Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Investor-grade folding knives

The C-46 Spyderco Lum Tanto was the first series of collaboration design by the late knifemaker Bob Lum, its now highly sought-after as a collector's item

There are at least 1,200 pieces of this production knife in the market where at least a first batch of 200 of them are serial-numbered..
A middle-aged knife collector approached me on appraising his collection.
Among the lot, were some CRKT Carson M4s, A Spyderco Lum Ti-handled Tanto, a few BUCK knives and several PUMA hunting knives.
He wanted to sell his CRKT Carsons for RM800 a piece.
The Spyderco Lum Tanto was a rarity.
The collector wanted RM4,000 for the knife.
Based on today's value, an original folding Lum Tanto, made by the late Bob Lum himself, can fetch between RM4K - RM6K.
This of course, is based on its condition and the year it was made.
Lum succumbed to terminal illness a few years ago in the US and was a highly-respected knifemaker.
His legacy can be seen on Seki-Cutlery's line of utility knives, Spydero and Benchmade.
When the collector asked for RM4K, I told him that his pricing was rediculous.
This was based on the condition of his knife.
It was dinged on the edge, there were scuffs on the handles and part of the pocket clip was also worn out.
There was a missing screw on the clip.
His reason: "Its been used, so,  more value.."
If you watch 'Pawn Stars' on History channel, the owner of the shop Rick would probably laugh hi head off.
The guy insisted that his collection is valued at RM40K based on today's market rate.
If the Lum is in mint condition, he would easily score about USD300 (RM1K) for it.
But based on the deplorable condition of the blade, I would give him RM200.
In reality, there is little value on used blades.
If your knives are scratched, dinged, modified, it would only get about 5% - 10% of its original value.
After appraising his collection, I found that nearly all his knives were used.
His rationale was this: the longer he keeps the knife, the higher its value.
To put a cap to what he said, if you have a limited-run item which comes with a box, serial number and a certificate, it would retain its value, or demand at least 30% more.
That said, its important to keep the box and papers in the best possible condition.
In the case of the so-called collector, he has none.
So, good luck on the sale...

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