How to Date John Primble Knives: Expert Tips Revealed

how to date john primble knives

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To date John Primble knives, examine the tang stamp on the blade for specific company markings. Consult a John Primble dating chart to match the markings with production dates.

John Primble knives have become treasured collectibles for knife enthusiasts worldwide. Their legacy, tied to the Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing Company, offers a rich history to explore. Enthusiasts and collectors seek to pinpoint the age of their knives using established guidelines.

With careful examination of hallmarks and a deep dive into the available resources, dating these knives can be both a rewarding and insightful endeavor. The pursuit often begins with a close look at the tang stamp, which varies over the decades. Recognizing the distinct characteristics of each era’s stamping can lead to an accurate estimate of the knife’s origin and age. Collecting John Primble knives involves not just an appreciation of craftsmanship, but also an understanding of the brand’s historical context.

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The Brand’s Heritage And Significance

Unfolding the rich tapestry of John Primble knives is like a journey through time, revealing a legacy of craftsmanship and a name that resonates with quality in the cutlery world. An emblem of American tradition, John Primble knives not only represent a chapter of history but also hold a special place in the hearts of collectors. Let’s delve into the storied past of this esteemed brand and discover why it’s an unrivaled piece of collectible Americana.

Brief History Of John Primble

John Primble, a name synonymous with durability and quality, was actually the house brand for Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing, a company that flourished in Louisville, Kentucky. While John Primble himself was a fictitious character, the brand’s inception dates back to the late 19th century, marking it as one of the oldest knife trademarks under Belknap’s portfolio. These knives were manufactured by different makers over the years, yet they consistently held to the high standards set out by Belknap.

It was under this seal that numerous types of knives were churned out, including pocket knives, hunting knives, and utility knives, each painstakingly crafted to meet the needs of their users. With a reputation for exceptional edge retention and robust construction, John Primble knives became a staple for many.

Importance In Knife Collector’s Community

The allure of John Primble knives extends far beyond their functional use, having cemented their place within the knife collector’s community. Their scarcity, due to the closure of Belknap in 1986, has only intensified their appeal. Collectors often seek out these knives for several reasons:

  • The tangible quality that dates back to an era when cutlery was handcrafted with painstaking detail.
  • The uniqueness of each knife, considering their manufacture by various companies but still unified under the John Primble name.
  • The nostalgic value that connects collectors with a bygone age of American industry and craftsmanship.
  • The challenge and thrill in tracing the lineage of each knife, unearthing its history and perhaps unlocking a story or two of its past.

As a testament to their enduring legacy, many enthusiasts treasure these knives as heirlooms, valuing not just the blade itself but also the storytelling embodied within each piece. For knife aficionados, owning a John Primble is akin to holding a fragment of history in your hand, a slice of a tradition that speaks volumes of American heritage.

Decoding Blade Markings

Are you captivated by the allure of vintage knives? If so, one of the most thrilling aspects of collecting John Primble knives is the challenge of dating each piece. This involves a fascinating journey into the history etched onto the blades themselves. Understanding and interpreting the unique blade markings of John Primble knives can not only provide you with a historical timeline but can also unveil the story behind each knife’s creation.

Explain The Significance Of Blade Markings

On a John Primble knife, blade markings are far more than mere symbols or text; they serve as a historical fingerprint. These markings can reveal the date of manufacture, the location of the factory where the knife was produced, and sometimes even the individual craftsmen responsible for its creation. In the world of knife collecting, these markings help determine the rarity, authenticity, and value of a knife.

How To Locate And Interpret Them

To start interpreting blade markings, you first need to locate them. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to uncover the historical treasures hidden on your John Primble knife:

  1. Examine Your Knife – Start by closely inspecting the base of the blade near the handle. Clean the blade if necessary to reveal any hidden markings.
  2. Identify the Markings – Look for any characters, numbers, or symbols that have been stamped or etched onto the blade.
  3. Decoding the Symbols – Use available resources such as collector’s guides, online forums, or historical catalogs to decode the symbolism. The John Primble brand used a variety of distinct markings over the years, each symbolizing different production periods.
  4. Reference Production Dates – By cross-referencing the markings with historical production dates, you can estimate the era your knife was crafted.

