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What are the best knife maker artists to invest in?

jdeangelis May 17, 2010

  1. jdeangelis

    jdeangelis Little member

    What knifemaker artist knives typically hold their value the best?
    It would be nice to collect custom knives that hold their value best when we want so many!
    Thanks for your input.
    ~ JD Jack DeAngelis:2_thumbs_up:
    Obijuan Kenobe likes this.
  2. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Great thread idea Jack.

    I understand there was an excellent article written for the next issue of Knives Illustrated.

    In the mean time there are numerous threads on the different forums regarding this very subject.
  3. oromoto

    oromoto Enormous member

    If I can just name one (although I want to name many), it will be Michael Burch.
  4. Parker

    Parker Former Village People Roadie Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Larry Fuegen

    Bill Moran


    SR Johnson

    Mad Dog (yep, who knew I'd throw that out, eh? fuck it, he's coming up on 25 years and his older ATAKs trade hands at $3,000 - $5,000)


    Walter Brend

    Harry McEvoy

    OLDER Ernest Emerson

    Jody Sampson

    Just a couple. And I know I missed a whole bunch off the top of my head (and I'll kick myself for that later)

    An internet site and being flavor of the month does not make a collectible and appreciating maker.

    Solid performance over a couple decades does.

    There are a LOT of new makers, some of them exceptionally talented, many of them good. Not all will be good performers. Most (the VAST "most") will devalue significantly over just a short period and will likely not recover their initial value.

    I've learned to pay attention to Les about who will be a good performer over the next couple decades.

    My own take is "who can I buy, use for a couple years and beat like a red-headed stepchild and then sell for a few bucks more than I paid for it?"

    Those same makers tend to appreciate significantly if left pristine.

    The current moment is a sort of soft market for the individual seller as far as I have seen, but a lot of guys are having very good years as dealers.
  5. Kinnear Knife

    Kinnear Knife Huge member

    Jay Fisher, maybe?

    Have a good one!
  6. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hi Ormoto, Parker and Kinnear,

    Now the hard part....why?

    And which knife from which maker....they are not all equal.

    What return on investment do you see (percentage) and how long will it take to get that ROI?

    Does it really take decades or can you get a ROI in a year or less?
  7. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hi Parker,

    The market is soft for many individual sellers as they did not do their homework (which is fine) and bought what they want.

    It is the "aftermarket" where you "go to school" and you find out what the knife was really worth.

    Most makers and most collectors do not understand what a makers position in the market is. Consequently the knife is almost always overpriced and the buyer purchases a knife that they have little or no chance of getting their money back out of.

    Many people who read my posts think Iam an arrogant SOB because of what I write.. :D

    What they don't understand is that I do this to let people know there are certain knives, makers and materials I am not interested in. Doing this really served me well when the forums first started 10 years or so ago.

    I got people to stop bringing me factory knives, including Randall's, customs with brass or nickel silver. Then I moved into materials such as Mokume, Wild Woods and Jigged bone (except for traditional patterns which call for that).

    A couple years ago I started on Giraffe bone. Now it is camel bone.

    All of these materials were "hot" at one time...these are trends. Nothing wrong with trends...just understand you need to get rid of them before the trend is over.
  8. Parker

    Parker Former Village People Roadie Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Les, I have learned two things about investing in the past two years.

    One, I did not know nearly as much about real estate as I thought I did. Then again, neither did most banks. Either I'm in good company or they are not. :bwah:

    Two, the Mad Dogs took off. Demand stayed the same. Prices went up, mainly b/c he finally decided to build them at something other than a loss. The aftermarket was really starting to go nuts, even before the neat little recession we have been enjoying (recall that savage irony and cynicism my BA in liberal arts instilled in me :devil1:)

    Even when most folks have been broke either in perception or reality, the MDK have done okay.

    But I do need to get a hold of your book and read it. Knives and business are fun, and yeah, i got a LOT of education before stumbling onto something I could enjoy and profit at.

    And to be fair Les, I never thought of you as arrogant. Cocksure was more like it :devilzeek BUT there was always the ring of truth and wisdom in those words.

    I recall a conversation we had via email about JSP knives. HE could get those prices. You could not, nor can really anyone on the aftermarket. I guess the answer is in the book.

    Just tell me though, does it have lots of pictures and maybe a coloring section? I really am not all that clever :shockedevil:

    I would say that the smaller MD's have done very well, the bigger have not, as of yet.

