it comes to fit, finish, and plain 'ol quality I'd have to go with my Klein Tools (model 44036) miniature knock off of the Buck 110.

It was made in Japan and measures 3.5" closed / 6" OAL with a 2.25" edge. When open, the spine and spring mate up like a custom. Almost invisible and even harder to feel. Width is only 3/8".

Its a joy to carry and use. I'm honestly surprised that these do not sell as well they should.


June 23, 2008, 08:54 PM
From what I can see here, the Benchmade Griptillian is the most common. I see that a lot. I have a Benchmade Ambush that I like a lot too. It felt better in my hand than the Griptillian. They are both very light in weight and very easy to use. Two of the best features in a knife. I am sure the Mantis Chaos Folder will be like that. The MK-3 Karambit was so I don't see why the Chaos would be any different.

June 23, 2008, 09:42 PM
The SOG flash II, in my daily job I use a knife and between the sog and a spyderco clipit endura i always have enough knife. I'd buy either as good tough working knives that can hold an edge and keep cutting as long as i need

June 23, 2008, 11:35 PM
The Kershaw Scallion is a sturdy little workhorse. Well made, affordable, holds an edge, doesn't constantly remind you it's in your pocket. Not much more I can ask of a EDC.

And, my Buck 110 is the heartiest knife I've yet to buy. Takes a beating and comes back for more.

Tom Krein
June 23, 2008, 11:53 PM
One of the first knives to impress me was a Dozier Personal drop point. It was .090" thick D2 at RC 60. That little bastard would cut like nobodies business!

At the other end of the spectrum... I was VERY impressed with the cutting ability of the SAK paring knives. They cut unbelievably good at any price point, they should cost more than $5.00 for that amount of performance! Once again edge geometry rules!


June 24, 2008, 12:11 AM
i will participate in the event that this isnt one of the Mantis Spam posts that the owner of the company asked people to post on any/all knife forums....

The Strider AR and PT models impressed me. Stout , cut well and have ergo's to match. Well plus Mick is a friend , and a knife made by a friend don't get much better.

Sodbuster - impressive. Best sub $40 folder in my opinion.
Either Case or Boker in carbon.

he wont , so I will , any of Tom Krein's knives , him and Dozier , hands down the best bang for the buck in fixed blades ( and soon to be folders eh Tom ? )

Another that has impressed me , Lone Wolfe Loveless City Knife. Great little folder ( slippie ) with tight construction , thin ground blade , sharp as can be , with a lanyard hole and half stops on the blade. Price before discontinued $120 approx.

Simonich Mid-Tech Crowfoot - smooth handling small fixed blade. Compact , thin , carries well that you dont know it is there till you need it , and when you do it performs great. Price about $200 ?

Trace Rinaldi Matrix - of all my fixed blades , this one has seen the most use. From office stuff , boxes , heavy banding on server crates , to desheathing cable , tarpaper , etc. It just works and feels superb in the hand.

There have been lots that have impressed me , my carry blades show the ones that impressed me most , Strider PT CC , Ken Erickson 3.5 EDC slip joint , Trace Rinaldi Matrix , and an old Remington slip joint.

June 24, 2008, 12:15 AM
You know, I just found my first knife, a Buck 112, and I have to tell you that I have gained a new appreciation for this knife. It's not that it is a particularly flashy knife, and it probably won't end up being carried in my pocket because of the weight, but the more I sit and handle it, the more impressed I am with it. It definitely has found a permanent home in my EDC bag, and it has made me want to find a 110 to match it.

June 24, 2008, 12:16 AM
Here's a few in no particular order:

1) 1940s vintage Marbles Woodcraft - Dad's hunting knife that he bought new when he returned from Germany in '46. Very useful blade shape and it takes a wicked edge. Fits my hand almost perfectly.

2) Victorinox Tinker - Does almost everything I've ever asked of it. Not a ton of tools (compared to a true multi-tool), but has almost everything I commonly need.

3) Strider AR - Got one for Mrs. Trapper's brother before he headed to the sandbox in '06. I was expecting sturdy. I wasn't expecting STURDY!!!!!! :eek: He used it a lot (as a field knife, not a "combat" knife), and very hard. With the exception of a little wear on the blade finish, you could hardly tell it had been used after about 16 months of use.

4) Benchmade Mini-Griptilian - This was my 2nd "modern" folder. The first was a Boker Ceramic abomination. The Mini-Grip was (and is) truly a masterpiece of functionality. A pocket clip and AXIS lock were both very welcome features.

