Late period knives, featuring his optional Naked Lady stamp
America’s greatest custom knife maker and most influential designer, Bob Loveless, passed away recently at the age of 81 of lung cancer.
I’ve never owned a Loveless knife.
I called Bob Loveless once about 20 years ago and asked to purchase his catalogue. He offered to send me one, but assured me it was basically pointless. His waiting list was somewhere beyond 6 years. He charged (at that time) a cool $100 an inch for a knife, and there was an extra charge for a Naked Lady stamp. Both for the frontal and rear versions. I remember asking him if he charged extra not to put that on a knife, and he laughed.
“Most of my customers are rich, vulgar guys, who absolutely love it.” he assured me.
He proceeded to explain that he thought it was a pity that people who actually wanted to use them couldn’t afford to buy them and that the enormous wait made every knife a financial opportunity for the buyer. But he liked making that much money, he conceded.
It was kind of a shame that the excellence of Loveless’s designs propelled within his lifetime his products into a stratospheric world of high-end collecting, but admirers could at least console themselves that Loveless spawned a nearly infinite number of imitators and copies of Loveless patterns could be found by the score, some made by bladesmiths collectible in their own right as well as by mass market cutlery companies.
Like a lot of artists, Bob Loveless was an extremely smart guy and a colorful rascal. He will be missed.
Local LA Times obit
Wall Street Journal article
A Loveless dealer website
Bob Loveless, 1974