While writing this article many ideas came to mind. Should I re-hash the many knife related articles that I have read or approach this from a different angle?
Instead of looking at the knife world from a maker/collectors standpoint, how would a novice knife collector research and purchase custom knives?
I have been a knife collector for over twenty years and a maker since 1988. Through the years I have met many converts to the cutlery world. Some knew just what they wanted, some saw a photo of a knife that caught their eye and some had no idea what they wanted to buy or collect.
A good rule of thumb is to buy what you like and worry about resale as a secondary concern. I am not saying to disregard the possibility of selling the knife down the road, but resale should not be your over-riding concern. Always buy quality because quality will always sell! Early on I purchased the finest knives that I could afford at the time. My tastes and budget have increased over the years and I have found that most of the time you can recoup at least your initial. investment when re-selling a piece that you have grown tired of. Some pieces will earn a tidy profit. I have bought and sold over 800 knives and with each purchase or sale learn something. I ask a lot of questions and make myself available to answer questions posed to me. Sometimes it pays to overpay a bit to get that "must have gem".
Often when a knife looks "too good to be true" you should be wary. Custom knives are stolen and resold. Sometimes you can pick up a deal but I have found it better to deal with known quantities (ie: dealers, makers, etc.) A dealer can usually provide instant product including knives from makers with long waiting periods. Expect to pay a slight markup.
Books are an excellent source of information. Read Ken Warner's Knives Annuals, Bernard Levine's Guides and any cutlery related articles, magazines, etc. that you can get your hands on. A.G. Russell has a magazine called "The Cutting Edge" that has knives at realistic prices. See which pieces sell and which ones remain in issue after issue. Try to specialize as opposed to buying everything that catches your eye. Do not get caught in the trap of "the one that got away". If you want it badly enough, you will find a way to afford it.
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