Showing posts with label Collecting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Collecting. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Collecting

The recent (Dec 2015) stabbing in London by some Other Dickless Asshole (ODA) will surely result in a call to de-fang the British citizenry even more.  There has already been a call by English doctors to eliminate pointy kitchen knives.  Even the presence of a Stanley utility knife in your work belt can land you in an English jail until you can explain to the judge’s satisfaction why you needed one.  I hope your employer feels like appearing in court to bolster your claims you have to cut up cardboard boxes as part of your job.

It’s hard to understand how anyone could think they can eliminate pointed knives.  Fleming’s James Bond pauses in “Dr. No” to sharpen a purloined dinner knife into a sharp point before escaping from his cell.  It just took a concrete surface and a little time.  This is a basic prison skill known to, unfortunately, millions.

Here in America we also have our share of ODAs and the incidents they create.  While the anti-knife people are present, so far they haven’t made too much of an impact.  Part of our protection is granted by the 2nd Amendment.  This amendment isn’t only about guns, which aren’t mentioned.  It talks about arms, which can be guns, knives, spears, axes, clubs, canes, bow and arrow and other material objects.

But given the right circumstances an anti-knife backlash is possible.  One only has to recall The Woman’s Home Companion’s article about switch blade knives, “The Toy That Kills.”  Following movies and plays like “Rebel without a Cause” and “West Side Story” the media published stories about violent youths and changing sexual mores and conservative America demanded to be protected.  The politicians of that era responded by making Switchblades illegal.  How a switchblade is more deadlier than any locking knife or fixed blade was never explained. 

Politicians, fearful of exhausting their political power and prestige by addressing the real causes of crime, did/will scapegoat inanimate objects as a way of placating the voters.  That object could be your knife collection.  What’s a collector to do?

Pick up a copy of Knife Laws of the U.S. by attorney Evan Napper.  It’s worth $25 and a couple hours of your time.

One of his interesting ideas is to join a knife collecting club.  I suspect it would be better to join a physical one with meetings you can attend rather than an e-club.  Another valuable step is creating a listing, either spreadsheet or index cards with each knife entered, date obtained, value and written description.  This extra effort could help validate your claim that you are an active trader/purchaser and a “official knife collector” as well as make collecting more enjoyable.

One word of advice.  Use a ‘scientific’ description of your knife.  It is an early Vietnam era, serialized, survival knife by Gerber and not just Gerber seven-inch stabby thing.

Speaking of stabby things, did you know the classic KA-BAR fighting knife was made in Cleveland, among other places?  At the last knife gun show I ran into a fellow who told me how he built up stacked leather washer handles on KA-BARS working his way through college.  Since he was my age that ruled out WWII and Korea.  He indicated he had quite a few seconds at home, as a nick or chipped blade couldn’t be sold.


I don’t know if it’s a true story, but it would be interesting to see what he considers ‘quite a few.’

I just attended a local knife club meeting and one fellow denied he was a knife collector, but was rather a knife gatherer. That description fits me much better than collector. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knife Expo

I'm flogging WRCA's Warther Memorial Knife Expo pretty hard for a variety of reasons.

One: I liked Dale Warther.  I didn't know him as well as some club members did, but I was always happy to see him.

Two: It's a good knife show.  I'd like to see more custom builders, but we're working on that and have asked several new ones to attend.  This show will give collectors a chance to see some really great knives.

Three: A number of club members think the club will fall flat on it's collective face.  We've had trouble with the last couple of places and we are trying to find a permanent home.  Everything is expensive as compared to times when gasoline was a $1.25 a gallion.  This location is no exception.

The knife show will be May 16 and 17 at the Buckeye Expo center in Dalton, Ohio just off of route 30.  Admission is $5 per person but we'll wave the fee for scouts and military in uniform.

 I suspect you'll find just about any kind of knife you're interested in at the show.

We are also running a great raffle with prizes over $1000.  Second price is a ZT 350STTS AND a Benchmade 531 Pardue AXIS.  I sell Benchmade and I can't get this one!

