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Some Thoughts About Knife Values

Though I have begun down the road of purveyor I remain a collector at heart. I buy, sell and collect custom knives from known and not so well known makers. I buy what I like.

I view handmade knives as Art. The design, visual impact, craftsmanship, fit and finish are what I respond to. Yes knives are also tools and I enjoy using them as such, however, most of the knives I own I value as visual, tactile objects of art. Each knife you acquire should, for you, stand on it’s own, you should be satisfied to own it for your own reasons.

Knives from well-known makers usually sell for more than those of not so well-known makers regardless of any quality differential. Often there is little difference in the quality. As is the norm collecting art, expect to pay more for work by a well-known artist. It is the same thing with knives, C'est la vie.

Certain knifemakers get “hot”, they get “buzz” and the prices of their knives increase. Buzz comes from magazine articles, Internet knife forums, purveyor promotion and word of mouth within the collecting community. A select few collectors can become desirous of a particular makers work and bid up values by competing to acquire that maker’s knives. However, remember, tastes change. Once those collectors have what they want or move on to the next hot maker the value of those previously hot makers knives can languish or even drop.

Some knives are perennially desirable and they become classics. Knives of makers such as Ron Lake, Wolfgang Loerchner, Bob Loveless, Bill Moran and Jurgen Steinau fall into this category. Yet, even the value of knives by makers such as these ebb and flow.

If you are looking to purchase a knife with resale in mind and do not wish to incur a loss, my best advice is do your homework. How much do similar knives by the same maker sell for? What has the price trend been with this makers knives? How quickly do they sell at that price range? Be aware, current values are not necessarily good predictors of future values and more importantly remember the rule about well-known vs. less well-known makers.

I do not promote “playing it safe”, only buying knives of well-known knifemakers. One of the aspects of knife collecting I truly enjoy is finding quality work from a relatively unknown maker and acquiring it before the maker becomes recognized and their work shoots up in value.

I do not feel that the current value or the future value of a knife should be the main consideration when making a decision to acquire a knife. I do not agree with the idea of buying a knife just because it was made by a famous maker nor do I understand why someone would not buy a knife they really like because the maker is unknown.

So, what am I saying, simply that value is in the eye, heart and mind of the beholder. Buy what you like.

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