IMPORTANT TIPS FOR NEW COLLECTORS TO THINK ABOUT
If you don’t want to be disappointed, know what you’re buying and only buy what you can afford. The only way to ensure this, is doing your homework first on the knives you are wanting to collect. I recommend that you talk to other collectors; buy some knife books or magazines on the subject of knife collecting and do some online research. Always shop around and take your time. Bottom line, do your homework first and then make your purchases.
The value of knives will fluctuate like any other product. While some brands are considered a better quality and will hold their value better than others, no one can guarantee that a knife will go up in value over time. This is why it is paramount to buy knives you like and not what you think will make you rich someday.
Just about every knife is made in “limited” runs. Being part of a limited run in most cases is not going to make the knife more valuable. A knife marketed as a “Collector’s Edition” could also be mass produced. In most cases it’s a marketing ploy to increase sales and will most likely not go up in value. A “vintage” or "antique" knife can also be a piece of junk. Buy it because you like it, it’s different or you think it will be a good addition to your collection. If the deal is too good to be true, treat it that way. No one is going to knowingly sell a quality knife for a couple of dollars. Know what you’re purchasing first.
A great place to find older knives is estate sales, but don’t expect a great deal all the time. Many estate sales are run by brokers who oversee the sale for a commission of the sales, so of course they’re trying to get the best price they can. Other places can be garage/yard sales, flea markets or antique malls/stores. I’ve found some great deals in pawn shops and they will deal with you, so long as the shop can make a profit. Remember though, you can’t own every knife you see, so don’t even try, you’ll go broke and regret many of your purchases.
This next statement will make some collectors mad, but just because it says U.S.A. on it doesn’t mean it’s the best quality made or it’s a collector’s knife. Some American companies and individuals can and have made some very poor quality knives. Some of the companies or individuals in other countries produce some of the best knives on the world market. You'll find excellent knives from England, Germany, Japan and yes even from China. As a collector, is your collection strictly “Made in the USA” or does it include knives from around the world and different time periods? Do your homework, be patient, search and above all have some fun.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANTIQUE, VINTAGE, AND COLLECTIBLE
There has been a debate for years on what these terms should represent. They mean different things to people in a wide variety of items that dealers sell, from cars to old six-shooters or fine art to bottle caps. In the strictest sense, the difference between an antique and a vintage item is its age. With Collectibles it’s not the age, but the desire or the demand.
I’ve spent a number of hours reading and researching this subject, and it’s clear to see that not everyone is going to agree on how these terms should be defined. I’ve taken from what seems to be the majority opinion and what makes good sense to me and written the following terms and descriptions. I’ll call them the:
Roberts Guidelines and Definitions for Antiques, Vintage, & Collectables
First lets look at the definition of an Antique? This would be an object of considerable age that is valued for its artistic or historical implications. To most antique dealers, the term “antique” is applied to items that are more than 100 years old from todays date.
As defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
1: a relic or object of ancient times
2 a: a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period
and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago
b: a manufactured product (such as an automobile) from an earlier period
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s publication on Works of Art, Collector’s Pieces, Antiques, and Other Cultural Property: “In order to qualify as an antique for CBP purposes, the article must be over 100 years of age at the time of importation.”
Therefore it is a commonly accepted standard that an object must be OVER 100 years old in order to be classified as an antique. Condition of an object has nothing to do with classifying an object as an antique. However condition and the rarity of an item will greatly play a part in determining the items value.
Now lets look at a badly misused term, “Vintage.” The word literally means "of age" and was originally applied in the early 15th century to the age of a bottle of wine. It was adapted from the Old French “vendage” (wine harvest) derived from the Latin “vindemia” (grape-gathering). Today it has been so freely misused throughout the antique and collectables market that it is now considered a part of the accepted vernacular. Most reputable dealers believe that it should only apply to items more than 40 years of age, but less than 100.
Now we come to the term “Collectible.” The term is used loosely to describe an object that is less than 100 years old, is in high demand, and therefore of value, sometimes more than the item’s original retail cost. Some buyers incorrectly use the term collectible for an antique or vintage item. You can have an antique item that is 110 years old, but if there is no market demand for it, it’s simply an antique.
On the other side of that coin you can have an item that is any age and it is a valuable “collectible” because there is a high demand for it and collectors are willing to pay prices over the normal value. In fact you could have a “collectible” item before it even hits the marketplace i.e. “Bennie Babies” or “Cabbage Patch Dolls.”
Other Terms To Know
You will also hear of several other specific terms such as “retro” that is shortened from the words “retrograde” or “retroactive” which the original meaning references the past. Most dealers typically apply the term retro to items that are at least 20 years old, but not yet 40. People, like the “baby boom” generation believe this refers to the time period between 1950 to 1959 and items from that period.
Retro items are not from the past, instead they are objects that imitate the styles of the recent past. We’re not referring to copies or fakes being sold as real items from that time period, but items which are representations to the past. That Philco radio that looks like it came from the 1950’s, but was made in 2010. New jackets that look like a high school letterman’s jacket, but you just bought it at J.C. Penney.
You may also hear terms like “Repurposed.” An object that is being used or combined with another object for a new purpose. Also you will hear “Repro” or “Repops” which refers to “Reproductions.” They are copies of older items, not "fakes," because they are being sold as copies of much older things such as doorknobs, Coke products or cast iron toys.