For those truly passionate about their collection, a thorough understanding and analysis of blade markings can lead to a more profound appreciation of their John Primble knives. A handy reference table or chart can be invaluable for this process:

Additional rows can be added below as required

Marking Approximate Date Range Significance
BELKNAP HDW 1940-1968 Manufactured for Belknap Hardware & Manufacturing
John Primble India Steel Works 1910-1940 High-carbon steel, premium line

Pro Tip: For a comprehensive analysis, consult multiple sources and collectors. This not only ensures accuracy but also enriches your knowledge about the collectibles.

Handle And Materials

The handle of a knife is not just a functional part that allows for a firm grip; it is also a canvas that reflects the era of its creation. John Primble knives are no exception. Over the years, these knives have featured various materials in their handles, each telling a story of the craftsmanship and resources available during different manufacturing periods.

Collectors and enthusiasts often examine these handles to date and appraise their John Primble treasures. Let’s delve into the evolution of handle materials and what they signify about the rich history of these knives.

Different Materials Used In The Handles Over Time

John Primble knives boast a diverse range of handle materials, each transition marking a chapter in their illustrious history. Some of the key materials incorporated into their handles over the years include:

  • Bone: Traditionally used for its durability and unique pattern, bone handles are often synonymous with older, classic John Primble knives.
  • Wood: Known for its rich texture and warmth, wooden handles signify a period when natural materials were more commonly used in knife production.
  • Stag: Highly prized for its rugged beauty and sturdiness, stag handles appear on some of the most sought-after collectible models.
  • Synthetic materials: Introduction of synthetic materials, such as celluloid and Delrin, indicate a shift to modern production methods and are often seen in knives from the mid-20th century onwards.

What These Materials Indicate About Manufacturing Periods

The materials used for the handles of John Primble knives are indicative of the evolving technologies and fashion trends of their respective eras. By examining these materials, one can roughly estimate the knife’s production period:

Material Estimated Manufacturing Period
Bone Early 20th century or before
Wood Late 19th to mid-20th century
Stag Early to mid-20th century
Celluloid 1930s to 1950s
Delrin 1960s to present

In the hands of an experienced collector, the handle of a John Primble knife becomes a chronological marker. It’s not just about appraising the knife, but appreciating the embodiment of an era’s quintessential materials and craftsmanship.

Analyze The Tang Stamp’s Evolution

Welcome to the intriguing world of John Primble knives where each stamp and etching tells a story. If you’re a knife enthusiast interested in vintage collectibles, you may have come across the renowned John Primble knife brand. Dating these historic pieces can be quite an adventure, as it involves a dive into the detailed examination of tang stamps – the key to unlocking the age of the knife.

The tang stamp on a John Primble knife is not just a manufacturer’s mark; it’s a timeline that reflects the company’s history and legacy. Let’s slice through the details and explore how these small stamps can yield big clues about the age of your John Primble knife.

Description Of Tang Stamps’ Changes Through Years

The evolution of tang stamps on John Primble knives is a window into the brand’s rich past. Here’s an overview of the key changes:

  • Early Period: The earliest stamps bear the straightforward “John Primble” name, often accompanied by the city of manufacture.
  • Middle Years: As the company evolved, so did the stamps, with additional details like “Belknap Hardware Co.”
  • Later Years: More elaborate designs appeared, including trademark symbols, specific model numbers, and additional geographic notations.

Collectors have documented these changes meticulously, creating a timeline that aligns with various eras in the company’s production. From simple hand-stamped markings to more sophisticated, machine-pressed imprints, the complexity and variety of tang stamps grew in tandem with John Primble’s reputation for quality craftsmanship.

Correlation With Manufacturing Dates

Dating a John Primble knife involves matching its tang stamp to a corresponding period of manufacture. Here’s how collectors make the connection:

  1. Analyze the Characteristics: Examine the font, layout, and additional elements such as logos or symbols.
  2. Consult Reference Materials: Use catalogs, company records, and collector databases to find matches.
  3. Look for Patterns: Notice recurring features that signify specific decades or years of production.

Through this analysis, a correlation emerges between specific tang stamps and manufacturing dates. For example, a John Primble knife with a particular logo known to have been used in the 1920s immediately narrows down the knife’s date to that decade.

