Presented by Robert Ruark to Professional Hunter Harry Selby in 1952 at the beginning of their second safari together, this well-used knife is one of the most important and historical hunting artifacts ever offered to the public.
Entrusted to Sportsman’s Legacy by Mr. Selby and supported with a letter bearing his original signature, holding this knife takes one back to old Africa and a time when a 100-pound elephant might be waiting at the end of a track, black rhino crashed through the thorns, and the Mau Mau were growing restless. Equally important, it is a tangible connection to the men whose adventures together inspired some of the greatest works to be found in any hunter’s library.
Selby showed Ruark his Africa, and Ruark shared it with the rest of us in a way unequaled before or since. Selby also served as the inspiration for one of Ruark’s most memorable characters, Peter McKenzie in Something of Value. Even today, those who dream of Africa are the richer from their chance pairing of long ago.
The particulars of the knife are secondary to the hands that held it, but interesting nonetheless. A Toledo of Spanish origin, it has the requisite horn handles. The blade is eight inches long when extended and just over half that when folded. The original leather sheath is included. Overall condition is well used, but who would want it any other way?
The following is the text of the included letter bearing Mr. Selby’s original signature:
Throughout my lifetime as a professional hunter, game conservationist and wildlife photographer I have collected and retained an assortment of items that hold special meaning. From firearms to accessories and photographs, these possessions serve as tangible reminders of incredible adventures and some of the wonderful people I have been so fortunate to befriend.
Now retired and following much reflection, I have decided it is time to pass along some of this memorabilia to others who appreciate the unequaled magic of Africa and her spectacular big game.
This Spanish knife was given to me by Bob and Ginny Ruark on their second safari, after visiting Spain where they eventually settled. They presented this unique knife to me upon our arrival at our first camp on the Grumetti River, near Fort Ikoma, in 1952.
It is my sincere wish that the new owner will cherish this item, enjoying it as much as I have through the years. Most importantly, I hope it will bring a small piece of Africa into home and heart.
With fond regards,
August 6, 2016
Along with the three other Selby-owned knives not affiliated with Ruark, this one is currently up for auction at gunbroker.com (auction number 607486542). Additionally, it is worth noting that 100 percent of the proceeds from these sales will be presented directly to Mr. Selby, now in his 90th year.
Those interested in more information are invited to contact Sportsman’s Legacy at [email protected].