The tale of two knife sales- Part I

In the Introduction to this post, I discussed running a test with the sale of two identical 100 year old knives.  Again, the only difference between the two was their condition- one was in Excellent, and the other, Very Good.

Allow me to start off Part I of The Tale of Two Knife Sales with this question- How would you go about determining value when two knives are the same, except for their condition?

oregonknifeclubshowYeah, we know if a dealer had both knives for sale at a show, he would price them according to their condition. That I understand, but how exactly is the discount for the lower condition knife figured?

I know it isn’t an exact science, but even still it is all over the board out there. I’m also a believer you can sell anything at a price if you are willing to wait long enough, but a one-off sale doesn’t necessarily represent market value as supported by the market.

Challenges we collectors face in determining a knife’s value

You know the problem all collectors face on a daily basis- Different dealers, and sellers, value knives differently, which poses a challenge when trying to stay abreast of where values are and how much a knife is worth.

Yeah, there are “price guides” out there, but I’m not going to say these guides are an actual reflection of where value is, as opposed to attempting to forecast where values are going, otherwise, the guide is out of date the day it is published. And price guides indicate MINT condition value. Depending on how young the knives are you collect that may work just fine, but if you collect 100 year old knives, a MINT condition value is worthless, cause there ain’t none of them out there.

On top of that, how do you know what the “discount” off of a MINT antique knife is in order to deduct it for the different conditions, ie., Near Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, etc. I know folks have opinions on the various price levels based on condition, but I want to test how actual buyers value them.

prismLet’s do the experiment

Two weeks ago, I noticed a particular knife on eBay. Right at the same time I had a chance to buy the identical knife, except the one I bought was in VERY GOOD condition and the one on eBay was in EXCELLENT condition. Other than that the knives were identical. Same pattern. Same brand. Same era. Same stamps. Same age. Same desirable handle material with the same jigging.

So, I bought the one I was offered to put it on eBay while the better condition one was still up for auction. These two sales are an experiment to see a current snap-shot of their values- as determined by actual buyers and how they judge the condition value (or discount) between the two.

We could use past sales to do a comparative analysis, but are 2, or even 1, year old sale prices still relevant in today’s market conditions? But even still past sales of different knives won’t quantify the price difference by condition grade of two identical knives. That’s also why I wanted both knives sold to see their real-time value established by auction.

testresults2The test results

Typically, I devote an entire post to a single article, but The Tale of Two Knife Sales was simply too long. For this reason, I decided to break this story into parts. In Part II, we’ll examine the two knives and their sale results, as well as why an auction was the best environment for this test.

All I want for Christmas is a Van Barnett Dagger Knife

You guys know I’m an old knife guy (no pun intended). Give me a 100 year old knife and I’m in hog heaven.

vbarnettdagger1But here at CNJ I try to keep up with the other types of knives too- the customs, tacticals and newer factory made.

Well the other day I was perusing through the customs on eBay (actually I was looking for a custom dagger… go figure) and then one out of the 1901 knives listed under “custom knife” caught my eye.

If you can believe it, this knife was the only one I actually clicked through to look at after going through pages of them and I didn’t look over at the price…but it is called champagne taste on beer budget.

But heck who cares, right? I’d didn’t say I was buying it. Instead, I wanted it. Two totally different things. So, next time you talk to anyone who is wanting to know what I want for Christmas, you can tell them.

Van Barnett's Garden of Eden Dagger

Van Barnett's Garden of Eden Dagger

In case you are wondering, the price for the bidding to start is a bargain at $24,999.99. It has 124 diamonds, 18.1″ OAL. All trim is 14k gold with 24k gold texturing. Carved Ivory handle. High contrast ladder pattern Damascus. eBay auction page  Van Barnett’s Homepage

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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