Stamp Feature Description Approximate Date Range
John Primble & Belknap Inc. Company collaboration marking 1910-1940
Steel types (e.g., “India Steel Works”) Introduction of particular steel compositions 1930s-1950s
Patent numbers Stamps including patent information Post-1950s

Seeking out these subtle yet significant details, knife collectors and enthusiasts can often pinpoint the origin period of their John Primble knives with remarkable accuracy.

Consult Collector’s Guides

Initiating the quest to date a John Primble knife is both exhilarating and daunting. Collector’s guides stand as invaluable compendiums encapsulating years of research and data. Donning a detective’s hat, these guides help you dive into the trademark nuances, styles, and markings that signal the era of manufacture for John Primble knives. Armed with the right guide, you can authenticate and date your prized possession with confidence. Using collector’s guides effectively is the key to unlocking the mysteries of your vintage blade.

Popular Guides And How To Use Them

The treasure trove of collector’s guides for John Primble knives is extensive, with several esteemed publications making the list. The most sought-after guides include titles like “The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives” by C. Houston Price and “John Primble Knives: A Collector’s Reference” authored by an expert in the field.

  • “The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives” – A comprehensive resource detailing manufacturers, patterns, and pricing.
  • “John Primble Knives: A Collector’s Reference” – An exclusive delve into the world of John Primble knives, covering their history and variations across different periods.

To use these guides, start by identifying the knife’s distinct features, such as the pattern number, handle material, and blade characteristics. Cross-reference these details with the information provided in the guide to pinpoint the knife’s era.

Tips For Assessing Knife’s Period Through Guides

Assessing a knife’s period requires attention to detail and a systematic approach. Start with a careful examination of the knife in question. Look for specific markings or stampings on the blade that are often indicative of a time period. Collector’s guides offer detailed illustrations and descriptions to match these markings.

  • Document all identifying features on your knife, including blade lengths, handle materials, and any unique embellishments.
  • Match your findings with historical data presented in guides, noting the span of years when similar characteristics were prevalent.
  • Be aware of reproductions or counterfeit pieces that may mimic old-age designs. These guides usually provide tips on distinguishing originals from fakes.

Cross-referencing with multiple guides can help corroborate your dating findings, ensuring a more accurate assessment. A well-maintained guide also includes price estimates, which can be invaluable if you’re considering buying or selling a vintage John Primble knife.

Reach Out To Knife Experts

Embarking on the journey to accurately date John Primble knives can be thrilling for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Establishing the era of your vintage blade not only adds to its story but also to its value. To ensure precision in dating your John Primble knives, leveraging the knowledge of knife experts is a crucial step in the process. These aficionados have spent years honing their expertise and can assist in pinpointing the exact period your knife was crafted.

Benefits Of Professional Opinions

Seeking a professional opinion comes with numerous advantages:

  • Accuracy: Experts utilize their extensive knowledge and available resources to offer accurate assessments.
  • Authentication: Professionals help in authenticating your knife, ensuring that it isn’t a counterfeit.
  • Valuation: Experts can provide a current market valuation, which is vital for insurance or resale.
  • Preservation: Receive advice on proper care and preservation tailored to the specific age and material of your knife.

Where To Find Knife Experts

Reputable knife experts can be found through a variety of channels:

  1. Knife Shows: These events are a goldmine for connecting with seasoned collectors and industry specialists.
  2. Collector Clubs: Membership in knife collecting clubs often gives access to a network of knowledgeable individuals.
  3. Online Forums: Platforms like BladeForums host a community of knife enthusiasts, many of whom are eager to share their insights.
  4. Antique Shops: Owners and staff may have the expertise or connections to professional appraisers specialized in knives.
  5. Social Media Groups: There are numerous groups and pages dedicated to knife collecting that offer expertise.

Connecting with these experts usually involves attending shows, participating in forums, or reaching out to club members. Always ensure to carry detailed photographs or the knife itself when seeking professional advice. A hands-on examination often yields the most accurate results.

Proper Knife Care And Maintenance

Whether you’ve recently acquired a treasured John Primble knife or you’re a seasoned collector, knowing how to properly care for your knives is paramount. The longevity and performance of these vintage pieces hinge on routine maintenance, which not only preserves their functionality but also maintains their value over time. Let’s delve into some expert recommendations and maintenance tips to ensure that your John Primble knives remain in pristine condition.

