Blade Show Collector Scores 2 of 30 Benchmade CF Blades Before Prices Skyrocket

If SHOT Show is where companies introduce new products, Blade Show is where they embellish them. This year, Benchmade devoted their Blade Show appearance to the legacy of the late Warren Osborne, one of their most beloved and prolific designers. A retooled version of his classic 940 received some attention, but it was the limited edition version of his 810 Contego that stole the show. The new Contego employs a whole new manufacturing process. Remarkably, the 810-1601 is made almost entirely of carbon fiber, including the blade. And in a show rife with beautiful customs from all over the world this rare knife from a production company had collectors like Gene McClure in awe.

Benchmade 810-1601


Gene McClure was supposed to buy an 810-1601 for a collector friend. But when he handled the knife McClure ended up walking away with two: one for his friend, and one for himself. He says it was the knife’s flawless execution that really drew him in. From the laminate on the blade, to the handle scales, to the 3D-machined carbon fiber clip, the work here is truly a cut above. “I used to work on Porsches, and I’ve seen some of the best carbon fiber work around,” says McClure, “and this still impresses me.”

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Carbon fiber’s rigidity, strength, and light weight make it an ideal handle material, but it’s rarely seen on a blade. The blade on the 810-1601 uses a laminated construction, sandwiching a core of D2 tool steel between carbon fiber layers. This approach retains much of the blade’s strength with significant weight savings: McClure reckons it at or around 4 oz., roughly a third less than the standard 6 oz. G-10 version. “You can tell Benchmade takes these special projects very seriously,” he tells us.

Rumors circulated on the Benchmade forums that five different dealers each received five 810-1601s for the show. Yet another claimed that only 27 have been produced. To further complicate matters, the blades aren’t serialized: each blade is marked with the words “Limited Edition 1 of 30.” The confusion continued into pricing: McClure was able to pick up his two knives from Going Gear early on Friday at the original $800 asking price, but some dealers had already marked up the price.

Each Knife is Marked '1 OF 30'

As for the secondary market, the 810-1601 has already showed up on eBay for $3,000, and McClure says the offers have been pouring in all weekend from frustrated collectors. McClure normally uses the knives he buys: he also picked up a Hinderer XM-18 at Blade Show with the intention of carrying it. But the 810-1601 is something special, and for now it’s staying in the collection. In fact, McClure’s only regret is he has just one: “I wish I would have bought four of them.”

Knife featured in image: Benchmade Contego 810-1601: Photos courtesy of Stephen Rathbun