Folding knives have a unique appeal to collectors. Their compact size, intricate designs, and mechanical ingenuity draw the interest of enthusiasts. Starting a folding knife collection can be a rewarding hobby. This guide will walk you through how to establish a high-quality collection of your own.
Understanding Folding Knives
Folding knives have a long and rich history. Pocket knives date back over 2,000 years to the Roman Empire. Many traditional folding knife patterns like the Barlow, Trapper, and Penknife emerged in the 1400s. Today there are countless modern designs with innovative locking mechanisms and blade styles.
The key components of a folding knife include the blade, handle, and locking mechanism. The blade is the most important part and comes in different shapes, sizes, and steel types. The handle provides grip and houses the blade in the closed position. The locking mechanism keeps the blade securely open and prevents accidental closure.
Identifying Your Collecting Goals
The first step is determining what interests you about folding knives. Do you appreciate their historical significance, aesthetic appeal, or functionality? Setting a budget will help guide what kinds of knives to look for. And decide if you want a focused or diverse collection of many types.
Focusing on specific themes like vintage knives from a particular region or time period can lead to a cohesive collection. But a wide range of styles, materials, and designs also has its appeal. The size of your collection depends on available space and how serious of a collector you want to become. A handful of high-quality pieces or filling an entire room are both valid options.
Finding and Acquiring Folding Knives
With your goals defined, start researching valuable and interesting folding knives to add to your wishlist. Reference books like the Price Guide to Antique & Vintage Folding Knives or online resources like All About Pocket Knives. Connecting with other collectors on forums like BladeForums is also helpful.
There are several places to acquire folding knives for your collection:
- Online marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Etsy, and Knife Exchange allow you to bid on or buy folding knives from anywhere. Carefully inspect item listings and only buy from reputable sellers.
- Knife shows and conventions: Knife shows offer the opportunity to view knives up close, meet vendors and other collectors, and find unique pieces. Major shows happen across the US and admission fees vary.
- Brick-and-mortar knife shops: Local knife shops specializing in collectibles will have rotating inventory and may negotiate prices. Check reviews first to find reputable shops known for reasonable prices and authentic goods.
Evaluate any potential purchase carefully. Inspect the knife for damage or signs of a fake and verify details matching the listing. For the best deals on authentic knives, buy from transparent sellers that welcome questions about the item's provenance.
Caring for Your Collection
Properly storing and displaying your folding knife collection will keep it in the best possible condition. Keep knives out of direct sunlight in a cabinet or drawer. Consider arranging a shadow box display for a curated collection.
Regularly cleaning and lubricating the joints and blades of your folding knives prevents rust and keeps all parts in working order. Wipe down metal parts with a slightly oiled cloth and use a specialized knife lubricant or mineral oil on pivot points and locking mechanisms.
As with any collection, documentation is key. Keep records of details for each knife like the model, maker, year of production, and purchase price. This information is invaluable for insurance purposes and maintaining the collection's overall value.
Continuing Your Knife Collecting Journey
To become deeply knowledgeable as a collector, join knife collecting organizations and connect with fellow enthusiasts. Attend workshops, seminars, or knife making classes. Read books covering the history and craftsmanship of folding knives.
Building a folding knife collection can bring immense satisfaction. With each new addition, your knowledge and appreciation grow. An established collection becomes an invaluable record of knife making history and an outlet for your creativity as a curator. Keep learning and expanding your collection over the years to come. The exciting world of folding knives has something for collectors at every stage.