Why Are Black Raven Axes So Expensive: 5 Hidden Reasons

If you research axes and their market demand, the price of a black raven axe might shock you. Why are black raven axes so expensive- this is the question of many woodworking or crafting enthusiasts. This content will cover some reasons behind the expensiveness of black raven axes and eliminate all your confusion right after reading it. Check out the description of this axe, origin, value, and purpose of use, all of which determine its price.  

The Origin & History

A black raven axe is a demanded tool always considered a premium axe. In 1904, the black raven axe was firstly introduced or manufactured by a vast and reputed company Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company. This company made this axe initially at their foundry in Charleston. 

Initially, in their business, their axes had Kelly “Axe Mfg. Co.” etching under the black raven embossing directly. After a few years, the etching changed to “The American Fork and Hoe Co.” Now, the question is, why did they change the etching? American Fork and Co is the company that bought the axe company and advertised their brand. Besides, we also learned they used etching like “True Temper Kelly Works” on their axes. In addition, they also used circular raven etching on their smaller-sized axes and hatchets. 

Some of their etchings were gilded in gold color. Gold paint was used for gilding in some of the etchings on the black raven axes. Varnish and bronzing powder were used to create such color or paint. The etchings on the axes were used to determine the axe’s dates. A Kelly Manufacturing Company mark on the market suggests it is older than The American Fork and Hoe Co. You will find the black raven axes on various types like double-bit axes, single-bit felling axes, scythes, and hatchets. 

Recommended: How to Store an Axe: 13 Ways to Deal with the Task

Why Are Black Raven Axes So Expensive: Top 5 Reasons 

Though in the first place, you are surprised to know the price of black raven axes, many people think these axes are worth the cost. 

Rich History

The black raven premium axe was first manufactured by Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company, a large and exclusive axe-making company. They initiated many variants of black raven axes while maintaining the quality and standard of their brand. 


The passionate axe collectors would look for the black raven axes due to their distinctiveness. The price of this axe depends on its condition, like the other vintage axes. All the black raven axes don’t cost too much. The axes with considerable damages that need costly repairs may cost only a few dollars. On the contrary, if you find black raven axes that don’t need costly repairs and have no significant damage, they cost a high price. So, check out the condition of the black raven axe you want to purchase.  


If you would know how big and recognizable embossed the black raven axes are, you might not be surprised about the pricing of these axes. They have distinct embossing on the axe head, unlike many other axes. This sealing feature of these axes suggests the product’s authenticity or originality. While purchasing a black raven axe, you must go for an embossed one for which these axes are worth collecting.  

Premium Brand

The premium brand value of black raven axes makes them so expensive. Premium-grade axes are always attractive to collectors. The brand becomes more attractive due to the etching of gold paint, a mixture of varnish and bronzing powder. 

Read: How Long Does A Half Cord Of Wood Last: Full-On Analysis

Market Condition

It is fantastic news for the collectors that they can find black raven axes at auctions, barn sales, and flea markets for much less. In most cases, they are purchased in auctions. Audiences typically determine the price of black raven axes. Some people purchase these axes at this high rate and still think they are worth the cost. So, without this consideration, the price of these axes would not be so high. However, a black raven axe doesn’t always necessarily cost so much. As a newbie collector, you can locate Kelly Tasmanian Axes or spiller axes that don’t cost as high as a black raven axe. 

After checking out the reasons, do you still think it is a too tricky question to answer why these axes are more expensive than others? Though their rates are pretty high, many axe collector enthusiasts are still passionate about having them in their buckets for their distinctive quality features. However, the price of black raven axes sometimes fluctuates depending on variables. 

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Black Raven Axe 

You will find many replica black raven axes that many sellers sell at a high price. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify which one is the original one. The replica black raven axes sellers try to make the axes look as original as possible. So, if you are a new axe collector, you must consider some factors to differentiate between the original and the fake ones. Let’s take a look at the suggestions.

  • Check out the writings on the axes to match the manufacturer’s details.
  • Check out the dates. 
  • Look at the embossing to locate the authenticity of the axe.
  • Consult an expert before purchasing. 

Related: 6 Canny Methods on How To Prevent Wood From Splitting


When and where was the black raven axe first introduced? 

The black raven axe was first manufactured by Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company in 1904 at this company’s foundry in Charleston, West Virginia. Since that time, it has always been considered a premium axe.

Why is Kelly Axe and Tool Co. considered the best axe factory in the world?

Kelly Axe and Tool Co., the largest axe factory, acquired 53 acres. This company employed thousands of men and women and later expanded to many buildings. 

How much do I need to buy a black raven axe?

Multiple factors determine the price of a black raven axe. The axe’s condition from where it is bought mostly determines its price. A good-conditioned one may cost more than a thousand dollars. It may cost only a few dollars if the condition is not too good.

Why did the Kelly axe manufacturing company stop its axe production? 

The Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company continued its business for 80 years successfully. Unfortunately, their business became tough due to the domestic manufacturing decline. So, they stopped making axes in 1982.

How can I identify the authentic black raven axe? 

Since many replicas of black raven axes can be found, you must follow some basic things to identify the original one. Check out the dates, embossing, and writings. Try to consult an expert before purchasing a black raven axe. 

Final Words:

From the discussion above, it must be clear why black raven axes are so expensive. The collectible value of these axes indeed determines their high price. Whereas some people see it as just a simple tool and don’t want to buy this axe at such an expensive rate, some collectors value this as one of the most precious vintage axes. Its quality, distinctive features, formation, and authenticity combined are the reasons to make it a valuable vintage axe to collectors.

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

Leave a Comment