Your original knuckles appear ground dug and possibly slightly flattened/modified on each side of the guards (I can’t really see that bit too well in the pics). It would have been a grooved handled Au Lion variant as seen in this hread The U.S. M1918 Mk. I Trench Knife Thread. I have not viewed a grooved handle variant being faked as of yet. Due to the handles “well-used” condition they are starters for a new collector or one of those collectors who like the “salty, been there look” (code for: what is affordable).
Thanks Lance for that reference thread. Great pic's and as always ,Very Informative!
I forgot to mention, I bought it yesterday for 80USD at an antique store I found in Norfolk, VA
Does it look ground dug? Maybe it was the pictures I took It just looks really oxidized to me with a few pitts, has that really great not-messed with patina.
I used the term "ground dug" because of the deep pitting/oxidation you have referred too. I could have just as well used "Barn Find" or some other “salty-esque” term to indicate it was not stored in a dry shoebox/footlocker. To naturally achieve that type of corrosion or "patina" one usually has to bury or immerse the item in soil and have the item exposed for quite some time. Of course too, the casting could have been flawed when it was first made and that is where the visible wear has originated. Hope that answers your question on my use of the term “ground dug.”