The 6 Types of Knife CollectorsI have been selling knives for over 20 years now. In that time I have met a lot of knife collectors. It took me a few years to understand that there are different types of collectors. I know what you’re thinking, not the sharpest tool in the shed. I blame that on genetics.
Me, I just love blades. They all have a story to tell. They all have a history. Some knives and swords are pieces of art. The way they are made, the care that the crafts person puts into them makes them something to behold.
Some knives are just knives. I sell a lot of throwing knives that many would consider low end. So what's their story? I look at lower end knives as a stepping stone to better knives. Lower end throwing knives give a beginner something to throw. Maybe they are not ready to make that investment into a high quality throwing knife. Once they get their knife and start to throw their interest is pushed farther into the envelope. Now they want something more. Low end knives are Kinda like a gateway drug.
Back to the point of my story. I just assumed that people collected knifes. It took me a while to realize not everybody had the same interest when it came to collecting. Over the years I have been able to start recognizing and classifying the different types of collectors. So far this is what I have come up with.
First of all you have the guy that just likes to buy knives. I use guy as a reference (because I run into few lady knife collectors). There is no rhyme or reason to his buying habits he just buys what he likes and he likes everything. This is the guy that usually puts his knives in the closet and take them out every once in a while to impress his friends, his family and maybe that special lady. This is where most collectors start before specializing.
The next guy is the history buff. He likes to collect history. He wants to own a part of history. History collectors buy authentic pieces and replicas. For many history collectors replicas work as well as the authentic piece and are less expensive. These knives are usually displayed and are rarely used.
The Antique Collector may be considered a version of the history collector. The antique collector loves old blades. Replicas do not work in this category. The blades must be authentic.
The Brand name collector collects a certain manufacture. I know guys that collect Case knives. Myself, I like old Queen Cutlery. There is a version of this collector that may collect a knife designer like Gil Hibben, Mel Pardue or Ernest Emerson. These guys may have knives from different manufacturers but they are designed by the same craftsman.
The Custom Knife Collector is the guy that buys one of kind knives from individual knife craftsmen. If you fall in this category you may have to get a second job. These knives do not come cheap. These knives are often made with custom forged steel, exotic handles, and precision craftsmanship. These knives are usually considered works of art.
There are guys the love the mechanism of the knife, the design of a knife. I call these guys The Mechanic Collector. These knives are usually strange and exotic. These guys look for different metals, odd opening systems, and different designs.
The Knife type collector collects certain types of knives. This elite collector may collect bowie knives. I sell a lot of knives to movie buffs. I had a friend that collected hawkbill knives, nothing but hawkbills.
The Knife Modifier can't leave well enough alone. This fellow buys a knife and has to modify it in some way. Handles are the most common practice of this collector. I have a friend that buys knives and inlays turquoise in the handles. He makes beautiful knives.
Now if you appreciate a good knife, buy it, bring it home and use it you are known as The Knife User. Imagine a collector that uses his knives. Don't laugh it happens more than you think. This guy buys different knives for different purposes and enjoys the action of a great tool to do a great job.
Now of course most of us blade lovers fall into more than one of these categories and this is just a small list. I myself have knives from all of these categories. But this list could be a good starting point helping the collector and his focus.