Knife Shows are about more than buying and selling knives

Case-Nashville Cutlery Co. Display

Case-Nashville Cutlery Co. Display

Today’s knife shows represent mostly commerce- buying and selling, but they haven’t always been so. Knife shows used to feature something else that is mostly missing now- Knife displays, such as the Case Nashville Cutlery Co display shown here.

Folks bringing displays used to be a larger part.

Recently, the National Knife Collectors Association began encouraging collectors to share their collections, or significant parts of it, with the public and fellow collectors. Many collectors have rare knives that are not in circulation.

Best of Show Knife Display

Best of Show Knife Display Award

At the knife show in Dalton, Georgia this past weekend,  several collectors and dealers did just that- they took the time and energy to prepare the presentation and brought them. The NCKA had a contest to determine the Best of the Show Award.

David Mullins, the NKCA Vice President, asked me to judge, so I grabbed the grading sheet used by the NKCA and took to the displays.

The important factors evaluated in display judging.

  1. Educational Factors: This category includes a title for the display, and if the title accurately matches the collection being judged.
  2. Labeling: Is there adequate and proper labeling of the knives (types of handle materials, date made, stampings, brands, etc)?
  3. Rarity of Knives Displayed: Completeness of display relative to availability. Condition of knives relative to availability.
  4. Collector Importance and General Appeal: Is there demand for the knives displayed? Related items in display (photos, letters, documentation, catalogs, ephemera, etc)? Creativity of display? Neatness and overall appearance.

A point scale is used for each of these areas.

I’ll display if you will too

Displaying a collection is very rewarding. Other collectors will appreciate the time, energy and money required to amass the collection. Plus, I witnessed first-hand the joy of each collector who brought a display as they told me about the significance of their collection.

Don’t worry that your collection may not be the best in the world. The best collection might not win anyway, if the display isn’t organized, labeled, etc. It is true only one will take home the first place prize, but the other winners, as I saw it, are the others who brought their collections and enjoyed sharing them with folks who genuinely appreciated the knives on display. That’s what it’s all about anyway.

Coming up on CNJ- The Best of Show winner.

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 6:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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One knife thing leads to another knife thing

One of the challenges of collecting knives is staying focused. Yes, multi-tasking is a part of everyday life today, but when it comes to knife collecting, it can be problematic, distracting and expensive. What I am talking about is staying focused on the knives, just the knives.

It’s the other old knife stuff that’s the problem

Case Brothers Ad Card

1900- 1914 Case Brothers Ad Card

Please tell me you have this problem too. You see, I have an affection for all the other old knife stuff. While I do stick pretty well to only collecting one particular knife pattern, my problem is the all other stuff.

Little Valley Knife Association 1898

Little Valley Knife Association 1898

Let me give you an example. First I find an old knife, then I get curious about the knife company that made that knife. The next thing I know I’m on eBay looking for any old stuff related to that company.

Tell me you understand what I am saying here. Then I get sucked into the auctions of this “knife” stuff. What follows after that is a closet, bookshelf and office crammed full of all these other “collectibles.”

Union Cutlery Co. Salesman's Case

Union Cutlery Co. Salesman's Case

Collectibles like- the billheads, cancelled checks, stock certificates, letters, ads, catalogs, calendars, invoices, knife boxes, postcards, pictures, buttons, time sheets, newspaper articles, pins, salesman cases and rolls- really anything about the knife company.

It doesn’t stop there either, then I get into the history of the knife factory’s community, and its workers, in addition to the founders and their background, including where they were from…..

Wait a minute. I am a knife collector?! (more…)