5) Randall #3 - 5" - My first Randall and a great user. When I first got it, I thought it was a little too large and thick. However, with a little practice and getting to know it, I use it for everything from deer to birds to cooking to whittling.

6) Brusletto Spikkekniv - The first fixed-blade knife I gave to each of my kids. It's a great size and shape. The carbon steel blade is just the right size and grind for whittling and working on craft projects. Easy to sharpen and would make a great bird/trout knife.

7) Dozier K4 Straight Hunter - After reading so much about Doziers, I finally got one. I've not had a chance to use it on big game yet, but it seems like it would be ideal. As a slicer, it's tremendous. It also has the most comfortable handle shape and weight that I've ever felt. My Randall is still the "go to" hunting knife, but frankly, the Dozier would probably be a better choice when cleaning and cutting up a deer.

June 24, 2008, 12:33 AM
Benchmade Doug Ritter Griptillian.

A tiny slip while cutting something nearly cut my left hand middle finger off entirely. Stitches and all were needed. I still can't feel anything at the tip of that finger and the accident was a year and a half ago or so.

S30V is sharp!

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 24, 2008, 12:48 AM
I haven't tried many, so I'm by no means a comprehensive source but I'd say:

--Kershaw "Spec Bump" (S30V/G10)
--Cheness 9260 steel Chisa-katana
--Blackwater Gear (Benchmade) (don't know the name, but it's a modified "mini Nimravus 140")
--SigTac "PitBull" neck knife
--Kershaw Leek (S30V/G10)

June 24, 2008, 01:15 AM
I am interested in the The Frosts mora's from Sweden.

June 24, 2008, 02:18 AM
http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=BOAF553D is a thing of beauty, plus the smatchet has an interesting history as a fighting knife / short sword. I also like the small hole that allows you to index the desired edge without looking, so you can save one for fine work and use the other for rougher tasks.

June 24, 2008, 03:04 AM
I'd have to say the most recent thing is how incredibly smooth and strong the Benchmade Axis lock is on my Griptilian knives. I'm sold. I didn't think anything'd ever replace my Sebenza, and I'm not saying the Benchmade is a better knife, but it's the one that's in my pocket right now. It was there yesterday, it'll be there tomorrow.

I was surprised at how much I wanted a Randall Made knife. I was definitely impressed when I got it in my hands.

I was impressed with the warranty on the Leatherman. I managed to break the handle on one. I took it in to REI where I bought it, showed it to the guy, he reached behind the counter and handed me a new box, no questions. I asked if he needed anything, he said no, Leatherman had given them strict instructions that ANY broken knife was to be replaced.

I'm impressed with what an ass Lynn Thompson is. Only met him at one gun show but wow, is he arrogant. Eh. I still own several of his products.

June 24, 2008, 03:40 AM
the chris reeves line, inparticular the pacific model.

June 24, 2008, 07:23 AM
No question, for years, my answer for the most impressive knifes in my life were the Buck 110 for a folder and a tie between the Buck 119 and a KaBar. I have, in the last year, really enjoyed the 110s - from the cheapest 'closeout specials' after Christmas at Wally World, like the $11 Collector's Tin from a few years back, to the gorgeous teardrop Damascus/flaming Koa 'Custom Shop' 110 I had made for me last autumn at $170.

However... this last year has brought two different contenders for the most impressive knives in my life. I admit a tie in the folder department between the fantastic Buck 419 Kalinga Pro in S30V for ~$95 and the Spyderco S30V Native from Wally World for <$40. Both have been EDCs, although the Native has been here a lot longer - and fits unobtrusively in a pocket. Super build quality - at super prices.

Now, a fixed blade is another matter. I am really impressed with the Buck 408 fixed Kalinga Pro in S30V - ~$105. It really is nice. Sadly, I discovered Bark River knives... culminating in my sixth one last month - a real beauty - a bocote handled Boone. What 'custom+' build quality in a production knife - any of the few Barkies I have could go here.

I guess I am an unashamed knife-slut... fickle as can be!


June 24, 2008, 10:34 AM
Way back my first custom knife was an Emerson CQC-6. Really impressed me at the time. After that my first Sebenza really did it too. My first custom fixed blade was a JSP Bladerigger Jashido and it impressed the heck out of me as well. I've had so many knives come and go over the years that it's hard to get really excited anymore I guess. I recently acquired a custom Emerson Commander and CQC-8 and I don't know why but they got me again, felt like back when I got my first one. Strange.

June 24, 2008, 11:06 AM
Strictly an over the counter kind of user here.

