There are a variety of ways to begin a knife collection, as well as myriad categories of collectible knives to choose among for your collection. Whether you are a complete beginner or experienced enthusiast, finding the perfect addition to your collection is a combination of luck and know-how.
Tips For Knife Collectors
There are as many ways of collecting knives as there are collectors. While there is no right or wrong way to collect knives, there are a few tips that can make your hobby more enjoyable as well as more profitable.
Get a Price Guide
While it may be tempting to just begin buying knives that appeal to you, it can be the worst mistake you can make as a beginning collector. Knives vary in value and it is important to be able to identify your knife to ensure you are getting what you pay for.
Go to Shows and Collectors Clubs
Looking at the different types of knives and talking to experienced collectors are two of the benefits of getting involved in a local club or heading to a local knife show. Networking is a great way to learn more as well as find that elusive addition to your collection.
Keep Them Clean
Keep your knives clean and away from damp environments. After you have touched them, be sure to wipe them will with a soft, dry cloth to keep them looking their best and stave off deterioration caused by the natural oils and acids on your skin.
Stick to Your Budget
It is easy to go to an auction or a show and spend much more than you had planned. Always buy what you love and what you can afford; discipline yourself to stick to your budget.
Categories of Collectible Knives
Some collectors choose to collect only one category of knife while others prefer to pick up what appeals to them no matter what type of knife it is.
There are collectible knives associated with various wars and military divisions, including the US Marine's famous standard-issue KA-BAR knives, Civil War daggers, and World War II German air force pilot daggers with Swastika insignias.
- Trench knives from World War I have special finger-hole grips for hand-to-hand combat while recent bayonet combat knives are designed to fix on the end of machine gun barrels.
- Another interesting military knife is the Kukri knife, commonly called the Gurkha knife. This national knife of Nepal is used during Hindu festivals and has a dazzling, distinctive curve that aids in slashing. Every proper Gurkha knife should have two similar smaller knives in its sheath.
- Russian Trooper's Dagger was used in the early 1900s.
Sites where you can find collectible military knives include:
- Michael D. Long carries a large selection of military knives as well as other collectible knives. Located in the UK, the company will ship worldwide.
- John Gunderson is another American company that carries militaria and has parts for enthusiasts that restore their own knives.
Switchblades and Gravity Knives
Switchblades and Gravity knives have blades that are stored in the handle. When a button is pushed the blade slides or folds out. Any knife that opens in an interesting manner could also be included in this category. It is important to check local laws before purchasing these knives because they are illegal in many countries and states.
If owning a switchblade is legal in your area you may be able to find what you are looking for at one of the following sites
- Unique Blades carries a variety of knives including switchblades and gravity knives.
- Horizon Bladeworks has Italian stilettos, switchblades and other automatic knives and includes free shipping.
- Swords Swords has switchblades, gravity knives, and medieval swords and weapons.
The Bowie knife was made famous by Colonel James Bowie who died with Davy Crockett at The Alamo. Bowie was known for knife fighting, and any large, hunting knife has come to be called a Bowie knife. In addition, his first knife was crafted by the blacksmith James Black, making original James Black knives extremely sought after.
You can find Bowie knives at the following sites:
- Jay's Knives is located in Minnesota. They take phone orders only, so you will need to call with your information. The company does allow returns in certain situations.
- Collector's Firearms carries a variety of antique knives, including Bowie and military.
- Southern Antique specializes in antique Bowie knives.
These are wild science fiction and fantasy edged weapons of medieval or futuristic inspiration. Although having amazing shapes and blade configurations, they are not always the most practical or functional weapons.
- Excaliber Brothers sells a variety of fantasy knives and blades and offers free ground shipping on orders over $199.00.
- Swords, Knives, and Daggers offers the fantasy enthusiast hundreds of styles of blades.
- Bladeplay has hundreds of fantasy knives. They accept returns within ten days but be sure to read and understand the return policy on site.
Collecting knives is an interesting hobby whether you choose antique knives or interesting collectibles.
Remember that knives can be dangerous. Glass cases that lock are an excellent way to display and protect your knives from humidity while keeping them safely away from children. Always check with your city to ensure that you do not have an illegal weapon in your collection as well.
Knives, like antique guns, are a great collectible but one that must be treated with care.