Al left Gerber in 1979 to start Al Mar Knives, and quickly developed a loyal following and a solid reputation for quality. He had Seki in Japan manufacture most of his knives. Tragically, Al Mar passed away in October of 1992. He was 54 years old. The new owners have now discontinued most of the original models and moved to other makers on the remaining models. This leaves the knives made while Al was in control of the company very desirable and collectible.
Regarding serial numbered Al Mar's: From the day that Al started producing knives (1979) he ordered 200 from the factory on the first run. When those 200 came in they were sent out to the dealers. If the dealers response was good then Al ordered some more. If the dealers response was bad then that was the end of the knife in production. Either way good or bad that means that there are only 200 serial numbered Al Mar's of every knife that he produced. This of course makes each one of these pre-production knives very desirable.