What Do The Numbers On Some Spyderco Knives Mean?
    Some Spyderco knives have a number stamped or laser etched into them. Most often this number is located on the blade, but occasionally it will be found on the handle.   Numbered Spydercos fall into several categories, each of which will be explained here.

"Collector's Club" Numbered Knives

    The first group are the "Collector's Club" numbered knives. Since the late 1980's Spyderco has offered serious collectors the option of becoming members of this club.  Membership is limited to 200, but has never reached that level. By "signing up" the collector is committing to purchasing, through a Spyderco dealer of their choice, one or more specific categories of models as they are introduced. The collector also has the option of signing up to receive only new models, only new models and Sprints, or both of those plus every new "variant" of existing and new models if and when such variants are introduced.
When a new model is released, a quantity of knives equal to the number of members in the  Collector's Club are numbered and each knife sent to the appropriate dealer.  Every time a new "variant" is introduced, a quantity of knives equal to the number of members who have signed up to receive "all variations" is numbered and each knife sent to the appropriate dealer. These "variants" carry the collector's number with a "V" suffix attached. Since there are fewer collectors who sign up for "all variations", the quantity of numbered variants will always be smaller than the quantity of numbered "base models". When several edge types and/or handle colors are introduced simultanteously, one is designated as the "base" and any others as "variants".  Generally, the "base" will be PE if that edge is offered and will only be SE if no other edge type is offered. Sprints will generally be numbered as variants and will be numbered for and sent to those collectors who have signed up at levels which receive them.
A more detailed description of the Collectors Club can be found here
The four Atlantic Salts below illustrate how Collector's Club numbering works on a knife where "variants" exist...
Click Here to Return to SPY-101 Menu Page

The Howard Viele II shown below illustrates both a knife offered only in Plain Edge, and one where the Collector's Club number is applied to the handle, rather than the blade...


"First Production Run" Custom Collaboration Models

The second group are the older "custom collaborations". Up until a year or two back, it was traditional for the entire first run of each new custom collaboration model to be numbered.  Production runs traditionally consist of approximately 1200 knives.  The Collector's Club members received their "regular" number, and all other numbers were just sold as normal knives to anyone who wanted them. With numbers below 200 it is difficult to distinguish between Collector's Club and "open stock" numbered pieces, but any custom collaboration model with a number over 200 is obviously a first run numbered knife.
The number on the Massad Ayoob shown below is obviously too high to be a Collector's Club number, but it does identify the knife as being from the first production run.

The same goes for the carbon fiber Michael Walker in the photo below.  This knife carries the older, larger, stamped numbers.

"Limited Editions"
The third category of numbered Spydercos are the "Limited Editions".   These would include the Evolution Set, 25th Anniversary Delica, the WTC Knife and the C41 Native with the G-10 handles and "shell" inlays..  The entire run of these knives are numbered and in the case of the EVO set and the Natives, the numbers are in a nn of nnn format
"Forum Models"

Finally there are the "Forum Models", which some might consider to be just another type of "Limited Edition".  Except for the recently issued Forum Adventura, these knives were all numbered, but the numbers do not always help in determining the total quantity of each Forum model that was produced, since, in at least some cases, collectors were allowed to purchase one bearing  their Collector's Club number.   Also, as is the case with the Forum Military shown below, where less than 200 actually were made,  the "of NNN" portion of the number, when it exists, often represented wishful thinking. 

All the Forum models Spyderco has produced can be seen HERE
Click Here to Return to SPY-101 Menu Page