Here's the raffle flyer and I hope to see you there!!!

Knife Show Raffle
If i win first prize, I'll offer to trade with the second prize winner!!



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Collecting

The WRCA had their January 2015 monthly meeting recently.  We’re moving closer to the big Expo Knife Show May 16 and 17 at the Buckeye Event Center.  We still have tables available.  See my side pages for an application for table rental.  An 8 foot table for two days for $50 is a great deal.

It will be a great opportunity to buy as well.  We’ll have factory, custom and collectable vendors displaying their knives.

Each club meeting is also an opportunity to buy/sell/trade knives.  In the past, the club has bought estate collections and resold them and we currently have a retired club member in Arizona who wants us to sell his knives for him at a set commission.  That brought up an interesting topic.  Namely buying and selling collections, or at least the ethics of buying and selling collections.

Here’s the scenario:  A club member dies and leaves their spouse with an unwanted knife collection of unknown value.   You respond to information that they want to sell the entire collection and you make them a fair and honest offer for the entire collection.  They accept.

Later you sell the collection for a lot more money.  I mean 2 and 3 or more times what you paid for it.

So what do you think is the ethical thing to do.

During the discussion we found out some people felt we hypothetically cheated that seller, we should have paid them more.  Others thought that because we made so much money we should give some of it to the seller.  Things got a little excited for a while, but no chairs were thrown!

Part of this, I think, was because each member is internalizing their passing and the sale of their collection by their surviving spouse.  We all want to think our fellow club members wouldn’t take advantage of our widow (it’s a mostly male club).  Widows always remind me a of thin, gaunt women dressed in black unable to pay the bills.

Of course, our imaginary spouse might be sitting on a beach sipping mimosas because hubby left her well off and she wants nothing to do with her dead husband’s collection.  Before you showed up, she was 10 minutes from dumping the whole damn thing in the trash!

There is a second side to this story.  What if it turns out the collection isn’t worth the money you paid for it?  What do you do?  Do you go back to the widow and tell her she cheated you and you want some of your money back?  Is your name Simon Legree?

Here’s part of the dilemma, ethical behavior isn’t the same as moral behavior.  That seems odd, doesn’t it?  A professor of ethics once explained to me that ethical behavior wasn’t difficult.   

“Say what you mean, do what you say you’ll do and treat everyone the same.”  Of course the details are what makes ethics a challenging topic.

Since I will not be going back to the widow and asking for money back, I will not be sending her more money either.  There is nothing wrong with making money, especially in an honest, ethical manner.

Of course that all changes if I had agreed to sell the knives for her at some percentage to myself.  But that’s a different premise. 

I’d like to suggest that most of us think our collections are worth more than they are.  I know an elderly fellow who collected stamps.  He had maybe a million stamps counting canceled and first day of issue.  The collection was only worth the value of the relatively few uncanceled stamps he had.  First day of issue, not worth the paper they were printed on.  Canceled stamps, a drag on the market.  Foreign stamps, not much interest.  

If you want your collection to increase in value you need to buy things already valuable.  Even that depends on what people want to buy when you’re selling.  Ditch the beanie babies now.

If you think your collection is valuable, hire someone who makes a living at it and get an appraisal.  Document the knives and the purchase history.  Don’t attempt to appraise your collection yourself, as this activity is self deluding.  Don’t be too surprised if your WWII British Navy issue lifeboat knife collection isn’t as valuable as you thought.

One last thought experiment.  Imagine you are sorting though a tray of old foreign coins marked 25 cents each.  You find, because of your specialized knowledge and training, a rare Icelandic Krona worth significantly more to the right collector.  You:
A Buy it and resell it,
B Tell the owner and convince him to charge more for it,
C Walk away empty-handed and say nothing,
D “Look!  It’s Elvis!”  and steal the coin when he looks away. 

Why would buying a knife collection be different?

