The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
Very nice Steve! I like how that looks. :-)
However you like it I guess. Theres no right or wrong way in my opinion. I bought some wooden Tea boxes, painted them dark on the outside but left them as is on the inside. Then added some pins, dog tags ect. Grips are empty shell cases. Magnets hold the doors closed. And I made some additional shelves from thin plywood. Of course this only works for folders.
I like the mini art easels for some displays...I get them at the dollar store. Nice and cheap, and you can paint them to match any style you prefer.
I agree with what others here are saying -- arrange them in whatever way works best for you. Whatever you like best. It's fine if you really want a very specific order, and it's fine if you prefer something really subjective and without the appearance of order to the outside observer. And be open to change -- not only in case you come to feel you'd rather have a different arrangement, but also so that you can incorporate new acquisitions to the collection display. And feel free to not even display some of them -- most museums go through a process of rotation, where they change out one masterpiece with another after a specified period of time. (And most museums also have pieces in their collections that they believe just aren't worthy of display, so you're in good company if you're among the rest of us that have "those" knives!)
Thanks for the comments. Gave me a lot to consider.
this is just one maker
There is no wrong way to group them. At knife shows most of the collectors displays will be single brand and frequently single pattern or single handle material of that single brand.
I only have a small number of my knifes out on display. Most of them are in Gerstner tool makers chests. The numerous small drawers can hold a lot of knives and they can be closed up and locked when desired. When I show them to someone who is interested it's sort of a treasure hunt opening each drawer to reveal the contents. In these photos I had them mostly sorted by handle material but since then I've reorganized them mostly by pattern.