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Knife collecting has come a long way since it began. It seems few makers produce a "traditional" folder any more. And we know the old knives are rare and highly sought after today. Plus, among all collectors- of all ages- it seems the more modern knives take the prize.

Sure different strokes for different folks, but......what is your forecast about the future of antique American made traditional knives? Are they simply a niche' that will always be highly collectible or is this collectible going to fade as the collectors who prefer them pass on to the Big Knife Show in the sky?

If high-quality original condition old knives get harder to find and more expensive as the years go by, isn't that going to make it harder for collectors to enter this niche'? (Take for example: What to buy an old toenail? Get ready to shell out several hundred to several thousand dollars for a single knife).

What about say- 20- 40 years from now, when the next generation collector who is more into the ultra-modern/tactical knives today moves into their high-income earning years- are they going to graduate into old American knives? Or are they going to want their own "vintage knives," which may be all the tactical and modern knives being made today (those knives will be at least 20 to 40 years old at that point)?

What say you?

Tags: collecting, future, niche', trends

Views: 429

Replies to This Discussion

Mike
Good stuff. Thanks for the energy and reasoning you applied to answer the questions. I'll think on this and reply.
Mike you have nailed it. and for as me the top pryority is condition. It does not have to be mint but well taken care of. You will find alot of old knives counterfited, so have your ducks in a row on the pattern you are collecting. all way remeber its the HUNT that turns us on.
I don`t think (hope) we are a dying breed.I think Mike summed up all the points pretty well. It seems the best, most desirable old knives don`t last for sale long,unless the price is really pushing the limits,Scott you know what I`m talking about.I do believe some collectors of newer knives will evolve to collect older stuff.
Just time will take care of the oldest knife. It will get to be a musem piece , and cloth gloves will hold it,and very few will ever touch it and fell the blance and the blade that was made to cut and scrape. No the oldest will not even sell , because who owns it will not let go. Yes the old knife collectors will fade, becuase there will be very few old knives to buy. So a hint to the new collector - buy a few now and cherish it the rest of your life.
Interesting take here Steve.

I think fewer folks will be drawn to "old" knives, as we know them. Although new old knives will sought after at that point (new old knives are- knives that are new to us now...could be productions/customs and or tacticals). The old old knives- the ones we chase, will be fewer and fewer and more expensive to the point only a handful of collectors will chase them.

I have heard B Levine say "Rare knives are not always collectible"...meaning so few are in circulation folks can't/don't seek them.
I believe that the great old New York Knife Co., Remington, and Case knives in mint and near mint condition will always be in demand. There are also many old English knives that have been and always will be desirable, even with prices going out of sight. Northfield, Winchester, Shapleigh, E C Simmons, Russell and others will also continue to be collected. Just be sure you can tell if one of these jewels is authentic.
I agree Dick. I think, like Roger C does, and that is there will always be a group of collectors, at least in our lifetime, who are into old knives- enough for us to be able to sell ours anyway :)

I wouldn't give up on the next generations of knife collectors. Very few of us had much of a sense of nostalgia in our younger days.  But most all of us in time come to appreciate a fine example of  an old collectible. And lets face it almost everything now-a-days is collectible. A young friend of mine started out trying to collect license plates from all 50 states for the year he was born. (1968) He did pretty well at first sticking to that goal. But it didn't take long before he couldn't stand it any longer and his collection began to grow with older and older plates. Been awhile since I talked to him, but at last count he had more then 300. It's the same with knife collecting. The "now" generation may start their collections with Spyderco's or maybe A/O Kershaws, but eventually they'll realize that there are WWI and WWII military knives that fit into the Tach category and they like my young friend won't be able to stand it. From there it might be Scout/Camp knives in general. Then they'll aquire a certain brand of one of those they particularly like and they'll be like, heck I'd sure like to have me a few more of these Camillus or Kabar, etc... knives. Sound familiar anyone? There was a point in time when I was dead reckoned on collecting nothing but Toothpicks. Yah right! No, I wouldn't give up on the next generations of knife collectors. If anything I see them to some degree being more aggresive collectors of the older knives then we are. Can't none of us take 'em with us, so there's bound to be an ample supply for many years to come. That's how I see it anyway.

I agree with Rob! 

Very well said, especially the portion pointing out that we had little sense anout nostalgia when we were younger. 
There's some sort of spiritual magic when you can be taken back in time with a given item!

I believe that vintage knife collecting is in it's infancy stage. American's are proud of their heritage and the knife making industry helped to shape this nation. Vintage knives are true Americana and because of this there will always be a demand for them. Yes there are some patterns and makes that are hard to find but there are also hundreds of millions of vintage knives that are still out there to be had. Besides that there will be more interest and activity in the future due to the vast amount of information online and the fact that you can jump on a computer in an instant and make a purchase. 20 years ago we didn't have knife collecting websites like this one for collectors to share information and pics. Early collectors had to pound the pavement and work hard to acquire a top shelf knife and you had to know where to go to find them. Collections stayed in tact for the most part even when they changed hands. Nowadays collections are getting thinned out and broken up and spread around.  I don't think vintage collectors are a dying breed. But I do think that collections today will look a lot different then they did say 25 or 30 years ago. The really good knives will be harder to come by and when they come around you will have to reach deep into your pocket.

Hmmm, I don't know. Here's what I'm seeing/reading around and about.....

It seems to me there's quite a few companies making "traditional" folders. Just go down the list of knife companies at Smokey Mountain Knife works for example. Both American and foreign made. Actually tons of traditional knives. 

Actually, I've been surprised as to how many "younger" guys on other various forums have said things like; "I'm switching to traditional folders, I didn't think I ever would!", "Almost all of my buying lately is traditional slipjoints!",  etc, etc.

And companies like Great Eastern Cutlery have a way of "sucking you in"! I can't believe how many "younger" guys have been buying GEC knives. Also Boker and Case.

So I don't know. I used to collect "tacticals" for a spell and they completely left me cold after a while and now I'm back to traditional knives from now on. So I see a pretty bright future for traditional knives in general. But that's just my opinion.

I think antique/vintage mint -near mint knife collectors are a rare breed and numbers are limited in this day and time.

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