Copyright © 2006
Cove Knife Emporium ™
Knife Collecting: A
Want to learn more about
knife values or knife history?
Knife collecting is one of the fastest
growing hobbies in the United States. It provides enjoyment as well as
being an excellent investment for the future. A carefully assembled
collection of selected knives will continue to grow in value year after
year. The demand for older knives is a definite reality.
The four main groups that most
collectors specialize in are:
- Handle Materials
- Brand Names
Knife collecting is a very personal hobby
where each individual can select his or her specialty. There are knife
collectors that search for certain patterns (such as trappers,
whittlers, canoes, muskrats, peanuts, folding hunters, etc). Some collect
certain handle materials (such as stag, mother of pearl, yellow,
rough black, green bone, celluloid, etc). Many collect certain brand
names (such as Case, Remington, Winchester, Fight'n Rooster, IXL,
Queen, etc). Others collect certain blade stampings (such as Case Tested,
Case XX, Old Remington, New Remington, etc). Some collect certain specialties
(such as advertising, figural, souvenir, etc). Regardless of your
desires for a knife specialty, you will find buyers, sellers, traders
at any knife show and most gun and knife shows.
The most sought after knife in any brand
or pattern is a mint one. As a general rule, used knives bring 25-70% of
what a mint knife brings. You can usually pick up an excellent condition
knife for 50-70% of what you pay for a mint one. Ten to fifteen years
ago, all the knives experts preached "Buy only mint knives". Well,
in the older knives (1945 and earlier), if you stay with only mint, you
will pass up a lot of fine knives. If possible, collect only excellent
or better knives. Used knives can have considerable value. But, for the
soundest investment, it is more desirable to collect only excellent and
Remember to take excellent care of your
collection, as you are the curator during your lifetime for future
generations to enjoy. Moisture and fingerprints are the prime villains to
avoid. Check your collection periodically and keep your knives in a dry
location. Make an asserted effort to wipe your knives at least once a
month. Your collection can lose value very quickly if you allow your
knives to deteriorate from lack of care and maintenance.
best teacher for learning about knives is to attend as many knife shows as
possible. Most dealers and collectors are very patient about explaining
the many variations and subtleties that make some knives rarer than
others. The more knives you examine the more familiar you will become with
them. This experience will also make it easier to spot counterfeits or
altered knives. If you are just starting out, take the time to look and
talk rather than buying. The next best thing to going to knife shows
is knowledge you can obtain from book and magazines. The way to obtain
this knowledge is to read books on knives, knife history, knife
price guides and knife magazines.
Don't start out hoping to collect every
knife made by a manufacturer as that would be virtually impossible. For
example, Remington made 1300 different patterns. Set your goals at a more
realistic level, such as: one particular pattern, a certain type handle,
or a particular blade stamping. A collection with a theme or direction
will be easier to sell than one that is simply a conglomeration of
all, when you reach the point where you are purchasing knives costing
hundreds of dollars or more, make sure that you buy only from a reputable
dealer who will stand behind the authenticity of the knife. Beware of 'too
good of a bargain' as in all probability you are being taken. As in any
hobby, there are always those unscrupulous few who will make a fast dollar
in any way they can. Many counterfeiters are very good and only an expert
can tell. Simply be as careful as you can and familiarize yourself with
manufacturing methods and details.
In any event, get your feet wet at a
knife show. Look; ask questions; read books and articles; start small;
become a knife collector, and join thousands of us who enjoy this great
hobby. Look for a local or regional knife club near you and go there to
find other collectors who will reinforce these ideas.
A Knife Value Question: Why does a
knife that I purchased, say 10 years ago, cost
so much more now than when I purchased it?
What does new,
used, vintage, and antique knives mean?
The system we use for knife grading and
describing a knife’s condition is on our Knife
Grading System Page.
Reading On Knives:
Guide to Knives and Their Values by Bernard Levine
Official Price Guide to Collector Knives by Houston Price
Pocket Knife Traders Price Guide
by Jim Parker.
Premium Guide to Knives & Razors: Identification and Value
Guide by Jim Sargent (Maybe the best for Case knives.)
Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings by John Goin
This is the best book to give history and general knife info.
Blade Collectors Association Price Guide to Commemorative Knives (1960 -
1990) by Bruce Voyles
This is the best book to to cover commemoratives, even
though it is out of date.
Knives Annual (Knives 99, 2000, etc.) This is the best book
for custom knife makers info.
Collins Machetes and Bowies 1845-1965 by Daniel Henry
U.S. Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Price Guide, Fourth Edition by M.W. Silvey.
The ONLY price guide to U.S. military knives, bayonets and
machetes. The low cost of this book is maintained through
the fact that it is indexed to nine of the most popular
identification guides on the subject (Cole's "Book III" and
"Book IV"; Silvey's "U.S. Military Knives 1941-1991", "WWII"
and "Vietnam" books; Silvey & Boyd's "U.S. Military Knives";
Henry's "Collins Machetes and Bowies"; Janzen's "Bayonets
from Janzen's Notebook"; and Hardin's "The American
Bayonet".) This eliminates the need for illustrations and
allows collectors to buy periodic updates at low cost.
Useful to collectors and dealers alike.
The Complete Book of Pocketknife Repair: A Cutler's Manual
by Ben Kelly Jr.
How to Make Knives by Richard Barney & Robert Loveless
to Make Folding Knives: A Step-By-Step How-To
by Ron Lake
Razor Edge Book of Sharpening
by John Juranitch
- Blade Magazine
- Knife World Magazine
Remember the golden rules of collecting:
- Know your subject.
- Invest in reference material and read them.
- Buy the best quality you
- Buy from reputable vendors.
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Cove Knife Emporium ™
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