We also got to see the 2015 WRCA Expo knife.  It’s a Victorinox Sentinel.  And it’s a left-handed knife!  

2015 WRCA Expo Knife- Left Handed
2015 WRCA Expo Knife (hasn't been blade etched yet)


The serrations are on the front half of the stainless steel blade and located on the right side of the blade.  The knife can be easily opened with either hand, but one-handed closing works best with the left hand.

I want one.  I don’t care if the blade is etched or not.  It’s very cool, but I don’t see any real potential increase in value over the years.  So that’s one less worry my estate has!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

knife club

Most of us belong to a knife club of some sort.  It may be local or a national organization like the Kershaw Collectors.  If you collect a specific type of knife or brand you will find a club that caters to your refined taste.

I’m a generalist and the best fit I could find was Western Reserve Cutlery Association.  We just had our November meeting and the topic was carving knives.   Before I go any further I’d like point out I’m this year’s vice-president, so I have a bit of a bias.

I will say the best part of the monthly topic is not the knives, but the personalized translation of the topic.  One member changed carving knives into carved knives and brought out a pile of knives carved out of wood.  Denny also a nice collection of pliers carved out of wood by Mooney Warther


Wooden knives and Moony pliers
You're right the knife at 12 o'clock is real, but the rest are wooden.

You can still find them on EBay.  They are rather simple, but Mooney used to sit and with nothing but a pre-cut length of bass wood (I think it was bass) and a carving knife make these pliers to the delight of visitors to his shop.

We’re also getting ready for our Knife Expo May 16 and 17 2015 at the Buckeye Event Center off of route 30 in Dalton, Ohio.  It’s a nice place.  I’ve been there for gun shows and have always been impressed with the clean facilities, wide aisles, large parking area and general professionalism of the staff.

Here’s a link to the form.  Just fill it out and mail it in.  We’ll do the rest.

If you’re a knife maker or dealer, you should attend this show.  An 8-foot table for two days with optional setup on Friday evening costs just $50.  I’ll be there with my knives.  If you’re a collector this is also the show for you.  It’s $5 to get in and the food service is worth the price of admittance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What's a Collection?



About a year ago I wrote about box cutters.  I had bought an older box cutter from W.T. Rogers Co.  It cleaned up nice and I also had a box cutter I used in high school so I figured the two of them were worth a few hundred words. 

 
collection of box openers
Rogers box cutter, the start of my collection

While I was attempting, much in vain, to discover a little bit about the Rogers box cutter I remembered a cutter I had gotten at Lincoln Electric.  That made three.  That left me with a nagging suspicion I had a collection of box cutters.   

We’ve all read about people with the collecting bug that can’t seem to find a niche.  One day their heirs find that they had 2 of these and 7 of those and a couple of everything else, but not one complete set of anything.


So how many of anything makes a collection?


Can we assume it takes more than one?  How about two?  Two is just a pair at best so it’s got to be more than two.  Three is right at the edge of collecting, especially if there is some geographical or chronological difference among all three members of the proto-collection. 


Four.  It takes four objects with something in common to start a collection.


It’s official!  I took the plunge and bought a fourth box opener.  I’ve transitioned from being an accidental collector to purposefully collecting box openers.  


I was at a flea market and saw one in a box of stuff.  It said Jim Beam on it.  The red coloration on the sleeve was in good shape, no nicks from being carried with pocket change or being dropped, and the metal blade holder had a small touch of rust that cleaned up nicely.  (See, I’m already using jargon like sleeve and blade holder, a sure sign of collecting!)

The addition of this red box openers made my collection a real collection
Jim  Beam box opener. Now my collection is on firm ground.

Unfortunately the Beam box opener is completely sterile.  The box opener is completely void of the name of the distributor, manufacturer or any other identifying marks.  Zip! Nada! Nothing!  Clearly a covert box opener!  If it was black it would be tactical.

There may be a database out there somewhere, but I’d hazard a guess it doesn’t exist.