The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
I guess the first quality knife I got for collecting was my avatar photo, the Blackjack Viking Raider axe. I think it cost me about $145 at the time. They are a wee bit more expensive now. Lol.
Quality. That term has a very elusive description, at least to me. High priced with a well known name vs. low cost by an unkown or overseas company. It's like asking a man to describe a beautiful woman. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as I believe is quality. I can throw around all the top names in knives as well as those which some would consider not worth their time to look at. I have some of both with a lot in the middle. Who wouldn't like to own a custom, handmade knife that has no other like it? Or maybe a knife that is made in quantities of less than 100, or 50 or even 10?
Warranties also play a part in what makes a quality knife, in my humble opinion. One company adrvertises they will replace your knife unconditionally no matter if it is a defect in material or workmanship or if you just tossed it into a shredder. Others relace for a defect only but are still considered "top quality".
I have some Case knives but I also have Imperial, Rough Rider, Jowika, Schrade, and several others. If you are buying a knife to use, buy it as if your life will depend on it. If you are buying for a return on your investment, buy frugally. If you are buying to build a collection to share with others for admiration and to one day pass on as a legacy, buy what makes you happy. If you are buying to build a collection of "BLING", buy anything that stops people and makes them take a second look from a block away. Your wallet will be the deciding factor in the manufacturers you acquire. That's why there are so many different levels of wonderful collections all of which have their own unique beauty and charm. We've all seen pieces and collections that make us OOOOO and AAHHH in wonder and envy. But that is part of the territory and nature of the beast. We have to accept it. But it's still fun to look.
Whatever you call quality someone else may not agree. In any event, if you care for AND display your knives with pride and good taste, you will always have a high quality collection.
The first major brand knife I got was a Victorinox Tinker last month for my birthday. That is when I started collecting. Then I found a steal, CRKT M16 at a flea market for $6. I then found a Case Caliber. I will get more SAKs but as for the others I am more interested in style of knife (I like the traditional designs over the modern folders) than the name.
Expect that I will add as money is available. I might get another case but I have read some very strong arguments for Rough Riders and will be adding one soon.