The annual custom design autographed series started in 1990. Only the first ones made of the new design each year are marked "First Production Run" and the sheath is personally autographed by master knifermaker, Gil Hibben.
Each year the latest edition in his on going Hibben Custom Design Series is eagerly awaited by
collectors. Close attention to quality is a top priority in every piece.
He is one of the most prolific of today's knife
designers, Gil Hibben has created some of the most visually stunning
fantasy knives available today. Gil is a member of the Knifemakers Guild, and was inducted
into the Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame.
Valiant Sword - 2010 Custom Design Autographed Edition
? - 2009 Custom Design Autographed Edition
? - 2008 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Immortal - 2007 Custom Design Autographed Edition
None - 2006 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Titan - 2005 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Centurion - 2004 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Eye of Drakonus - 2003 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Tiger Shark - 2002 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Scorpion - 2001 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Griffyn - 2000 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Jackal - 1999 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Odyssey - 1998 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Hornet - 1997 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Hornet** - 1997 Custom Design Short Sword Edition
Dragon Lord - 1996 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Warbird Bowie - 1995 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Warbird Dagger - 1995 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Raptor - 1994 Custom Design Autographed Edition Poster for sale
Raven - 1993 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Highlander Bowie - 1992 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Double Shadow - 1991 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Dark Shadow - 1990 Custom Design Autographed Edition
Silver Shadow - 1990 Custom Design Autographed Edition
* This means we have one for sale.
**The Short Sword did not come with a sheath, but it did have a wall plaque made of solid wood with a mahogany finish and a brass cloisonne medallion.
How can you tell if you have a "First Production Run" Hibben knife?
Answer: The "First Production Run" Hibben's are marked with the words (Signature Edition - First Production Run - Date). The date that they were made which is usually January (example: January 1995). Then the back of the leather sheath is personally hand signed by Gil Hibben. The first ones in the series (1990) were signed in ink and starting in about 1995 they were signed in gold by Mr. Hibben. The standard production knives do not have the "First Production Run" mark and the sheaths are not personally hand signed by Gil Hibben. All the knives in the series are marked with the Hibben mark "Designed by Gill Hibben and his logo." We have been selling the "First Production Run" Hibben's since the Highlander Bowie in 1992. The early knives do not have a serial number. The serial numbers started showing up on the knives around 1993.
Premier Gold Custom Design Editions
Dragon Lair - 2009 Gold Edition
Scorpion - 2001 Gold Edition - Limited to 2000
Griffyn - 2000 Gold Edition - Limited to 2000
Jackal - 1999 Gold Edition - Limited to 1500
Odyssey - 1998 Gold Edition - Limited to 1500
Hornet - 1997 Gold Edition - Limited to 1500
Dragon Lord - 1996 Gold Edition - Limited to 1000
Dragon Lord - 1996 Special Gold Edition - Limited to 1500
Warbird - 1995 Gold Edition Set - Limited to 1000
Raptor - 1994 Gold Edition - Limited to 1500
Raven - 1993 Gold Edition - Limited to 1000
If you know more about the premier gold editions
please email with the information here. We would like to add to this section and will give you full credit for
Some thoughts on the Gill Hibben annual premier custom design gold editions which started in 1993.
The gold editions started as an after thought that is they were born after United realized they had a winner with the series and maybe they could make more money and sales if they jazzed up the standard product they all ready had. All they needed to do was add gold plate to the production model and then number a smaller group and raise the price and retail them.
I feel that the normal Gill Hibben’s that are made each year are closer to the real thing than the gold editions. The new design each year is based on an original Hibben custom hand made knife that is mass produced in a factory setting with very good standards. The standards are good enough that Gill signs the first ones that come off the production line by putting his signature on the back of each sheath that come with the knife. If you have ever seen and held a handmade Hibben you know the standard he is capable of. Of course the United factory made knives are no where near the cost of a handmade Hibben. That is what they were made to do, bring a reasonable cost fantasy knife to the general market.
If the standard factory edition reproduces a gold plated Hibben that Gill handmade in the first place that is true to his design. I see the gold plating of the standard edition as being like spraying painting one of the normal production knives to change its appearance. The gold plate does not add that much value to the already high standard production model. Gold is expensive but gold plate is not. Yes gold plating is more than spray paint but just because there is a smaller number of the gold edition does not make them better than the standard edition.
I do think the first ones that Gill signs in the first production run are more valuable because of the implied endorsement by his signature on each sheath that come with the first units made. Remember even though the knives are fantasy knives they are still a knife and as such should do what a knife does. Gold plating does not change that. When theAnnual Custom Design Autographed Series started in 1990 the gold edition did not exist.
For me knives and knife collecting are based on what the object called a knife does and the implied power that it brings to the table. Knives are tools and can be a weapon but the single most important thing that a knife does is cut. The cutting edge is the knife, then the way the overall item called a knife brings the edge to bear on what it is cutting or shaping determiners the overall quality, design, edge holding ability and the way we use the tool called a knife. That means a knife can be very useful in making your life better, easier, safer and more enjoyable.
A real fantasy some day is that we no longer use what we now call a knife but instead use a phaser or something like that to cut and shape with. We do not know what the future will bring?
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For morethoughts on limited edition and commemorative knives go here.
How can you tell if you have a "First Production Run" Hibben knife? Go here.
Other Gil Hibben knives that have been produced by United in the past and present.
Pro Guide Hunter
Negotiator II Shoulder Harness
Kenpo II Karate
Pro Folder Liner Lock The first Hibben folder made by United.
Pro Thrower Axe
Thrower I, II, III
Presentation Dagger with genuine Abalone pearl inlays.
Rambo III Bowie at 16" overall
Miniature Rambo III Bowie at 6-1/2" overall
Gil Hibben - The Man and His Knives by C. Houston Price
Gil Hibben speaks a bit about making his wonderful creations in: Shoptalk
See select pieces of Gil's handy work in: Showcase
Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders. No such use, or the use of any trade names, is intended to convey endorsement or other affiliation.
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