Maintenance Tips To Keep Knives In Original Condition

Maintaining your John Primble knives involves a series of steps that help to prevent wear and tear, corrosion, and damage. Follow these guidelines to keep your knives in original condition:

  • Clean after use: Wipe your knife with a soft, damp cloth after each use and dry it immediately to prevent moisture from damaging the blade or handle.
  • Oil the joints: Apply a drop of oil to the pivot points to keep the folding mechanism smooth and to prevent rust.
  • Store properly: Use a knife roll, case, or a display box to avoid scratches and exposure to humidity.
  • Sharpen carefully: Use a whetstone or sharpening steel designed for fine-edged blades and follow the manufacturer’s angle guidelines for sharpening.
  • Handle with care: Avoid using your collectible knives for heavy-duty tasks that could chip the blade or damage the handle.

Products And Methods Recommended By Experts

Experts in knife maintenance suggest a selection of products and methods tailored to the care of high-quality knives like John Primble’s:

Product/Method Use Advantages
Mineral oil Blade and handle conditioning Non-toxic and prevents rust
Microfiber cloth Cleaning and drying Gentle on metal and reduces scratch risk
Knife roll/case Storage Protects from dust and moisture
Camellia oil Protective coating Used for centuries to maintain samurai swords
Professional sharpening service Sharpening Ensures the correct angle and preservation of the blade’s integrity

Using these recommended products and adhering to proven methods plays a crucial role in the upkeep of your John Primble knives. Not only do these tips ensure your knife’s functionality, but they also contribute to retaining its historical and monetary value.

Display And Storage Best Practices

Display and Storage Best Practices for John Primble knives are critical in preserving their historical value and condition. Collectors and enthusiasts understand that these timeless pieces not only embody craftsmanship and utility but also tell a story of American heritage. To showcase and safeguard your knives adequately, adopting the correct methods of display and storage is essential.

How To Display Knives Without Devaluing Them

Exhibiting John Primble knives can enhance the aesthetic of any collection, yet it’s vital to do so in a way that doesn’t compromise their value. Follow these guidelines to ensure your knives are displayed attractively while maintaining their pristine condition:

  • Use knife stands or racks that provide support without exerting pressure on the blade or handle. Make certain the stand material is soft and non-abrasive.
  • Consider UV-protected display cases to shield knives from sunlight, reducing the risk of fading and deterioration.
  • Keep knives away from high traffic areas where they could be bumped or knocked over.
  • Ensure that knives do not touch each other in the display to prevent scratches or damage to the blades and handles.
  • Regularly dust and clean the display area with a soft, dry cloth to maintain a clear view and prevent the accumulation of potentially harmful particles.

Always handle your knives with clean, dry hands or wear gloves to avoid transferring oils and acids that can corrode the metal over time.

Ideal Storage Conditions To Prevent Aging

When knives aren’t on display, proper storage is paramount to prevent aging and maintain the integrity of John Primble knives. Adhere to these storage conditions to prolong the life and beauty of your collection:

  • Store knives in a cool, dry place where temperature and humidity levels remain constant. Extremes in temperature can cause expansion and contraction, leading to damage.
  • Avoid storing knives in leather sheaths for long periods, as leather can attract moisture and harbor mold. Use acid-free paper to wrap the knives if needed.
  • For long-term storage, consider using a sealed container with desiccants to control moisture.
  • Inspect knives regularly for signs of rust or tarnish and apply a light coat of oil, suitable for knife preservation, to the blade.

By creating the right environment for storage, John Primble knives will continue to be captivating representations of their era, preserving their condition and value for years to come.

Spotting Replicas And Fakes

As a collector or enthusiast delving into the world of classic cutlery, John Primble knives hold a special allure. These knives are prized for their quality and historical value. Yet, with their growing popularity, the marketplace has seen an uptick in replicas and fakes. It’s crucial for collectors to distinguish authentic John Primble knives from forgeries to preserve their collections’ integrity.

