Warenski King Tut Dagger For Sale

Perhaps the most iconic handmade knife ever can be yours for the right price

It may be the most iconic custom knife ever and it was made by perhaps the best knifemaker ever. The King Tut Dagger reproduction by BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Buster Warenski is available for sale through Exquisite Knives.

Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)
Buster Warenski’s reproduction of the King Tut Dagger took over five years to complete and, including the sheath, contains over 32 ounces of gold. (SharpByCoop image)

Commissioned by Cutlery Hall-Of-Famer Phil Lobred in 1982, the knife took Warenski over five years to complete. A pioneering collector of custom knives and 19th-century dress bowies and founder/creator/coordinator of the Art Knife Invitational, Phil had kept the dagger in a safe ever since, displaying it on rare occasions at select knife shows or for private viewings. He passed away in 2016. On Aug. 1, his widow, Judy, contacted Dave Ellis of Exquisite Knives and asked him to handle the sale of the famous piece.

Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.
Buster Warenski is widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever. He passed away in 2005.

Once valued at over $1 million, “the most famous contemporary handmade knife ever,” according to Ellis, has an asking price of $500,000.

LEGACY IN STEEL

The first of Warenski’s three “Legacy Knives”—the other two being the Gem of the Orient and Fire and Ice—the King Tut Dagger is a reproduction of the knife from the tomb of the Egyptian boy king, Tutankhamun, uncovered by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. It contains over 32 ounces of gold and took Warenski, widely recognized as one of the best knifemakers if not the best ever, over half a decade to build.

During that span he suffered through the trial and challenges of recreating the iconic dagger. Among them was the cold forging and fullering of the knife’s gold blade, learning such ancient techniques as cloisonné—a highly technical enameling process—and the granulation of the handle. The solid gold scabbard rivals the knife in terms of beauty and the many hours it took to make. A special handmade display stand comes with the dagger, both of which are in mint condition.

The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.
The King Tut Dagger repro was the cover for the February 1988 BLADE®.

PRICED TO SELL

The current sale will be the second time Ellis has had a go at moving the Tut dagger repro.

“A few years before he passed, Phil Lobred asked if I would find a buyer for the Tut. His asking price at the time was $1 million. I had a number of interested parties but Phil was set on his price and I could not swing the sale,” Dave wrote. “Now, over six years since Phil passed, Judy contacted me about selling the King Tut Dagger. After deciding on a more realistic price—not that a million was unreasonable but few if any contemporary knives have attained that lofty status—I am marketing the piece on my Instagram and Facebook pages and on my website.”

An ABS master smith now retired from bladesmithing, Dave is a top collector and dealer of fine custom knives. He stated that to be able to offer his clientele such a special piece is indeed an honor.

Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.
Phil Lobred commissioned Buster Warenski to make the King Tut dagger repro in 1982 and Buster completed it in 1987. Phil, here on a dock in San Diego, created/founded the Art Knife Invitational in 1983. He passed away in 2016.

Perhaps the only things better would be to a) sell it and b) own it.

For more information on the sale of the King Tut Dagger repro, visit exquisiteknives.com and click on ‘art knives’ on the home page.

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