My everyday carry blades are the now out of print Spiderco 'Co-Pilot'. Its my money clip with a 'surprise'.

The Swiss Army Knife version of an 'Electrician's Knife' is my next everyday collector of pocket lint. The short blade is handy and the sharpened awl beats the heck out of any blade for digging out splinters.

The screwdirver and cap lifter has been handy a time or two also. Carona beer tops DO NOT twist off.

The 'Electrician's Knife' is out of print also.

I don't think anyone is gonna build a three bedroom cabin with a SAK, or defeat The Terminator with the Spiderco 'Co-Pilot' but mine have sure been handy.


June 24, 2008, 02:28 PM
Glock military knife. With the saw tooth back it's mighty useful. It's easy to sharpen, takes a fine edge, and is reasonably priced. It's all business and ugly as mud fence. I would choose a Glock and a Victorinox Swisschamp to handle survival/outdoor duties.

June 24, 2008, 04:08 PM
Glock military knife. With the saw tooth back it's mighty useful. It's easy to sharpen, takes a fine edge, and is reasonably priced. It's all business and ugly as mud fence. I would choose a Glock and a Victorinox Swisschamp to handle survival/outdoor duties.
Funny thing, my GLOCK didn't come that sharp. I also haven't been able to sharpen it. I've only tried freehand, but my lamentable freehand skills wouldn't get it sharp at all. Now, I could get my Boker and Case stockmans moderately sharp freehanding. I'll try the GLOCK on my Lansky, but I'm not expecting anything stellar.
Now, the GLOCK knife is a very good digger, stabber, and thrower. I like the built in bottle opener, and the sheath is excellent.

I'll also add in my fixed blades- for the $35 I paid for it on sale, my CRKT M60 has been a good performer- just the handle with the upswept pommel doesn't fit my large hands very well. If I was going to spend close to this knife's regular price, 65-70, I would go with something like a KaBar or Helle (or Ontario, but only if another company didn't make the same knife pattern for a comparable price)

My KaBar Short Heavy Bowie has also impressed me because, despite being as big as it is, it still has a sharp edge that can be used for slicing.

June 24, 2008, 04:13 PM
I have a Leek and like it, but have been very surprised by the longivity I have had with this free knife I got for subscription to Buckmaster. It is a Camco (never heard of it before). I have used it as a pry tool a leather punch a romex skinner a flat head screw driver bottle opener you name it. It just keeps on going. It took a while to get rid of crappy factory edge but now stays sharp for a while. Go figure probably a $.99 knife brand new but tough as nails.

June 24, 2008, 05:30 PM
Every Bark River I have seen has impressed me.

June 24, 2008, 06:48 PM

The Co-Pilots are back for a limited time (http://www.newgraham.com/detail.aspx?ID=6627).

CZ: Pres, my experience is like yours. Glock knives may be tough, but they're more of a "knife-like object" (KLO) than a real knife.


June 26, 2008, 12:45 AM
I am always on the lookout for a good defensive carry folder. I like my Benchmade Mini Ambush, but everyone who backs the Griptillian is peaking my interest. I may look into one of these, but I am still looking for a good utility folder for everyday use.

June 26, 2008, 11:34 PM
Early Buck 110's, when they were made with 440C. I had a Gerber because it was like a 110 but slimmer lighter for pocket carry. Some guys I knew got to shooting their 110's with a 38 standing over the knife laying in the sand, cutting the lead bullet into. One guy had a Gerber like mine and tried it. The blade broke into. I got a 110 and have been using it as my primary hunting knife since. I have a couple of em and they can still be had at fairly reasonable prices at pawn shops or off ebay.

Tom Krein
June 26, 2008, 11:50 PM
Early Buck 110's, when they were made with 440C. I had a Gerber because it was like a 110 but slimmer lighter for pocket carry. Some guys I knew got to shooting their 110's with a 38 standing over the knife laying in the sand, cutting the lead bullet into. One guy had a Gerber like mine and tried it. The blade broke into. I got a 110 and have been using it as my primary hunting knife since. I have a couple of em and they can still be had at fairly reasonable prices at pawn shops or off ebay.

I personally think the Gerbers were better! Not saying the 110's weren't good as they were.

The Gerber blades were harder. They even made some with some really high end steels. I would rather have a lot longer wear resistance... ie hardness. The Gerber blades were also thinner and flat ground, so they had a really good edge geometry, but this would also make them more likely to fail in the bullet trick.

