The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
Not all collectors were around in the 80's and early 90's to see the prices of pocket knives go through the roof. Many of my older friends, lol those I have known a long time not old people, will attest to the fact that we sold knives we did not want to sell. We all knew the end would come sometime and we could buy it again and still make good money. Sure enough, it did.
There has only been one knife (IMO) that from day one sold for a set amount and to this day I have not seen it waiver more than 50.00. The Case Sidewinder. 300 then, 300 now.
In the 90's you could buy a Case Classic for a song. In the early 2000's you needed a mortgage to buy a few of them. Today they are a mix, the rares command a price, the rest are even reasonable enough to use.
Last year, I divested a few of mine because I needed some space in the safe and also because they were sought after and commanded a price I could not pass up.
So, is your collection just for your enjoyment or are you hedging bets that it may be a retirement plan?
Are you paying the aftermarket mark up price, right out of the box or are you waiting for them to fall back near the original price?
Is it the chase or the purchase you enjoy?
There is no right or wrong answer. I always say I don't care what or how you collect, if your a knife collector there will always be a spot at our table.
I am guessing I have paid roughly $7000 for my collection as a whole. Bad and good. Last time I priced it out at average Ebay prices, it was worth $12000. I love my knives. I play with them, fondle them, stress over what I will carry today...but I also look at collector value. This will either be my legacy to my son, or a chunk of my retirement fund. I won't buy *only* for value...but I will buy for value and what I like.
Most of my Schrade collection consists of the chase variety. I'll watch and wait until the right price or opportunity comes along. Many of the knives I've acquired usually listed at a "buy now" that is higher than I can afford. When they do come up for auction that is when I try to get them. I enjoy knowing I got a "good deal " almost as much as I enjoy the knife. The exception are my Herman Williams knives. However, if I am supplying the knife to be customized, I still wait for "the deal" to come along. The GEC's I've collected are a different matter. They seem to rarely sell below their initial release price and they are released in such small amounts that some are nearly impossible to find at any price. Another factor that I am keenly aware off is that price matters very little when it's the last knife needed to complete a collection of a particular model. Traditional knife values have fallen dramatically since I started collecting so hopefully the knives I got at great prices will help to even this out. I don't collect for investment, but for enjoyment. With that said, I doubt anyone likes to see their collection worth less that what they paid.
For me ... it's a hobby (albeit an expensive one ... but, thankfully, I have no other "vices"). And ... much of my joy comes from the chase. If I were to view my knives as an investment, it would be far less enjoyable, as they ALL would be safe queens. My father-in-law (in his 90s) collects coins. In the 44 years I have known him, he has always insisted that they are an investment. He refuses to admit that it is a hobby for him, in spite of the fact he has never sold a single coin (and he has 3 safes full of them). His daughter isn't into coins, his son isn't into coins and to me, a coin is something you put into a vending machine! So, he must think he is going to live forever ... since they are an "investment"!!! I'm upfront with folks. Don't really care if I pay more than I should for something I really want, doesn't bother me much if I sell something for less than I paid ... it is all about the enjoyment that comes from acquiring, admiring and/or using a knife I like. When I grow tired of one, I sell it or gift it so someone else can enjoy it.
I don't have a lot of knives 15/20 which isn't a lot for a collection I guess . It is a lot for a user though , I certainly never expected to own so many . I do enjoy my knives and don't expect them to make money it is just satisfying to have a nice knife in your pocket .
I'm more into collecting than using at present and like the pack rat I'm attracted to shiny things. I have been doing a lot of research on the many different brands and styles of knives and there are many to choose from.
As to value, there's only one that I have that has any value and that being the Gerber Chameleon II. I don't have an edc as I have no need for one. I do like for the knives I do collect to be reliable should the need arise.
That makes me very selective as what type of knife I'm prone to collect. I manage to get some extra income from time to time and that's when I go on the hunt. For me its the chase and then the purchase. You might say mission accomplished when my latest purchase arrives at my door.......... :)
As to gaining value over time. I'd be long gone from this world before my collection was worth any more than what I paid for them and probably less........ lol.
like you we collect what we like. I have kind of a strange way of thinking about our collection. The kids did not spend anything on it so whatever they get out of it is a profit for them LOL. The note in the safe tells them who to call to get a fair offer whether they wholesale or auction.
I do not foresee a point where we would sell it off, it is something we have always enjoyed doing together. I am sure over all it is worth a little more than we paid for it. Realistically, we bought knives beginning 40 years ago so a good many of those have all edged up a bit. The GEC collection we started and bought heavy for the first 5 years after the company opened. Those are holding strong and I feel will always be at or slightly above purchase. So all in all it may turn out to have been an investment. It certainly turned out to be fun and whatever the kids get, they get LOL
I look at it several different ways, I enjoy the hunt for the deals, I like searching through stuff hoping to find the "buried treasure". I've never been one to spend a lot on an individual knife and keep my purchases low as possible. I have both old and new knives and enjoy them all equally. I carry a knife in my pocket every day and sometimes have a hard time using it because it's my nice knife....sorry, I know it's a tool and is made to be used. I just enjoy looking at them, cleaning them, setting them up in my new cabinet. Investment...not here, just enjoy the collection.
Great topic Jan. I have bought and sold for years now, and all in all I have likely broke even. Some great investments, some terrible ones. The super rare high dollar knives that become lookers and safe queens are good for investment, but as any collector will tell you, its hard to make big money on knives unless you are seriously investing the time, education and effort. There are a number of folks that do it, but its a lot of work. Im like a lot of folks, i have a small personal collection of certain brands and styles of cutlery that I like and truly enjoy the chase. Others i buy, use for a while, then sell and move on. If i can get close to even on those, or make a little off them, thats great. I chose several years ago to never build up a collection my family could not handle if something happened to me. I helped my best friends widow sell off his massive mixed up collection, and I swore to never put my wife or kids in that position. But, they have learned who to talk to for help or advice, and hopefully would sell at a decent rate or pass it on to the family or maybe some of it to a museum. I love to carry what I own, so the safe queens never seem to last long, except for the personal collection. So after all this babbling, my whole point? Get out there, enjoy the hobby whatever suits you best, and educate others where you can. As we all know, this is a great hobby! Pass it along!
" is your collection just for your enjoyment or are you hedging bets that it may be a retirement plan"
I"m retired already. The collection is likely to be passed on to my grandson....It takes a lot of time to sell some of the knives which are less desirable. You may think a collection is worth more dollars till you sit there at a flea market and try to sell it piece by piece.
The high end knives are the ones that carry most of the value of my collection. You could call it a way to diversify investments but a poor way to do that. Knives I buy at a higher price seem to me to be underpriced. Some less expensive recent knives such as Canal Streets are real sleepers but may not reach really high values for 25 or more years. My retirement is already taken care of and I have to do something with the extra cash. Better than collecting Beanie Babies or stamps. Invest for retirement through a 401K or some low priced stock plan ..be a Boggle head...use John Boggle type investments...low priced broadly based indexed funds , etc.
Enjoyment primarily for me, investment secondary. Will go to my son, most likely, but I must admit to a small degree of pride/pleasure when I consider the worth of the collection. Not everyone likes what I collect, but I do and that's all that really counts! LOL. I think collecting can be both.