Setting up the Rules for My Collection...

Jan 3, 1999
I'd like to hear from some fellow forum members how they structure their knife collection...i.e.-limiting their purchases per year, what makes one decide to sell or trade a certain knife to acquire another...

I began collecting eighteen months ago and now have 35 knives in my collection. At this rate I would have 1056 knives in my den if I live to be 80 years old. My wife says that I am obsessed. Guilty as charged!

I have decided to set some parameters to
the pursuit of the ultimate knife collection.
I have a cabinet for my collection that will hold 96 knives-when the capacity is reached I must either trade an existing knife
for a new one or sell an existing knife to clear a space for a new one. In this manner I should be able to gradually raise the quality level of my collection by always moving up to more custom work, more detailing, more exotic materials and better craftsmanship.

By keeping the quantity of my collection at a static 96, I should be happy in the challenge of constantly trying to raise the bar, and my wife should be happy that the size of the collection doesn't start infringing on the domestic bliss

Would anyone care to share their own rules for keeping the obsession to a quiet roar?

Nick B.
Nick B,
you might consider in the future to specialize in that with pleases you the most. It might be a style of knife, a particular mechanism, maker, or ? A "random" collection grows very quickly.
I went through a period where I was really just learning about what I liked, so I was buying everything that appealed to me. After a while, I learned what works for me, what my priorities are, and I wound up selling a lot of the knives I had purchased.

My interests are still growing though, so I still buy a lot of knives, though less than at first. My interest is primarily in custom fixed blades and swords now, so though I buy fewer blades, I still spend more on a yearly basis.

It would be a relief to me to finally have one of everthing I want, so I could save some money for a new truck, but I don't know when that will happen.

I am really impressed by your starting with room for 96 knives! For me that would be 96 recitations by my wife of the standard lecture "Honey, what is that another stupid knife? Don't you think you have enough of those?" (contunue in you own mind that train of thought for 20 minutes

But even if you survive the criticism, you should take it slowly because it takes time to build "character" in a collection of anything. And with knives there is the special problem of not always being able to actually use them. Tatical types can't go around really slashing and stabbing. It is a mental thing rather than actually physical.
What gives meaning to collectibles is your experience with them, and it takes time to weed out the ones that you thought would be a fine addition and then later you see as redundant or lacking interest. We see entire collections of knives for sale in long lists on the forum here. They always lack character (unless maybe an estate sale). The owner grew it too fast and became disenchanted with the results, noticed all the money sunk into it and decided to liquidate.

Personally, I was surprised to find that as my collection of tactical knives grew, when I got a Benchmade balisong and actually started practicing martial arts with it, it became the special star of the collection. Now I have 15 butterfly knives and the direction of my collecting will never be the same. You just can't always tell where the next knife will take you. It might be the one that changes everything.

Take it slow and try to integrate some of your own human experience into each piece to make it your own. That way next year we won't see a for-sale that says:
96 random knives complete with display case, $10,000 obo.

My collection is composed of the knives I buy to use. At this point, I will only buy folders from Chris Reeve and will only buy fixed blades from MAD DOG. I carry a Large Sebenza and the MAD DOG ATAK daily. I have a Lab Rat and a Panther arriving shortly and am planning to order a 3/16 AZ Hunter. Fixed blades are my top priority now; one folder is plenty.

I prefer quality, not quantity.

My collection is a little varied. I do have knives that I use and knives that are strictly display pieces. I collect older and unusual butterfly knives. I also have a collection of various fantasy knives. I know that there isn't a lot of practicality to them, but I view them like a work of art. I figure I would rather admire a Hibben on my wall then some paintings.

I also have an auto collection, this is based on design at the moment. I would eventually like to have one of every design made to display the "evolution" of autos. Ranging from Presto pushbutton to scale release kind of thing. Have several different varieties now.

As far as limiting oneself to just 96 knives, I dont think I could, I would just have to create more display pieces. Too many varieties out there to stop at one number IMHO. To date 78 total and growing.


Live every day as if it was your last, for some day it shall be.

[This message has been edited by Jonathan (edited 13 January 1999).]
The only rule that I have for my own collection is that I will not buy anthing that I would be afraid to use. I don't mean that I will or would use them all as I prefer to have a good deal of them in mint condition, but rather that if I had to use them, I would not be afraid to trust them.

Been collecting seriously for about 5 years.
I usually go for "the best example" (to date) of a particular type. Got about 25 among:
-Old fashioned pocket knives.
-High tech folders.
-Classic Daggers.
I like interesting opening mechanisms manual and auto. Ideally, every knife must be usable - and many are sometimes carried, but mostly displayed not getting much use..