Common Traits Of Counterfeit Knives

Spotting a counterfeit John Primble knife involves keen observation and a bit of know-how. Counterfeit knives often share several common characteristics that are telltale signs of their inauthenticity:

  • Materials: The quality of the materials in a fake knife is typically inferior. Authentic knives usually have high-quality steel blades and handle materials like bone or stag.
  • Workmanship: Authentic John Primble knives boast exquisite craftsmanship. If the knife has poor construction, uneven finishing, or the fit between the blade and handle seems off, this could indicate a replica.
  • Markings: The tang stamp and other markings are crucial in authenticating. Counterfeits may have misaligned stamps, incorrect font types, or even missing details that are consistent in genuine pieces.
  • Price: If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Counterfeit knives are often sold at prices that are significantly lower than the market value of genuine John Primble knives.

Other details to scrutinize include the knife’s weight, blade etchings, and the overall symmetry. Counterfeits often miss these fine details that are consistent in genuine John Primble knives.

Resources For Verifying Authenticity

To ensure the authenticity of a John Primble knife, utilize a variety of resources for verification. Here are some tools and platforms to help you along:

  1. Consult the official brand catalogues or historical books that detail specific models and years of manufacture.
  2. Join knife collector forums and communities. Seasoned collectors can offer valuable insights and may help to authenticate a knife through photos or descriptions.
  3. Check for a Certificate of Authenticity, which can sometimes accompany genuine knives.
  4. Visit reputable antique dealers who specialize in knives, as they can provide professional appraisals.

Remember to cross-reference any information you gather with multiple sources to confirm its accuracy. When in doubt, seek the expertise of a professional appraiser who is familiar with John Primble knives. Keeping these resources at your fingertips will greatly enhance your ability to spot replicas and protect your investment in the realm of vintage cutlery.

Safe Buying Tips For Collectors

Safe Buying Tips for Collectors are crucial when it comes to procuring authentic John Primble knives. Navigating the collector’s market can be like walking a tightrope, fraught with the potential for fakes and counterfeits. Understanding how to accurately date these historical cutlery pieces, and ensuring acquisitions are legitimate, can enhance not only the value of your collection but also the satisfaction of your hobby. Implement these strategies with the confidence that you are purchasing genuine collectibles, preserving the heritage of John Primble craftsmanship.

Best Practices For Purchasing Genuine John Primble Knives

Investing in John Primble knives demands a discerning eye and a meticulous approach. Due diligence is the cornerstone of smart collecting.

  • Research Thoroughly: Compile information on knife models, dates, and hallmark characteristics of Primble knives. Historical catalogs and books are invaluable assets.
  • Examine the Tang Stamp: The tang stamp on a knife’s blade should accurately reflect the era it was manufactured.
  • Inspect for Authenticity: Be vigilant for signs of tampering or modification, which can indicate a counterfeit.
  • Seek Expert Verification: When in doubt, consult with knife experts or seasoned collectors who can validate the authenticity of a piece.
  • Require Documentation: Ask the seller for any provenance or documentation that can prove the knife’s history and originality.
  • Be Cautious of Online Auctions: Pictures can be misleading; request additional photos or information when necessary.

Trusted Sources And Collector Markets

Your journey to acquire a genuine John Primble knife should lead you to trusted sources. Knowing where to shop can eliminate many of the risks associated with buying collectibles.

  • Specialty Knife Shops: Established businesses often have a reputation to uphold and can be more reliable.
  • Knife Shows: These gatherings are a hub for enthusiasts. Networking can direct you to reputable dealers.
  • Collector Forums and Clubs: Membership in these communities can offer insights and connect you with trustworthy sellers.
  • Online Marketplaces: Opt for sites with seller ratings and buyer protection policies. Verified reviews can guide your purchase.
  • Auction Houses with a Focus on Antiques: Such entities typically vet their items, providing an added layer of assurance.

Remember, a well-informed collector is a savvy buyer. Use these safe buying tips as a foundation to foster trustworthy transactions and secure genuine John Primble knives for your collection.

Join Knife Collecting Communities

Embarking on the journey to date and value John Primble knives is an experience enriched by collaboration and shared passion. Knife collecting communities, whether found online or in local clubs, serve as a treasure trove of knowledge. These forums and assemblies offer enthusiasts the platform to exchange information, tips, and insights that are invaluable in the quest to learn more about these historical pieces.

