The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
A couple of decades ago we could open a book or two and get a fair idea of what that knife had been selling for in the last year. Well, no such easy process exists for us now.
We constantly get questions about value and we do our best to research what has recently sold online. That process works rather well for manufactured knives and even a few current and prolific custom makers. Not so well for older knives that are not readily available, lesser known manufactures or other customs. It also does not take into account what the knives may be selling for at a show.
How do YOU determine the value of a knife?
Hi Jan -
I typically will surf the web and the forums to see if I can find the knife having been sold previously. Ebay "sold listings" filter is a good resource and you can always see the final sale price there.
If I can't find the specific knife, I'll search for similar knives from the same manufacturer, but take into account "special editions" or limited production etc.
I have not sold too many knives in the past, so I am typically looking to see how much a knife is selling for before I buy one.
Never sold a knife, but when looking to buy, I look for the MSRP, if applicable, and relative availability.
Been known to pay a few dollars more, for a knife at a show because I'm able to physically handle it and judge it's fit and finish.
Ugh. So many things to take into account now with the newer knives and companies. Blade steel and how popular it CURRENTLY is, handle materials, limited runs and editions, different runs for different retailers, warranty work and what you are allowed to do to fix your knife without voiding it, with or without paperwork or box, current popularity of the company itself, popularity of the designer, re-releases of discontinued styles....
The secondary market fluctuates so very much now, and with Facebook, a maker/company can be riding high only to have a bad review or make a dumb comment and suddenly they can't give their stuff away. Pretty much, nowadays, it is worth what someone will pay for it.
Andy, thanks for the eBay tip, I'd not seen the "sold for" tab, but I'll be using it in the future!
JJ, I've done that too. But it can help build relationships with vendors & can just be good support for them, so I think there's legitimate value there, nothing to be ashamed of.
Jan & Manx, I totally agree with your points! Things are much less clear cut these days. It's fun to watch a knife on eBay not sell for one "buy it now" price, get relisted with a lower price, then sell for a significantly higher price than the last auction cycle (& a little frustrating at times too).
Admittedly I'm more into contemporary production knives, but occasionally I try to track down out-of-production models, which can be difficult to price in their own right. Overall it really does seem to be an issue of doing internet research (Google, knife forums, eBay, anywhere else that might pop up), to get somewhat of a general idea. From there, the market takes over, & it really is an issue of the value being what you can sell/buy it for.
It's much more of a pure market system these days than ever before, and it's because no one has a definitive price guide. This has definitely led some sellers to sell a knife for less than they'd hoped, & for buyers to pay more on knives at times. On the upside, sometimes sellers can get more for a knife than they expect (because they can access more buyers from a larger geographic area) , & sometimes buyers can get better deals on the specific knives they are looking for than ever before (because there are more choices than ever before).
Regardless, patience is more necessary for both buyers & sellers. If you're determined to sell a knife at a certain price, keep it listed for a while. If you're determined not to buy a knife above a certain price, keep looking around. Time also gives both buyers & sellers the ability to adjust their expectations, up or down, which can also be an advantage.
Recently I've been collecting a particular production knife that seemed to have a lot of variations in 2007 that were limited to that year, so I've been putting this into practice lately. Also, I stumbled upon a seller on eBay who had some out of production Cold Steel Finn Wolf fixed blade knives -- more expensive than when they were in production, but less expensive than I'd expect -- & I never would have known about someone selling this knife if it was only at a local knife show, so, score for me.
So yeah, I guess I'd say, when trying to determine the price of a knife, patience & flexibility are key when buying & selling knives, more than ever before.
Good to see you! Your correct sold listings can be very helpful.
I agree with about all there is so far on here, one thing I can add...Check different search engines. Sometimes I will see things that Google will only give me on the 10th page :)
Any more suggestions?
Most of my more expensive knives are bought at shows. There are a few very trusted dealers that give me a price which I pay. After a few good deals we have worked out that either I pay the price or not... No baloney. These dealers have the best reputations.
My dealers have the best knives and the knowledge to weed out the fakes or poor estimates of condition. They know what I want and save me trips to distant shows. They offer me first choice at shows because I don't drive them crazy with mindless haggling. I am not a sucker but work with these honest folk and pay what their true selling price would be.
Flea markets and antique stores are different. After years and years of collecting I guesstimate what its worth by myself.
I have always said, find good dealers and develop a relationship with them. If they know you and they know your collection, you will get those calls and first choice on a find that fits your needs.
While I spend a good deal of time on here doing research on what a members knife might be going for on the online market, Donnie has another approach. Every knife is worth what someone is willing to pay for it
I've noticed that collectible knives on eBay are no longer listed as auction. Most of the time it's fixed price (usually overpriced) with "make an offer". A decade or more ago I got some good deals through auctions. Not so anymore. It's a certain price and that's it. By collectible I'm referring to pocketknives made in USA. Basically that covers a lot of pocketknives up to the first decade of this century.
I think this was because nobody really knew how to price the knives. Now they'll push the limit in price to see what the market will take.
I think that there are some folks, that use eBay, that really don't shop around. I watch auction after auction where the price will go over what the buy-it-now price is.
When I'm looking for knives on ebay I just type in knives in the search and usualy ebay will come up with a fair selection of about all types. I will narrow that down to a particular style and go from there. I like the buy it now option and will add which ever knife it is to my watch list.
As to selling a knife I really don't know as I've not sold any. I like to check the forums and see which knives are popular... be they old or new and I try to keep track of certin brands I'm interested in.