Thursday, September 25, 2008

Too much?

So, what is the most you would spend on a knife? I get this a lot and frankly, the single most precious piece in my keepsake is a priceless gift from Spyderco's owner Sal Glesser.
He gave me his own Endura (the company's flagship knife) when I visited his factory in Golden, Colorado some eight years ago.
This moment is something that I would remember for life. Getting back to the question - No amount is far to great when you are a knife collector.
The commitment and research you put in establishing a collection is defined by the fundemental understanding of what is good and that there is no price for the best.
Firstly, I'd say that the value factor is a matter of intrepretation. Over the years, I learned that some people have a amassed a large collection and the defenition of their keepsake, is a high quantity of cheap stuff.
In their own intrepretation, its enough and in terms of the mass numbers, its valuable.
And on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who dedicated their time in search of a precision-engineered tool, made with the best materials money can buy.
These are the very basis to some high-end factory made knives. And true enough, this sort of collector have direct contact with the person who made their knives.
So, two sides of the story. No one is wrong. Only thing that sets them apart, is the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Which goes into the next question : why spend so much? Does a high price determine the future value of the said investment piece?
I won't bank on hype, but recent developments in the collector's market showed that a certain make and model did fetch a higher than usual price.
What are the factors? Limited availibility, one of a kind, the passing of a famous maker and market hype.
I know for a fact that some knives are not worth as much as they did now after its maker dies.
But not all knives are investment pieces. Some folks lose money speculating on the wrong maker and their hype.
For me, I value knives primarily for its practicality of usage in the field as well as daily chores that demands cutting.
That said, I started with the ordinary knives. Ones that you can find at department stores.
My first working knife was BUCK selector which I still use until today. It cost me no more than RM180 to get it going.
And at the time, it was the most I spent on a knife. Then came the Spydercos. One after another (At my prime, I had nearly 100-odd Spydies), they filled my cupboard to the brim.
Later, my taste changed. I bought my first handmade knife back in 2000 and it was a Bob Dozier slim outdoorsman.
I paid USD$175 for the piece which was lightly used. My next high-end knife was Strider AR folder at USD$375. Then nothing seems to be deterrent because the money was good!
In between my growing taste for good knives, I acquired some from makers I found through internet forums.
And today, most of my collection are focused. I have a dozen high-end stuff, plenty of the ordinary ones which gave it a huge variety.
Is this ever going to stop? Well, I guess not. Just have to be careful and not over indulge - at the same time, land a lemon that sits in the cupboard for ages.
As I am speaking, the quest for the perfect knife continues...
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