There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about Cotton Sampler Knives. Most I’ve been able to find out it’s an old knife pattern that was mostly used to cut into a bale of cotton to obtain a sample to evaluate how much trash was in the bale.
Levine’s Guide To Knives And Their Values has a short article about Cotton Samplers on page 134. He shows photos of a Remington and J. Russell. He claims the cotton sampler is a cousin of the pruning knife. He confirms what I mention above that it was used by cotton buyers to cut samples out of cotton bales. He reports that there is a lot of collector interest in the older cotton sampler knives.
There is a new American made Cotton Sampler pocket knife in town. It is a collaboration between Queen Cutlery and knife maker Joe Pardue. Limited edition. Only 400 made. Torched Sambar stag handle. Mirror polished blade. More information about this beautiful knife at Lee’s Cutlery