I don't see myself needing to shoot my knife really EVER.... :D


June 26, 2008, 11:56 PM
I personally think the Gerbers were better! Not saying the 110's weren't good as they were.I have two of the Early Gerber's folding hunter types, one form the first year when the blade was made of Solingen steel. Believe me they aren't half the blade the 440C 110's were, in toughness or edge holding ability.

I don't see myself needing to shoot my knife really EVER I didn't shoot mine but rowdy bikers types having a party in the desert don't really need a reason to play with guns and knives it just kinda comes natural, like guns and girls, bikes and beer. We weren't all so safety conscious and PC back then or at least some of us weren't. Like a lot of things in life what's "need" got to do with it?

June 27, 2008, 12:25 PM
the knife that has impressed me the most is my spyderco chinook II. come to think of it, most spydies impress me. i was not a fan of them, until i bought an endura at gander mountain some years back. i have been hooked ever since. i was a cold steel fan until then.

as far as karambits go, i have a few from different makers. i had an emerson, but sold it. there's no questioning the quality of emerson knives, i just detest one sided chisel ground blades. the spyderco version has a great blade profile, but the handle is too flat & wide for my taste. the mantis karambit has a better overall shape, but, again, flat chisel ground blades irritate me. so did the sharp edges of the handle, and the poor finish. so far, my favorite k-bit is the 5.11 journeyman. it seems to combine the best features of all the others, great blade & handle profile, nice contours, quality blade steel, and reliable. that's the one i'd recommend to anyone wanting a production karambit. you can find them for under $100 most places.

The Tourist
June 27, 2008, 12:36 PM
spyderco chinook II

When the blade is locked open, do you surmise any wobble factor?

The reason I ask is that I have steered clear of these knives for both my clients and myself due to the issues with the first model.

Understand this, I have not handled this second model. No flames, it's a valid safety question.

If the problem has been fixed, and now that the model is available in S30V, I thought I'd research the knife. Despite its roots, I hear anecdotal stories about its prowess in wilderness camping.

June 27, 2008, 04:57 PM
the II and III models have absolute ZERO wobble, either up & down or laterally. the lockup is as solid as any knife i've ever handled, and so far, i've skinned and cleaned: rabbit, woodchuck, snake, and squirrel with it. like i said, i love this knife!

June 27, 2008, 05:08 PM
My Chinook II had absolutely no wobble, either.

Dave McCracken
June 27, 2008, 05:15 PM
I'm not a full tilt boogie knife guy, but I've a few around here I like better than most.

First up, a Helle Tor. A gift from a friend, it holds a wicked edge and works very well for emptying deer. I once did 5 deer before I touched it up. Didn't need it.

Second, a Bucklite. Same blade as the 110, with a synthetic handle that lightens it greatly. Second choice for deer and a superb all round pocket knife.

Third is a Cold Steel Recon Tanto. My life style doesn't demand me playing Combat Infantryman, but if it did, this would be on me for rough duty.

Last but certainly not least, Pop's old Case sheath knife. He got it in the 50s, and it still takes an edge razors envy.

June 27, 2008, 05:19 PM
I'm an old style guy. I have always loved Case knives; pretty much any of them. They're one of the few knife companies outside of the custom makers that are still all American made. Plus every time I see or handle one I think of my Dad. He always carried a Case and it was the first "real" pocket knife he ever gave me when he thought I was old enough to be trusted with it. A real right of passage in my family. :)

June 27, 2008, 05:52 PM
A few knives have impressed me. I don't know if it's because I'm easily impressed or if it's because I have good taste.

Microtech LCC - Up until a couple of days ago this was the best folder I had ever owned. It was flawless, and to this day I still don't know how Microtech was able to make a knife of this quality at the price they charged.

Bark River Rogue - Mike Stewart knows how to sharpen knives. Have you ever held a 7" razor? My Rogue bowie feels that sharp. It's a bit scary actually, to think about the damage a knife that big and heavy can do.

Chris Reeve Sebenza - This knife epitomizes fine craftsmanship. I've only had it a couple of days, but it's already knocked out my Spyderco Military out of the EDC role. That's quite an impressive feat considering that I've been carrying the Military for the past five years.

Joe Demko
June 27, 2008, 06:31 PM
Randall #14
Reeve Sebenza.
Vintage Jody Samson-ground Bali-Song Inc. wee-hawk butterfly.
Vintage liner-locking Case sod buster.
Mineral Mountain Hatchetworks kindjahl.
The original Tekna diving knife (mostly because of the sheath).

These impressed me enough that when I sold off my collection last year, these precious few were kept...not because of any cash value but because they were such excellent pieces of work.

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