Recently someone asked me the following, “What makes a knife collectible? What makes a knife a user? Can a knife be both a collectable and a user?” I was of course flattered that anyone at all thought that I knew enough about knives or anything else for that matter to answer questions about the subject. Anyway……they are questions that are not difficult to answer in my opinion.
There are billions of people in the world and my guess is that millions of the billions collect something. People collect almost anything under the sun as far as I can see, animal bones, rocks, empty beer cans, thimbles, stamps, coins, sea shells, paintings, all manner of antiques, apple peelers, pornography, exotic animals, stuffed toys, bottle caps, die cast replica cars, shotguns, barbwire, Corvettes, Elvis Presley memorabilia, and knives to name a few. Some of these items have considerable monetary value and others are not so pricey.
I believe that the person that that posed the question to me was associating “collectable” with dollar value, and when he said “knife” he meant custom knife. For any “collectable” to have much dollar value more persons wanting the object must exist than the numbers of the object that are available for acquisition. If only one person wanted the object it could not possibly bring much on the open market (excluding a few inexplicable incidences). But also there must be sufficient numbers of the object to allow more than one person to collect them or it won’t be a very large market. If there are too many of the object made available the price is bound to suffer. So there must be enough of the object but not too many; it’s the old supply and demand thing.
The value of any object by an individual artist or craftsman can be influenced by factors such as size, materials, form, craftsmanship, design, date of creation, rarity, and condition.
Moving on to “What makes a knife a user?” Well first if a knife is not capable of being used as a knife, then it’s not a knife but something else instead. That’s not complicated at all. Can a knife be both collectable and a user? If “user” means a knife that the owner thinks is collectable but uses it for knife chores as well seeing it as part of his collection, then the answer to the question is yes. Will using it devalue it dollar wise? Yes it probably will unless the owner lives a very long time and the collector value of that particular knife or that maker’s work continues to increase.
That’s all I’ve got about that today. And the reader should keep in mind that the above is just my opinion and is probably worth what the reader paid for it.
copyright Bill North 2013