The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Knife Collecting

Common Mistakes That Knife Collectors Make When Buying New Knives

Knife collecting is one of the most rewarding and addicting hobbies today. It can also be expensive! The record for a collectible knife goes to the Gem of the Orient at $2.1 million.

Most collectors don’t dream of spending that much, but knives can still run in the thousands of dollars. Knife collectors know what it’s like to see what looks like the perfect knife and buy it on the spot. Sadly, this often leads to buyer’s remorse as the knife doesn’t live up to its promise.

Are you looking to add some new or custom knives to your collection? Beware of these five common mistakes that have been the downfall of new and veteran collectors alike.

Knife Collectors’ Top 5 Mistakes

Whether you’ve just started your collection or have been working on it for years, there are a few pitfalls that any avid collector can fall into. But following this guide on collecting mistakes can steer you towards a collection that fits your purpose and your budget.

1. Buying in Haste, Repenting in Leisure

It happens to every knife collector at some point: love at first sight. You see a knife that you just know, in your gut, you can’t live without.

This is the time to take a very deep breath and talk yourself down off the ledge. Buying a knife in the heat of the moment is a perfect way to throw your money away.

Take a moment to think about the purpose of your collection and whether the knife fits. Are you collecting for investment? Without doing your due diligence it’s impossible to know that this knife will increase in value anytime soon. 

Or maybe you know that you’re looking to add an Old Timer to your collection, but a newer style switchblade catches your eye. You may end up with a sub-standard knife and still need to fill that hole in your collection.

In most cases, the knife isn’t going anywhere just yet. Take your time to think twice about the knife. This will help you avoid a costly mistake.

Which brings us to the next downfall: 

2. Neglecting Your Research

With all of the myriad information on the internet today, there is no excuse for buying a knife without knowing all about it first. This is a key rule in any kind of collecting. Knife collecting can be fun and rewarding, but buying a knife is an investment and must be done responsibly.

There are so many factors to consider when buying a knife. Ask yourself the important questions below before buying. Much of this information is easily accessible online.

First, look into the knife maker. Where have they worked before? Are their knives well-regarded?

Some knife makers have a large following due to their charismatic or storied past. However, that doesn’t mean that the knife is top quality. It still might not be the right knife for you.

Search online for the right pricing. Is the knife overpriced? If you’re shopping online, research whether there is a store or show where you can hold the knife before buying. 

Finally, is this knife a good investment? Some knives may be trending but will fail to increase in value in the long run. It’s hard to say exactly what will happen, but doing your research ahead of time can help. 

3. Ignoring the Face

You see a knife you love, but does it have a recognizable face? The face of a knife refers to the mark or branding on the blade. Every reputable knife maker has a distinctive mark that you will be able to recognize immediately.

If you don’t see a face, or it is not easily identifiable, the knife may be a knock-off. This kind of knife will not resell as well as an original. Save up your money for the real thing.

Any maker or collector worth his salt will tell you that the face is an integral part of the knife. It tells the story of the maker’s brand, while also signaling its worth to the buying public.  Know the face before you buy it! 

4. Blowing Your Budget

Have you set a budget for your next knife purchase? Not doing so is one of the big mistakes collectors make. The other is not sticking to a set budget.

The budget will be different depending on the collector. Knives can range from tens of dollars to thousands of dollars. Every collector will not be able to spend that amount on a purchase.

Shopping without a set budget in place can lead you to a purchase you’ll regret. The high-ticket item might not fit in your collection, or it could prevent you from buying more knives in the timeframe you’d hoped.

Going above your budget is tempting, but I refer you back to mistake #1. Collecting is a long-term proposition, you’re in this for the end game of a beautiful and valuable collection. It’s not just about one knife!

Take a breath, save your money, and come back when you’ve got the budget for it. The challenge of setting a budget will make every purchase that much more meaningful.

5. Missing the Shows

If you’re not attending knife shows or conventions, you’re missing out. Shows are not just about buying your next knife.

At shows, you can connect with makers, sellers, and other collectors. Other knife enthusiasts are a great source of information and leads for where to buy your next knife.  

Find the next trade show near you to start out, and who knows where you’ll go next? Remember to add show costs to your collecting budget!

Always Check With the Experts

While these mistakes can set back any collector, there is one rule you should always follow. Check with the experts for guidance on your next purchase.

We know knives and knife collectors. At Knife-Depot.com you can shop our store and also find handy buying guides for any kind of knife collector. 

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Negotiating Knife Prices

If you’re an avid knife collector, there’s a good chance you’ll be buying some of your blades at knife shows or antique shops.  In both of these situations, prices are usually negotiable. If you want to get the best deals, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of negotiating.  Here are a few tips.

antique pocket knivesAsk a ton of questions

If you’re interested in a knife, you’ll likely have all sorts of questions, like:  What’s the knife made of? How old is it? What kind of handle does it have?  What’s the best way to sharpen it? Etc.  Use these inquiries to not only find out information about the knife, but also loosen the seller up.  People are generally more receptive to lowering prices for a buyer they feel they have a repoire with.

Don’t show too much excitement

Even if you’ve just stumbled onto an antique Bowie knife that you’ve been coveting for years, it’s important not to start drooling in front of the seller.  If you make it obvious how enthused you are about a knife, it’s more difficult to bargain hard for a good price.  Keep yourself in check and play it cool.  If the seller thinks that knocking a few bucks off the price will turn you into a buyer, he’s much more likely to do so.

