Our world shakes and moves based on currencies. Every country has a currency they abide by and getting access to services and goods is just a matter of having the right amount of that currency. This is how it is for most people, most goods are accessible, the only question is money. This is not the case in the exciting world of collecting rare knives. Many collectors are not financially motivated and are often fairly well off themselves. No, each custom collector’s knife is a precious piece of their collection that they are unwilling to part with unless…you have something to offer.
Collecting Custom Knives is About Bargaining
Many people in highly developed countries seldom if ever have to barter for anything. However, when you enter the world of custom knife collecting, you’re entering a world where money is not the only currency. Custom knife makers such as Bob Loveless, Bill Moran, and newcomers to the scene such as CAS knives from the Sobral brothers of Brazil are highly sought after.
While monetary exchange tends to be a given, some of the most elusive knives can only be traded for. Tracking down ownership of these can also be a challenge in its own right if the owner has not declared himself. Even if you aren’t offering up a rare knife of your own, these tips on how to bargain well will come in handy.
1 – Know How Much You’re Willing to Spend
It may seem simple, but many knife collectors or people new to bartering don’t end up deciding this beforehand. The anxiousness of meeting with someone or the preoccupation with getting the product may distract you from deciding on a ceiling for what you’re willing to spend. If you don’t decide this, you may allow yourself to be convinced of a higher price in the heat of any negotiation.
2 – Save Time By Demonstrating Your Market Knowledge
This one is almost like a sleight of hand. In any given trade, you must always assume the reasonable thing: that the other person is trying to get the most of out you. That’s just how business is, but it doesn’t mean that you should let yourself get a raw deal. Demonstrating your knowledge can be showing that you know the history and market worth of a particular collectors knife, or know that the expertise of a certain kind of finish always fetches a higher or lower price depending.
Like most markets, some things have a higher price as driven by popularity, if there is a highly popular knife maker at the time—it’s always possible someone will try to capitalize on that by marking up the price of the knife. Legendary knife makers such a loveless always command a hefty price for their knives, but the fame of the name also leaves room for a ton of markup.
When you pay for ordinary—but well-made knives used for utility purposes, prices are fairly easily determined by considering the quality of the parts, the details of the knife (partial or full tang, etc), and to a lesser extent the brand. When you include labor, it’s easy to see why a knife might cost $100 or $10.
However, in the case of rare custom knives, it isn’t so clear. Value is subjective, and therefore highly fluid between people. One man may believe that a Michael Walker Titanium Blade Folder is only worth $4,500, and another may be highly partial to the anodized design and beautifully carved rose ornamentation and would not be willing to part with it for any less than $6,500.
A large part of trading is knowing what the market values at the time.
3 – Have a Sharp Eye for Collectors Knives
Although we’d love to believe our community is the best and there aren’t people attempting to do illicit things, having a sharp eye is a must. Avoid being scammed with counterfeits or knockoffs by knowing the object of your desire inside and out. This isn’t just to avoid being scammed, but also to pay close attention to any nicks, scratches, or damage that knife may have along the blade or handle due to mishandling or misuse.
Best Collectors Knives Online
Exquisite Knives is the best place to find highly sought after knives from esteemed collectors such as Bill Moran and Bob Loveless. This site features pieces procured by Dave Ellis—retired ABS Mastersmith and fellow knife lover. Dave has been able to procure some of the most desired knives in the world. If you have any inquiries about our knives, we’d love to hear from you! Please give us a call at (760)-945-7177 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll answer any and all questions you may have about our collection.