Buying old rare knives under the influence

Now that I have your attention- here’s the deal. When we lock in on a knife to buy…sometimes our emotions can override our common sense. We are under the influence at that point; we are intoxicated. We are buying under the influence.

Keep your wits

When you finally find one the one and only knife you’ve been looking for don’t get carried away with emotion. Keep your wits about you before you pull the trigger.

While we all have gotten swept up in the tide of “I got to have this knife,” when in that situation there may be good reasons for not buying it. It could be it is a counterfeit and your gut is telling you to run; it could be the seller is of questionable reputation and the knife is too good to be true or it could simply be due to the knife’s condition the price that is way too high (then it’s just a “business decision”).

Word to the wise

My point here is not to be suspicious of every knife or seller you meet, but, on the other hand, I had a wise man once tell me…

“you have a gut feeling for a reason….so you had better listen to it.”

Most knives and sellers are fine, but if your gut screams at you….LISTEN. If you don’t feel you have enough experience then get a reputable dealer’s opinion.

Many knives are just too expensive (I’d rather say, “Valuable”) to throw all reason and logic to the wind. Yes, values continue to increase, but if you have reason to question a deal…then question it. Don’t blow it off by telling yourself that it is probably OK, when in actuality your gut is letting you know there is something that doesn’t feel right.

Take the heat

You may take some heat for your decision. I once had a dealer try to sell me a “Near Mint” toenail for a really big price. It was a Case Brothers with a really nice etch on the blade. And you had better believe he wanted a big wad of cash for it, so I gave that toenail a very close look. The etch was VERY APPEALING. I was under its influence…intoxicated by that knife. There is no doubt I would love to have a CB with an etch that nice.

But, in the end I passed. I overrode my emotions. There were a number of questionable “things” about that knife that told me it was possibly a rework and it was simply too much money to risk. In the end, I listened to my gut feeling. I took heat too. That dealer told me I didn’t know a good knife when I saw one. He was P O’ d (that told me I made the right decision too, incidentally).

Why are you offering it to me?

Also, the other thing to think about is this- If a dealer is offering you a “one of a kind” killer knife (now don’t take this wrong, OK?), but, this is the way I think…if it is so great, why is he/she trying to sell it to me? Dealers have a Rolodex of buyers, so if you are offered a knife that is so rare…so good, then why didn’t he just pick up the phone and call one of his regular buyers? Instead he is now offering it to you, or me.

Most knives are fine. And if it is a moderately priced knife then that is one thing, but if it is a price you know is a near record price, then ask yourself this question-  “Why does he still have that knife and is now trying to sell it to me?” You may have just gotten lucky- at the right place at the right time- but, maybe not, so just step back and don’t get caught up in the moment…under the influence. Don’t buy drunk.

I promise you, in most cases, if the knife is that rare and authentic…you and I would have never even known it was available.

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Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm  Comments (4)  
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Folks who don’t collect knives just don’t get it

Knife collectors have screws loose

It’s a well established fact knife collectors can be viewed as a little out of whack. A bit odd. And not just from the anti-knife crowd, but by our closest friends.

It even gets worse when you throw old knives into the mix.

Well, I had a funny thing happen getting my hair cut a few days ago I thought you’d find amusing.

You know the routine- you sit there getting your hair snipped while your barber or beautician stylist politely entertains you by asking questions about your family, work, any planned trips for the holidays and any other areas he/she knows you are into.

Paul, my hair cut guy, knows I’m a knife collector, along with everyone else in my little universe, and after we’d covered all the other topics, he finally worked around to asking about my hobby.

“Bought any knives lately?” he asked.

I don’t know about you but I really don’t like getting into the details about my knife collecting hobby with non-knife collectors. It often leads to questions about- if I use them, how much they cost and how many I have, and questions like that. So I thought for a moment about how to respond and then remembered I did just buy me a new old knife off ebay that didn’t cost my last other leg.

“Well, yes, I have,” thinking I found an example safe to talk about. “I bought me an old one off eBay.” Then I made the mistake of adding one more tidbit about this purchase when I should have left well enough alone, but out it came before I realized it- “Yeh, its blades were broken off.”

Case TESTED XX Green Bone Toenail (1920- 1940)

Now remember most non-knife collecting folks already think we have a couple of screws loose.

When he absorbed what I said, he looked at me with the oddest look. I knew I had said too much. “It’s blades are broken off?” he questioned. I was at the point of no return and the hole was only getting deeper. “Yes,” I said, “you know I collect old knives and thought it’d be cool to have an old toenail with both blades broken.”

Then realizing he might be about to embarrass me by continuing to ask about something he thought was probably the stupidest thing he’d ever heard, he said,

“Oh, I get it. It’s like a car collector buying a car without any wheels on it, right?”

I swear those were his exact words. And at that point all I could do was say- “Yeh.”

Listen to the old knives’ voices

One of the many fun things about collecting old knives is their ability to whisk us back to a place in time. These knives speak volumes of the when and where they were made or the significance of why they were made. All old knives have voices. And if we are quite for a moment we can hear them speaking to us.

Collectors today are but custodians of these knives. We are entrusted with them for only a short time and then they are passed on.

To the original owners these knives weren’t mediums of the past. Instead, they bought them fresh out of the box and put them to work. If a knife survived its originally intended purpose and wasn’t lost or destroyed, it then began its trip down through the years to us today.

Other knives were made to mark a date or happening. While not necessarily exhibition pieces, though some were, many were simply souvenirs or keep sakes commemorating something significant, and these knives’ voices speak out the loudest.

Today, I was spoken to. Even though I didn’t view this knife in person, it spoke to me nonetheless.

1933 World's Fair Chicago- A Century of Progress

1933 World's Fair Chicago- A Century of Progress

world's fairThis wonderful little knife commemorated the 1933 World’s Fair and the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Chicago under the theme of “A Century of Progress,” signifying its technological innovations.

It resides in a collector’s possession today and he shared it over at iKnifeCollector. I am sure there are thousands of similarly significant pieces out there- all of which are treasures of days gone by.

If you ever wonder what the attraction of old knives is- just listen and you’ll hear them speaking to you too.

*****

Knife photo credit: Max McGruder; Poster photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_of_Progress

Published in: on August 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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