After learning the art of knife-making as a blacksmith's apprentice, Hoyt Buck made knives to donate to the military during World War II. Beginning the company as H.H. Buck & Son in 1947 in partnership with his son Al, the Buck Knife Co. incorporated in the 1960s. Distinct markings on the blade can help owners easily discern the age of their Buck knife.
Obtain a Buck Knife dating system chart available at the Knife Collector website. If your Buck Knife is manufactured after 1986, match the symbol next to the model number inscribed at the base of the knife blade to the corresponding symbol on the dating system chart. For example, a knife with the outline of Idaho next to the model number would have been manufactured in 2005.
Check the knife handle for clues to the age of knives not bearing a symbol next to the model number. If a model number is inscribed, the knife would have been made after 1973 but before 1986. Consultation with a knife expert can yield clues based on rivet placement and other minute details to pinpoint the exact year of manufacture.
Observing the Buck name inscribed on the blade over USA means the knife was made between 1961 and 1973. Folding knives were first produced by the company in 1963. They were contracted for manufacture to Shrade and Camillus companies between 1966 and 1968 before being once more made in-house. Slight differences, such as groove placement of the nail pull, can help knife experts discern an approximate year of manufacture.