How Online Communities Can Aid In Dating And Valuing Knives

Online knife collecting communities are a hub of activity for experts and novices alike where the focus is on unpacking the rich heritage of John Primble knives. Here’s how these environments contribute:

  • Accessibility: Information on dating and valuing knives is readily available, with countless resources shared among members.
  • Identification Assistance: Experienced collectors can help identify knife patterns, marks, and other features critical for dating John Primble knives.
  • Price Guidance: Collectors discuss recent sale prices and auctions, helping you gauge the current market value.
  • Historical Context: Community discussions often encompass the historical significance of knives, which can influence their date and worth.

Benefits Of Sharing Your Knowledge With Peers

As you delve deeper into the knife collecting world, sharing your discoveries and expertise with peers has multiple benefits:

  1. It fosters growth within the community, creating a collaborative learning environment.
  2. Building networks with other collectors can lead to new opportunities and insights.
  3. Through sharing, you may receive feedback and corrections that refine your own knowledge.
  4. It promotes a culture of mentorship and support—vital for preserving the legacy of knife collecting.

Engaging in these interactive communities ensures that the art of collecting and dating knives not only remains alive but continues to thrive, connecting enthusiasts across generations and geographies.

Upcoming Events And Meetups

Welcome to the exciting world of antiquities and utility combined, where collectors and enthusiasts gather to share their passion for John Primble knives! These occasions are not just about exhibiting or trading these historical blades; they’re about immersion in a community that appreciates the intricate craftsmanship of John Primble knives. Mark your calendars and join fellow aficionados at these events to enhance your knowledge, add to your collection, or simply revel in the shared enthusiasm for these fine cutlery pieces.

Importance Of Attending Knife Shows And Auctions

Discover rare pieces and expand your collection: Knife shows and auctions are the treasure troves for collectors. Here, you’ll stumble upon rare finds and perhaps snag that elusive knife to complete your set.

Network with knowledgeable collectors: Mingling with seasoned collectors at these events could unlock insights into the finer details of identifying and dating John Primble knives. It’s an opportunity to learn from the masters of the trade.

Experience the thrill of live auctions: Nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of live auctions, where competing bids add to the excitement of acquiring a sought-after John Primble knife.

How Events Can Expand Your Understanding Of John Primble Knives

Attending dedicated events can transform a novice into a well-versed enthusiast. Listen to expert talks or engage in hands-on workshops to understand the markers of authenticity and dating of these knives.

Interactive sessions and displays offer a close look at distinguishing features, such as handle materials, blade shapes, and tang stamps, improving your capability to date knives accurately. Events also provide the perfect backdrop to discuss the evolution and historical significance of John Primble knives with like-minded individuals.

  • Inspect knife details up close
  • Learn from historical context and expert analysis
  • Understand serial numbers and datemarks

Expand your horizons and take your passion for John Primble knives to new heights by participating in these upcoming events. Keep an eye out for local meetups, annual knife shows, and regional auctions—it’s here that the story of each knife unfolds, and your knowledge deepens.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Date John Primble Knives

How Old Are John Primble Knives?

John Primble knives date back to the late 1800s, making some over 100 years old. Their production continued until the early 2000s.

What Are John Primble Knives?

John Primble knives are a line of fine cutlery once produced by the Belknap Hardware and Manufacturing Company. Renowned for their quality and collectibility, they have become a favorite among knife enthusiasts and collectors.

How Can You Date A John Primble Knife?

To date a John Primble knife, examine the tang stamp for the company logo and specific markings. These details often indicate the production era. Cross-referencing with old Belknap catalogs and collector guides also helps in pinpointing manufacture dates.

What Markings Identify John Primble Knives?

John Primble knives are identified by the “John Primble” name and a numeral code on the tang stamp. Each knife series had distinctive codes and markings that can help in identification and dating of the knife.


Wrapping up, dating John Primble knives need not be daunting. With the right resources and knowledge, anyone can master the art of identifying these collectibles. Remember to check blade stamps and consult collector guides to ensure accuracy. Your next treasure, marked by history, awaits your discovery.

Keep sharpening your dating skills and enjoy the journey into the past with every knife you examine.

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