    Why, outside of perceived practical value, I cannot say. But the bigger blades are harder to move at times, even with some rather interesting and hard to find options. I think I may need to call you this week about something or other...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2010
  9. oromoto

    oromoto Enormous member

    Why? Because I can never find one !! And I really want one!! I haven't owned a Burch knife, but I did many researches. I love knives that has character, a knife that you take a look at it and you know who made it. That's the kind of knife that will last for ever. I don't see knife collection as an investment because they lack "history". Only things with history will go up in value. I collect knives because it makes me happy, I don't know how long I will be addicted to it, but until then, work hard, buy knife!
    Back to the business stand point (my opinion of course). For a knife to sell, it has to
    1.Top built quality.
    2.Know the purpose of the knife.
    3.Shape follows the purpose.
    4.Pricing right for the targeted group.
    5.Make news every where.
    6.Have the inventory to sell when ready.
    example?: Spyderco's Military. Chris Reeve's Sebenza.
  10. Tank Buster

    Tank Buster Rattlehead Devil

    Rick Hinderer; I can't believe no one has mentioned him yet.
  11. PIC

    PIC Unchained


    Rob Daltons knives hold their value very well. a knife that sold for $75 MINT
    back in 1996-97, is now worth $250+ in 2010. and that knife would be
    model "Thin Line SEAL". a tough as nails auto side opener.

    more info on Dalton Combat Cutlery. go here. http://www.Daltonforums.com
  12. Chernovran

    Chernovran Little member

    How about Scott Cook?
    Of maybe DB Fraley...
  13. ronmageddon

    ronmageddon Huge member

    Kiku Matsuda,
    Bob Dozier,
    Fred Perrin,
    Oleksander Bogdanovich

    I've never had a problem with these knives losing value, and I don't think I ever will.
  14. Stabber

    Stabber Stabber's Steel Connection Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Keep an Eye on Ghetto Forge!!:madaddy:[​IMG]
  15. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hi Parker,

    Just like other investments, custom knives move in cycles. So to make money with them you need to sell them when the cycle hits the peak or wait until the cycle comes around again.

    I saw a Bob Lum Fighter for sale recently he was asking $2,000. 12 months ago that would have been a bargain price and would have sold immediately. Today it is probably $500 over what it will eventually sell for.

    For the last 5 years forged blades were very hot. Now they have cooled and now tactical folders are hot again. I have a couple of theories on that.

    Fixed blades under $300, Olexey, McNees, Coye, Letourneau, etc....lots of interest.

    I think most larger fixed blades (without guards) are slower sellers. Due to most being overpriced.

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments. Im always curious what makers and what styles people feel they can sell for a profit.
  16. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hi Oromoto,

    I like the way you are thinking. Sounds like you have thought this out.

    Everyone has different wants and desires for their collection.

    Custom knives started to catch on in the early 60's. GW Stone, Loveless, Moran, Ralph Bone, Gil Hibben, etc. So we are pushing 50 years (some more than that) with custom knives being available (at least here in the US). If it is going to take another 50 for custom knives to "catch on" as an investment...I could be in trouble! LOL
  17. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hey Stabber,

    So you are the East Coast Dave Ellis...Dealer/Maker (although I think Dave is a Maker/Dealer).

    Might want to rethink your forge's name! :D
  18. Uncle_Jarvis

    Uncle_Jarvis Should be a custom title here



    If you stick to any of theses makers you will be very happy in EVERY perspective..

    Jens Anso

    Bob Loveless

    Bob LUM

    Scott Cook

    Tony Bose

    Kit Carson

    Allen Elishewitz

    Deryk Munroe

    Michael Walker

    I grantee everyone here can agree with me ...
  19. Obijuan Kenobe

    Obijuan Kenobe Our only hope! Brigade Member

    Spectacular thread. Crazy what I have yet to SEE, let alone hold or own. Thanks for a great thread...I'll continue to read this with interest.

  20. Les Robertson

    Les Robertson Guru of Steel Knife Maker or Craftsman

    Hi Uncle,

    Hate to do it but have to disagree with you.

    Bob Lum prices in the aftermarket have been dropping for the last 12 months.

    When a maker passes away their knives generally go up in value for about 18 months. After that most people have gotten the knife they want.

    Allen Elishewitz, his knives have never really held their value. Very talented designer...but built a lot of knives. This is not to say that there aren't some that won't go up in value...but buy in large Allen's knives are known as a good investment.

    If you can get a knife directly from Kit or Scott, yep you can make some money.

    Tony's knives are a good investment as are Michael Walkers.

    The problem with Munroe is that if he ever decide to build more than 20 knives a year and started to fill the demand...the price in the aftermarket would go down. So those who bought at the top of the market will lose money. Same would hold for Scott Cook.

    Those who bought Emerson's at the top of the market in the late 1990's will have difficulty in getting their money back.

    Note, this is not the maker's doing...it is the reality of the Aftermarket.

    Question for you Uncle:

    If you bought a Scott Cook in the aftermarket today (as Scott is not taking orders) for $1800 - $2,000...what do you think the knives will be worth in 5 years? Why?

    GTC is now building an integral Ti handle folder now. How do you think this will affect the after market price of the Lochsa?

    BTW, what profession are you basing your opinions on?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2010

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