Benchmade Monarch with black badge and with silver butterfly logo? Age estimate?

Mar 17, 2017

a friend of mine gave me a vintage Benchmade Monarch LTH 501 (thumb disk, no serrations on blade) today.
I wonder how old it is, because it differs from the Monarchs I have seen until today: Usually Monarchs had a round silver logo badge at the axis with a black "bali-song" butterfly on it. But this knife has a black logo with a silver butterfly.

He isn't a knives guy and couldn't tell me much more other than he inherited it from his grandfather's brother who died ~20-25 years ago and had a small hunting shop. He thought the knife was from 1990 because it was in a shoe box labeled with that year by his grandfather's brother.
I had one with the black circle you're describing. The top 2 in this picture came in an older Benchmade box from when the company was in Clackamas, Oregon, which was 1990-1996. The bottom one, with the black circle, came in a box that they used after moving to Oregon City, which was in 1996. The last catalog I see the Monarch in is the 1996-97 catalog, so I'm assuming they discontinued it in one of those years. I can't say for sure that they only made the black circle in Oregon City, but that would be my guess, so your knife is probably from 96 or 97.

Could be earlier than 96 since yours still has the engravings on the tang instead of the etched logo. If you have the box or paperwork you may be able to find a date on one of those showing when they were printed. Still wouldn't be a guaranteed date of when the knife was made, but it might narrow it down a bit more. It's definitely in the early to mid 90's though.
Man that's such a cool knife! Kinda has that 80's Gerber vibe to it which I like.
Yeah I like it as well. I think it is still very usable even today. I wouldn't need much more. :)

But I will keep it as an collector piece.