The more I hear from an ever-increasing number of collectors, the more I am told about collections that people have that I had never known about. Such as the case with pocket knives.
Yes, pocket knives. I guess I should have thought about it. There is a price guide about it. And I know people carry pocket knives with them, and I certainly hope for the right reasons.
I should probably add right now that I am not an advocate of knives of any kind, except to cut food to put morsels in my mouth. And oh, yes, knives can cut string or twine. I learned that in the Boy Scouts. But probably because I disdain the sight of blood (just ask my wife Linda), I am not a knife advocate. I cringe at seeing a switchblade, because I associate it with blood. I can’t watch half the shows on television because they involve blood.
But all of that is my problem. And I go on in life trying to deal with it.
However, being as open-minded as I am, I recognize the fact that there are people who collect pocket knives. And not just a few people, but a lot of people collect pocket knives. Mostly men collect knives, but there are some women, too. It must be the genes and the upbringing.
As I have found out, there are more than twenty major companies who produce these knives, with endless variations. For example, knife handles can be made of such materials as rubber, gun metal, shell, pearl, ivory, and may types of woods. Even some handles are decorated with such scenes as locomotives, hunting pictures, and cattle.
Holsters vary in quality, and can be made of silver, brass, nickel, and other metals. Likewise, blades can vary in quality (a real scary thought to me).
Many knives are multipurpose, and used as screwdrivers, can openers, cuticles, wire scraper and many, many other functions.
I have been told that the most desirable, and collectable, knives are made by the Case Cutlery Company. Case began producing pocket knives in 1896 and is still going strong.
Collectable pocket knives range in value from less than one hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. Quality and rarity are two important factors in determining value—haven’t we heard that before?
As with other collectibles, try not to handle the knife too often. The acid on a person’s fingers can actually damage the handles and the metal parts of a knife. Ideally, you should wear gloves while touching the knife.
Likewise, as with other collectables, keep the original box and packaging. Boxes can be extremely ornate and add a great deal to the value of the knife.
As I mentioned, a price guide for pocket knives exists. Ron Stewart and Roy Ritchie have co-authored the “Big Book of Pocket Knives: Identification & Value, Second Edition”. Likely, there are other price guides on the subject as well.
With all due respect to pocket knives collectors, enjoy your collections. I have seen knives that are simply beautiful, and very colorful. But if you don’t mind, if you invite me to see your knives collection I will be at arm’s length, or more, from it.
Jeff Figler has authored more than 700 published articles about collecting. He is a certified professional appraiser and one of the world’s leading experts on collectibles. His latest book, “The Picker’s Pocket Guide to Baseball Memorabilia” has been #1 on Amazon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.