One of the cool things about Great Eastern Cutlery is that there's a seemingly endless selection of patterns and blade styles. Keeping track of that many variations can get complicated, though, so GEC came up with a six-digit numbering system.
You'll find this number stamped on the tang of one of the knife's blades (at the base, near the pivot). The first two digits denote the Great Eastern Cutlery pattern number. The next digit identifies the style of the main blade:
- 0 = Wharncliffe
- 1 = Regular Clip
- 2 = Regular Spear
- 3 = Sheep Foot
- 4 = Spey
- 5 = Drop Point/Skinner
- 6 = Sabre Clip
- 7 = Sabre Spear
- 8 = Muskrat Clip
- 9 = Cotton Sampler
The fourth digit of the code indicates the total number of blades, and the final two digits record the year the knife was manufactured.
In the photo above, the number 252208 appears on the tang of the main blade. Breaking the code, we see that this is Great Eastern Cutlery pattern #25, with a "regular spear" main blade and a total of two blades, made in 2008.
Our second example (left) has 725213 stamped on the tang of the smaller blade. That number reveals that this is Great Eastern Cutlery pattern #72, with a "drop point/skinner" main blade and a total of two blades, made in 2013.
This code can be especially helpful if you're a Great Eastern collector, or when you're shopping for a knife similar to one you've seen, or if you own a GEC knife and simply want to confirm exactly what you have.