Don’t be unfriendly

One of the biggest misconceptions about the art of bargaining is that you have to be rude or confrontational to excel at it. If you approach a negotiation with this attitude, you’ll likely rub the owner the wrong way.  Instead, be as amicable as possible.  Make small talk, smile and don’t grow angry if you don’t get your way.  When you’re drawing a line in the sand, do it with a smile.

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Your Old Knives Can Fetch Big Money at Road Shows

With several collectible road shows popping up around the nation in the few next weeks, you could have a serious opportunity to make money by selling old knives or family daggers hidden away in your attic.

These road shows, like the Treasure Hunters Road Show taking place right now, seek out old knives and swords passed down from generations.

Some of the most lucrative type of collectible knives are those from World War I or World War II.

A great example of this is a recently sold dagger used by Germans in WWII. Although the dagger, called an SA Dagger, was not necessarily rare, its mint condition shot up the value three or four times the regular price.

The dagger, sold to the American Rare Collectibles Association, was passed down to the former owner from his father who was a U.S. soldier. During WWII, his father helped capture German supplies, which included new daggers.

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How Not to Get Your Pocket Knife Jacked by TSA

It happens to thousands of knife owners every year. You’re headed through security at the airport.  You’ve taken your shoes off, removed your belt and diligently placed your laptop in the required bin.  Then, as you’re walking through the metal detector, you hear the shrill beeping that signifies that something on your person is not allowed and you remember, suddenly, that you’ve completely forgotten about your pocket knife.

According to a 2009 CNN report, airports confiscate an estimated 13 million items annually. One of the most common are pocket knives.  Many Americans carry a pocket knife everyday, either as part of their key chain or as a work tool, and too often they don’t remember to put it in their checked baggage.  So, what can you do to avoid getting you knife swiped by TSA?  Here are some tips.

Pack your knife in your checked bag

According to TSA guidelines, the only knives you can carry on are ones with plastic or rounded blades (butter knives).  However, almost any knife can be transported to your destination, if it’s checked.  Want to bring your sushi knife on Christmas vacation?  You can check it.  Just bought a new samurai sword that you don’t want to part with?  Check it and you’re fine.

You can also check meat cleavers, sabers, ice picks, hatchets, axes and saws. What does all this mean?  When in doubt, check your bag.  Just remember, if you’re checking a sword, saber, dagger or other big blade, it needs to be properly sheathed.

But, what if you forget to check and get nabbed at security with your blade?

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How To Start A Successful Knife Collection

knife collectionWhether you’re a knife enthusiast or looking for a hobby that will make you money, knife collecting can be a rewarding activity. Knife collections fetch thousands of dollars on sites like Ebay, Craigslist and Knife Auction, but if you don’t know where to begin, things can quickly get complicated. Here are a few tips for beginners who plan on venturing into the fascinating world of knife collections.

Tip #1: Pick what type of knife you want to collect

While many knife admirers may have the urge to buy and collect all types of knives, it’s important, at least to begin with, to focus on one type. Fortunately, there is a large range of knife types you can pick from, including pocket knives, daggers, swords, Bowie knives and antiques. Selecting just one variety gives you a clear focus, so you are not overwhelmed by the numerous choices.

Tip #2: Set a budget

This might seem like an ancillary point, but it’s extremely important to consider before embarking on a collection. Knife prices range anywhere from a couple dollars to well over a thousand bucks. If you’re not absolutely serious or sure about collecting knives, set a smaller budget and work your way up.

Tip #3: Get knife guides and educate yourself on your specific type

Once you’ve selected the type and picked a budget, the next step is to begin purchasing knives. People take different approaches on how to buy knives. Some get one at a time while others buy sets. Knowing the prices and models of the type of knife you’re planning on collecting will prevent you from overpaying and give you authority on the subject. The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives is a great place to get started.

Tip #4: Search for knives at a variety of places

There is no wrong place to look for knives, but looking at a range of sources ensures that you have more options. Look up local antique shops, visit the Knife Auction site, attend a knife show or join knife collection forums. Doing these things will help point you to reputable knife dealers who may have hidden gems.

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The world’s most expensive knives

We spend a lot of time talking about knives that are functional and affordable, because that’s what most blade enthusiasts want.  However, you never know when you might win the lottery and feel like spending 30 grand on a kitchen knife. Impossible you say?  Check out the three blades below, which are some of the priciest on the planet.

The Victorinox Swiss army platinum Diamond Knife ($70,000)


Priced at a cool $70,000, this stellar Swiss army knife features platinum shells and flawless diamonds. It includes a large blade, small blade, nail file, nail cleaner, sciossors, orange-peeler, screwdriver and tweezers. Each tool is encrusted with diamonds, except for the tweezers.

Nemusk:  The diamond-studded kitchen knife ($39,000)

Designed by world-renowned jewelry artist Quintin Nel, this pricey blade is a collaboration with blade smiths Hoffman/Piper. The kitchen knife is built from sterling silver and features eight diamonds. It’s supposedly not only the most expensive kitchen knife out there, but also the sharpest.   Buy one and you get the ring above too.

The Gem of the Orient ($2.1 million)

This diamond-encrusted dagger takes the cake for the most expensive knife in the world.  Designed by legendary knife-maker Buster Warenski for a Japanese customer, the knife reportedly took 10 years to make.  It features 153 emeralds, nine diamonds and 28 ounces of gold.

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