BLADE Magazine

Knife Collecting: 12 Questions to Ask Before Starting Over

tips for collecting knives

Well-made vintage knives by legendary makers can be very attractive to collect. Lloyd Hale does the honors here in a chute knife sporting an ironwood handle with pearl and abalone inlay. ( photo)

Eventually, All Knife Collectors Hit Crossroads

You may face a crossroads, a time of decision involving the realization that interests, tastes and possibly buying power change. In such situations, you may decide to begin collecting a different genre of knives, departing from what you have collected. If and when that time comes, evaluating your situation and making informed decisions is crucial.

Some basic questions loom large, from deciding what to collect to getting the best education on what is available, selling or retaining an existing collection, and, if the choice is to sell, then maximizing the revenue generated.

Should You Reboot? Ask Yourself These Questions

Do you have a very good reason for starting over?

Do you sell or keep your existing collection?

If you sell it, how do you get the most out of it?

Are you trying to recover your initial investment or trying to make as much money as possible to assemble your new collection?

Are you comfortable with the effort and costs it will take to build a new collection?

Do you want to make money or collect, carry or use the knives?

What knives should you collect, and how do you best research them?

How available are they and are they of recent vintage?

Are they still in production or limited in distribution, both of which influence collectibility?

If antiques, where can they be found and can they be found without undue cost?

What are the prices typically asked for the knives in collectible condition?

Are you going to collect only mint or near-mint examples, and can you afford to pay premium prices for them?

Guidelines for Going Forward with a New Collection

If, after answering those questions, you decide to liquidate and start over, keep these guidelines in mind.

Collect what you like or even use.

Chasing trends is a fool’s errand. Collecting knives that are hot now means paying top dollar now as well.

Know which knives are collectible in specific geographic locations of the country.

Inexpensive, low-end knives will never appreciate to any degree.

Well-made, fine-condition knives should not lose you any money.

Don’t buy damaged/poor condition knives unless they are very old and collectible, such as antique bowies and rare military knives.

Learn More About Collecting Knives in This Book

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