have been collecting, buying and selling knives for over forty years. I grew up in a small town in East Tennessee. My grandfather and father owned a hardware and farm supply store, and that is where my knife collecting passion started. I worked for my father after school each day and on the weekends plus in the summer when I was out of school.
My father mainly sold Boker knives made in Solingen, Germany. They were and still are a high-quality knife. The unique thing about a growing up in a small town in East Tennessee is that it was much like The Andy Griffith Show in that our small town had many of the same real- life characters. One of the unique attributes of our small town is that we had four hardware stores plus my father's store and a Courthouse Square.
Often my father would send me to another store to pick up an item we were out of so our customer would be happy. This is where I learned how important it is to have happy customers. One day I had to go to one of the other hardware stores and pick up some items for my father, when all of a sudden staring right at me like a new shinny penny was a Case Knife Display. Well for a young boy who already had a knife collecting passion, this was like pouring gas on a fire. All I could think of was when can I take another trip to that store so I could look through the glass at all the shiny Case knives. I began buying and trading for Case knives with the older men that owned the store and his partners. I would take my prize knives home and polish on them until my hands were tired. It was not long before I was a traveling knife salesman in our town making rounds to all the hardware stores to buy and trade knives.
One day I noticed a bunch of old men in overhauls sitting in front of our courthouse cutting a piece of wood with their knife. Each one had a large stack of cedar shavings underneath him. I thought to myself how anyone could use a shiny knife to cut wood. I was an adventures young boy so I stopped one day and learned all I wanted too about whittling and telling stories, but the most important thing I discovered was I had a new source to buy, sell and trade knives.
Over the years my collection grew and grew just like I was growing up and becoming a teenager in the 1970's. I had another hobby that I enjoyed and that was riding dirt bikes in the mountains with my friends. In our small town you did not need a license to drive downtown; you just had to be brave and safe. This became my mode of transportation from our house to my father's store and to all my knife collecting spots. I was about fifteen years old and like all teenagers I had accumulated a lot of wisdom I thought. I had been wanting to buy my first motocross dirt bike and one day I came up with one of my smart plans to sell my knife collection and but the motocross bike. It was easy to sell my knife collection as all my knives were in mint condition and I had kept all of the boxes and literature that came with them. Yes I have re-lived that not-so-smart decision many times as I had many pristine mint ten dot 1970 Case knives in the orange pumpkin boxes with the brown wrapping paper.
For about five years knife collecting was not a part of me, but the old saying applies - you can take the knife out of the boy, but you cannot take the man out of the knife. Once I began collecting, selling and trading again I had accumulated a lot of knowledge about knives so my collection grew fast. To keep my knife hobby alive I had to continually sell and trade knives in order to buy more knives. In the 1990's the internet was beginning to buzz with buying and selling knives on eBay. I began selling knives on eBay in 2001 under the seller ID pdpratt. We have been blessed with wonderful customers as our feedback is over 28,000. Our business is a family business as my wife and grown children help to keep things running smooth just like I did at my father's store in the 1970's.
I loved reading your story, Paul! Welcome to iKC! It sounds like you'll fit right in with this crowd. If you have any questions, please, don't hesitate to give me a shout-out. I'll be glad to help you if I can.