What the state of the economy represents to knife collectors

I want you to know at the outset here- I am an optimist. I have thought long and hard about this message and feel compelled to share it with those who want to listen. And I do so at the risk of being labeled as “gloom and doom.” 

I also freely admit I do not hold a degree or doctorate in economics. As you know, I am a real estate auctioneer and have been a business owner and followed economic cycles closely within the context of our business for over 25 years. 

My client is someone with millions of dollars of assets (the context of our discussions are centered around their real estate holdings). I help them objectively look at their assets, assess their goals and objectives, and then reallocate their assets, if necessary or beneficial. Therefore, I must stay abreast of trends, cycles, and supply and demand of assets.

As a side note- most all of these folks have “collections.” I was in the home of a man yesterday who owns millions of dollars of rare paintings and sculptures and he will be selling them soon, though our conversation was limited to his $10 million in real estate he is wanting to sell.

Here is what I am seeing-

Folks at all socio-economic levels are re-allocating their assets, or are preparing to. They are making decisions to sell “non-strategic assets” – either now or over the next year.

The rich have the luxury of options and choices. The less fortunate have few options. But across the board- folks are taking stock of their assets and are doing planning. 

My Perspective

I am outside the mainstream of the knife industry. I’m obviously not a stockholder in a knife company or a dealer, and I don’t make money from my interest in knives. And yet, I am a student of history- both our country’s and the knife industry here in the US. I watch, read and listen with intense interest.

I realize, however, I am not totally a disinterested party. In addition I have a fairly significant holding, to me anyway, of knife assets.

Now that the disclosures and disclaimers are out of the way

Here is the point and then the details-

There are going to be unprecedented buying opportunities for knife collectors over the next 1- 4 years.

There are those within the industry who will debate me, but I am convinced folks with buying power are going to have the opportunity to add some very high quality knives to their collection. I have recently been a part of several conversations and listened to folks we consider authorities within the industry- probing them about the ramifications of this economic downturn and how, if at all, it will affect things, like the overall industry, demand and knife values.

The consensus is things are going to be business as usual. Things are going to maintain a sustainable level, both on the demand and value side. Some of the new productions may experience a fall off in demand, but the “one of a kind knives” (defined as rare high-grade knives, ranging from a custom made by one of the top makers to the rare old brands or patterns) will remain in high demand and will command strong prices.

That may or may not play out…only time will tell, but…  

What I am convinced of is this- collectors are going to be presented with unparalleled opportunities to acquire high quality knives- knives that have been out of circulation for many years.

We are about to experience a time most of us haven’t seen before because many rare and highly desirable knives will come available for sale. Not necessarily due to folks selling because they have to, as some will simply be reallocating their assets to be in a position to capitalize on other opportunities, but between these individuals and those who do need to sell- we need to be ready.

If you are a serious collector- here are my suggestions: 

  • Build up your cash
  • Be prepared to purchase an entire collection to get the rare ones
  • Be patient
  • Get your name known to dealers
  • Actively prospect for knives
  • Watch/Look & Listen- who has a collection, who is selling, who is holding, how many are available
  • Choose your purchases carefully
  • When you are presented with that “once in a lifetime opportunity” recognize it as such and act
  • Track knife sales and value trends
  • Don’t assume just because a knife sold for X  in the past year or so that it is still at that price point (it may have actually gone down since then)
  • The “Investment Grade” knives should hold up, but knives one notch below and less will trend down in value for the foreseeable future
  • Watch for knife and collectible auctions
  • Get on Bruce Voyles’ mailing list

The sky is not falling, but when times get tough, or folks simply want to position themselves to capitalize on other knife and non-knife opportunities- more knives will be available than have been for many years. And smart money is going to be ready to seize the opportunity to get knives that have been out of circulation for a long time.

Published in: on December 5, 2008 at 6:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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