Question of the Day: are you a knife collector?

As I look at the gaggle of knives that reside in my safe, about 20 or so of them, I begin to ask myself: am I collector? I have multiple small knives, large knives, hard-use knives,  light duty, the list goes on. I used to tell myself that as long as I used them, and carried them, then it wasn’t a collection. I’m sure you, dear reader, have had to field the numerous questions: “Why do you need another one?” “You can’t use more than one!” And even more questions of the like.

When I bought my first custom, I began thinking that I may have crossed the line. But I carry and use my Sacha Thiel (review will be following). So does that make it a typical ‘user’ knife? Sometimes ‘collector’ has a negative connotation: someone who buys and doesn’t use that purchase up to its potential. They examine their knives for wear, obsess over lock travel, and revere a knife for its uniqueness. I mean, they do have a point: high quality custom knives have legitimate value. And they certainly are expensive.

And then I came upon the realization: I don’t care. Knives intrigue me. They always have. When my grandfather passed away a few months ago, he left behind a collection of around 250 blades. And he was never shy to use them. Most of them cheapies, a few nice ones in the mix too. Do you think he obsessed over the price? The lockup percentage? Blade steel? Nah, knives brought him joy. Plain and simple.

And that’s how I feel. I lust for, pure unadulterated LUST, for a legit Jens Anso custom. And I probably won’t cut all that much with it. It’ll reside in my pocket, I’ll fondle it quite often, and it might make an expensive letter opener. But it’ll bring me joy, and that’s what matters. So maybe I am a collector. Are you?


  1. Colby says:

    I don’t think I am a knife collector. Most of my knives are either knives that I use regularly, or backups to those knives that I use regularly.

    The only “frivolous” knife purchases I make are for purely political reasons, just to spite the bed-wetters, by exercising my God given liberties.(It’s amazing what great marketing telling someone they shouldn’t have something can be.) As such, I’ll be soon buying a “switch blade” [OMGoodness!]to carry around, even though I don’t need it, now that they’re legal in Texas. That way I can go all “West Side Story” on envelopes when opening the mail at my office.

  2. Nathan says:

    I’d say I am a collector. There are at least 2 blades I will not use: a Damascus Skyline and a Brian Tighe Tighe Rod. I plan to have a few mid-techs and customs within the next year to play with. I really want a Will Moon Mk7, but don’t have the money right now

  3. Phydeaux says:

    It seems to me that anyone who has more knives than they can use for common tasks is a de facto collector.

    Those (like me) that use their knives consume their collection. By subjecting the knives to wear, their value is reduced. Those that don’t use their knives are better able to retain their value.

    It is an easy decision to carry a knife when contemplating a nice Spyderco or Zero Tolerance. “Consuming” your $1,200 custom Sniper Works through daily carry entails a different set of financial considerations.

    Scarcity also plays a role. Production knives are more plentiful than customs. Sure you probably have to wait for Spyderco to do a run of Yojimbos or for ZT to make more 0801 Rexford flippers, but that minimal scarcity does not ensure retaining or appreciating value over time.

    The number of knives a maker like Jens Anso can make a year is far less then market demand. In this case, unused previously owned knives are often more expensive than a knife bought from the maker.

    I have one midtech knife from a custom maker, but the main reason I don’t carry it is I don’t really like it that much due to its design.

  4. knightofbob says:

    I’m definitely a collector. My safe has several blades NIB. Granted, I’ve never been able to purchase anything on the high end of the scale, so I don’t have anything particularly rare, but uniqueness definitely factors in.

    I’m also not lacking in blades that provide no everyday practicality (Spyderco Civilian CF) or would just be flat-out illegal for me to carry (Benchmade 3300.) I have a couple antiques just for historic value, if nothing else. I have swords, too; two of which are purely ceremonial by design.

    That’s not to say I don’t use several knives as well, or that I only work with the cheap stuff. I can be pretty picky about what I carry. But if it’s something for the collection, and I want to use it, I’ll probably buy two.

    The surest sign that I’m a collector, though, would probably be that I am more and more weighing what I have that I feel like I can live without, so I can sell them. So that I can buy more, of course.

  5. Sam L. says:

    I’m an assembler, not a collector. I have knives I like, knives I carry, and knives I use.

  6. Tom in Oregon says:

    I can’t stay in denial. I’m a collector. Al Mar, William Henry, Cold Steel, Benchmade, CRKT, Buck, Randall…
    There. I admitted it. And you can’t make me stop.

  7. ChuckN says:

    Most of the knives I collect are for the historical aspect. I like to
    find knives illustrating a variety of designs and developments
    throughout history. The rest I consider tools to be used and
    changed depending on the job at hand.

  8. jwm says:

    I collect knives like that junk drawer in the kitchen. There’s no rhyme or reason. I just clutter up my space with all sorts of blades. Nothing fancy or collectible. Mostly workable though.

    1. Duncan Idaho says:

      Exactly. They just sort of amass over time.

  9. Mark N. says:

    I like steel, I like knives, I like swords more (sadly finances have allowed me to buy only one). I just finished putting together a kit Sgian Dubh as a gift for a neighbor/doctor/friend who is moving away to go with his piper’s garb; it turned out well enough that now my daughter wants one too.
    But I am not a collector, just your average everyday user. I have one pocket knife, and I will keep it until I lose it, donate it to the TSA, or break it. (It’s a Buck folder, so I am not too worried about it failing.) I have all but one of the kitchen knives I got as wedding presents–26 years ago– and since they are German steel, I think I’ll have them for the next 26 (should I live so long). The only ones that have needed replacing are the paring knives.

  10. Gus Marsh says:

    I am a serious knife collector, been doing it for over 40 years. First with older knives, then with custom folders and limited edition factory like Remington Bullet knives.

  11. Pete G says:

    I am without a doubt a collector. I’ve tried to fight it but it is no use. Don’t get me wrong, I use them and have one with me pretty much every day. The knife I carry most or EDC is a Lone wolf D2 or the 45 rosewood handled folder. I like them because they were a semi custom maker who made great knives with some soul and personality.
    I do not like big company’s who mass produce cookie cutter knives. I think it’s a shame that Benchmade bought out Lone Wolf and completely ruined the brand. Benchmade’s Lone Wolf line is junk compared to the originals.
    Lately I have been interested in Custom Bowies and pro-tech knives. Sam Stoner is an Amish maker who makes his knives with no modern conveniences, no electricity, whatever. All of his equipment is connected to pulleys and belts on a overhead drive shaft which is powered by two large horses walking on a treadmill. I think that is incredible. his knives are functional as well as beautiful.
    Well for whatever it’s worth, that’s my two cents..

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Question of the Day: are you a knife collector?

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