Collecting Rambo Knives: Values, History and Tips

How to collect Rambo knives

Randy Rousseau and a few items from his comprehensive Rambo collection, including the Rambo 2 Mission Knife, Sylvester Stallone’s screen-used First Blood poncho and the shirt (on mannequin at left) Stallone wore throughout filming. Rousseau is most likely the premier collector of screen-used artifacts from the career of Stallone. Most of the items he acquired directly from Stallone.

Editor’s Note: This article is part of Rambo Week here on blademag.com. Download the Rambo-themed issue of BLADE magazine here.

When it comes to collecting Rambo movie knives and movie props, Randy Rousseau takes a back seat to no one. A personal acquaintance of Sylvester Stallone’s, Mr. Rousseau has a collection of all things Rambo unlike any other anywhere.

On the 35th anniversary of First Blood, Rambo and Rambo knives in general, he was gracious enough to grant a special BLADE® interview about his collection, Rambo movie knife values, some little known facts about Rambo knives and much more.

BLADE: What are the values of the original versions of each Rambo knife?

RANDY ROUSSEAU: The original First Blood knives serial numbered one through six are “priceless.” They are screen used and iconic, are owned by Stallone and are in his personal collection.

Numbers seven through 13 are worth anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 each, and numbers 14 to 100 are worth anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 each, depending on the number.

Give values for each knife in mint condition.

The first numbers from the Rambo II: The Mission knife sent to Stallone are iconic and from his personal collection. They are also screen used and are “priceless.” Rambo: First Blood, Part 2 was the highest grossing film in the series, which adds to the value from a film-prop collector’s point of view. The rest of the numbers up to 100 sold to collectors for between $25,000 to $50,000 each, depending on the serial number.

How many of each original version of each custom Rambo knife were made?

According to Jack Lucarelli’s book, James B. Lile: The Arkansas Knifesmith, Knifemaker to the World, 13 were made. That’s correct and matches the correct version used by Stallone in the movie, plus the model marked “1 of 1 RAVEN.”

Jimmy Like Rambo movie knife

The Jimmy Lile Raven 1 of 1 Mission knife and the headband Stallone wore in the second Rambo movie. In the fi lm, Rambo removes a piece of the dress of the female character of Kos to make the headband. (from the Randy Rousseau collection)

How many of the original First Blood knives were damaged during the making of the movie?

Only one was damaged in filming and the others did survive. For more information see the video below. The knife in that video sold for $90,000.

How much is one of the first seven First Blood knives worth if in mint condition?

$75,000.

Do all of the original First Blood knives still exist or do you know?

Yes. They are in private collections.

Are the First Blood knives with the Jim Buff aloe sheaths more valuable and if so, how much more?

Yes. Five thousand dollars more each.

How much are the unnumbered First Blood custom knives worth in mint condition?

Five thousand to $7,000 each.

What is one of the first 100 Rambo II: The Mission custom knives worth in mint condition?

$25,000 to $50,000, depending on the serial number.

How much is one of the 25 Mission custom knives with black blades worth, in mint condition?

Anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000.

How much are each of the unnumbered Mission custom knives worth in mint condition?

Three thousand to $5,000 each.

How many of the custom Gil Hibben knives actually used in Rambo III were made, and how much is each worth in mint condition?

Six. All are “priceless,” screen used and owned by Stallone, and iconic.

Knife from Rambo III

The Gil Hibben Rambo III Raven 1 of 1 (top) with Stallone’s prop custom-made-for-production, screen-used aluminum prop knife (bottom) from Rambo III. (from the Randy Rousseau collection)

You mentioned something about there being two serial number 19 Rambo knives. Were those Liles and if so, please explain why there are two.

Yes, the Mission knife. The original serial number 19 had some issues and was sent back to Jimmy. Rather than repairing it right away, he made another serial number 19 and sent it to the collector. Years later after Jimmy passed away the original 19 had been repaired and sold. The 19 is rare because it’s the only duplicate number in all of the Rambo saga of knives.

Who has them and what are they worth?

I own one of them. The second/replacement number 19 is the rarest of the set of 100 because it’s the only duplicate of the series. It’s worth $50,000. The other number 19 sold on the Internet a few years back for $38,000.

The knife used by Jim Bowie in the Sandbar Fight inspired scores of emulators in both Sheffield, England, and the USA in the 19th century, and the Rambo knife did the same by knifemakers and knife companies worldwide. Is the Rambo knife the modern-day equivalent of Jim Bowie’s knife in terms of popularity?

Yes, 100 percent, due in large part to its being used as a reference in popular culture.

Sylvester Stallone First Blood dog tags

The dog tags worn by Stallone in First Blood next to the Jimmy Lile First Blood 1 of 1 Raven. (from the Randy Rousseau collection)

In your opinion, is the Rambo knife less popular than Bowie’s knife, about the same or more so, and why?

More so. The Rambo knife has worldwide appeal. Nothing will ever come close. It was a moment in time, like lightning in a bottle. It made such an impression on the generation and inspired so many to go into the prop business for films and/or the knife-collecting world. I know folks who have a likeness of the Mission knife tattooed on their body.

It really inspired a generation that put serious interest into the knife industry. Never had we seen a character on film use such an elegant knife in this manner. And after all these years, nothing on film comes close to the Rambo knives seen in the four movies.

What do Jim Bowie’s knife and the Rambo knife have in common?

Their impact on culture. Each is famous for its influence on the knife industry and the public.

How are they different?

They are from different times but defined a generation, like Elvis and Michael Jackson did their generations.

How did the Rambo knife change the custom and factory knife industries?

It brought major interest back to the knife-collector side and created an entire industry of replicas for the common fan. I have been told that the Rambo movies saved the knife business, and with the movies still getting major viewers on cable and downloadable services, the interest is still very strong.

Are there any issues or stories concerning the Rambo knives that you know of that have never been addressed or that are rarely addressed that you think need addressing?

Yes, the Rambo III “Rescue” knife that was used on screen in the minefield. It’s a beautiful version that really doesn’t get a lot of interest but is a very cool Rambo knife. It sort of ties the gap between the first two films to the Rambo III main version from a design point of view.

Also, Jimmy Lile made a 1 of 1 for Stallone with his code name RAVEN on a First Blood version and a Rambo II Mission version. Extremely rare, they are the only 1 of 1 Lile Ravens in existence. In keeping with the Raven theme, Gil Hibben was asked to produce the same for the Rambo III knife. It is marked Raven 1 of 1.

And again for the fourth film, the Rambo IV knife was made and marked Raven 1 of 1, making this the only complete 1-of-1 set in the world from all four films.

Knife used in Rambo IV movie

Rambo IV Gil Hibben movie knife (left) with Stallone’s custom-made rubber prop knife (center) and custom-made aluminum prop knife (right)—the latter two both screen used in the fourth movie. (from the Randy Rousseau collection)

Can’t Get Enough Rambo?

knives used in the rambo movies

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One thought on “Collecting Rambo Knives: Values, History and Tips

  1. Jackjosh

    I have 3 that have the signiture a old man bought back in the early 90s and swore they are real. .. please shoot me a text if you can help me identify. (785) 285-6514

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