Have you ever heard someone say something like “Antique dinosaur bone” or “Antique sword from ancient Rome?” Well, they meet the over 100 years old rule, but that’s not correct, even antiques have an age limit. Any item over 300 years old and is the remains or impressions of formerly living things are called fossils. If the items were manmade, they are called antiquities or artifacts.
Simply labeling something as an “antique,” “vintage,” or “collectible,” doesn’t set a price range for the value of an item. As in almost everything we buy, the value is determined more by whether there is a market or buyers demand for it. When it comes to purchasing items on the antique or collectible market, the buyer should do a lot of research on the items they are planning to collect before handing over a bundle of money and suffering a lot of disappointing purchases.
So, when you compare antiques to vintage or collectibles remember, antiques stand the test of time. Their value is more likely to remain stable. So called vintage or collectibles, however are priced more on the current demand of the market and their long term value is highly speculative. Be sure to exercise much more caution when investing in a vintage or collectible items as opposed to antiques.
The articles, stories, and photographs contained herein are provided in one location strictly for the readers information and convenience only. David's Blades assumes no responsible for the accuracy of the content from external sources.
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This next section is a listing of Antique stores, trade days, flea markets, etc. that my wife and I have enjoyed and they are our favorites to visit again. Collectors don't forget pawn shops. Asked for their bucket of old knives, they will know what you mean and if you are lucky like I have been you'll find that little jewel of a knife in there.
I will only list those places we believe to be 4 or 5 star ratings, but that doesn't mean you should pass on any other known antique stores. Our ratings are based on our impressions of the location, parking, size, inventory, presentation of booths and the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Prices are not considered in our ratings because in this secondary market they are too subjective both by the seller and buyer, and price can vary greatly by regions of the country. Public reviews/ratings on Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Facebook and other sources are also considered.
Now of course I'm looking for knives, but my wife is looking for all kinds of other antique items for displaying around our house. So no matter what your collecting or looking for, hopefully this section will help you and if you're ever in any of these cities, take a few minutes and check out the places we've listed. You just might find that special knife for your collection or that one missing item you've been looking for.
There is no question, LoneStar Antiques is the #1 antique mall in the North Texas Mid-Cities area. It features 60,000 square feet and over 200+ vendors and includes a lunch style cafe and tea room. For years my wife and I have shopped here and there are several vendors with an excellent selection of knives. The inventory is endless, easy to navigate the store and well displayed. The staff is knowledgeable and very helpful. Check them out at:https://www.facebook.com/LoneStarAntiques/
St. Mary's Antique Mall in St. Mary, MO. is hands down my favorite mall to shop when I'm in this area. It's a day trip because it's about 70 miles south of St. Louis and is located between I-55 and the Mississippi River. I have spent all day in this 77,000 square foot mall with 450 display booths and 225 showcases. I have found several knives here and I won't tell you how many things my wife has found. If it's not here, you aren't going to find it. Rated at 4.3 and 4.5 stars on other websites, I disagree and give them a big 5.0. And when you're done shopping, there are some good restaurants located nearby. Look'em up at:https://www.missouriantiquemalls.com/st-marys/
About 4.5 miles north of Interstate 44 in Joplin, MO. is a great place to spend an hour or two, the Rangeline Antique Mall. Rated as a 4.5 on Google Maps and 4.8 with FaceBook fans, I would agree based on the store's size, huge variety of the inventory, organization and the friendliness of the staff. A couple of ladies were very helpful and I found several folding knives there during my second visit in May 2019. I will continue to stop by every time I'm traveling I-44. Website:http://rangelineantiquemall.com/
There are many good antique stores off Interstate 44 and here is one my wife and I enjoy every time we can. Located in Lebanon, MO. on the south side of I-44 you have to drive around on a couple of streets to get to them, but it's well worth the effort. With over 400 booths, countless showcases and excellent hours of 8 AM to 8 PM 7 days a week, it's almost certain that you will find just what you are looking for at this great antique mall. Plus on one end of the building you have the Russell Stover Candies store. Everyone will enjoy their time here. Visit them at their website:https://heartlandantiques.net/
Although this is not an antique store, they are premier locations to find and purchase knives. Shepherd Hills Factory Outlets are located in Lebanon, MO., Branson, MO., Osage Beach, MO., and Eddyville, KY. featuring brand-name pottery, cutlery, home décor & glassware retailers. I have been to the one in Lebanon off I-44 west and the one in Branson. You'll find knives by Buck, Case, Chicago Cutlery, selections of Swiss Army and several others. I always enjoy shopping at any Shepherd Hills location, because there is so much variety in knife styles, size, and selections. The sales associates are always friendly and willing to spend time with you in order to make sure you find the knife you want. If you haven't been to any of their locations, you've missed a real treat.http://www.shepherdhillscutlery.com/
Off of I-40 in North Little Rock, AR is a tucked away jewel, the Twin City Antique Mall. I've stopped in here twice now and both times I've found a vintage knife and my wife has found some of her forest green glassware. It's a mid-size store, but with a huge selection of antique and vintage items. If your in the area be sure to stop in. Email: twincityantiquemall.com
Located on state highway 67 in Farmington, MO is a place that is absolutely fun to visit, Forever Antiques. They have everything from wash tubs to wagon wheels. Your shopping starts on the outside of the store with all kinds of unique items in front of what looks to me like an old western storefront. When you get inside you will be amazed at all you see and then when you believe you've seen it all, there is a 2nd floor. @foreverantiques on Facebook.
In Denton, TX co-located in Stonehill Center is two very fine antique stores that are well worth your time. To me The Antique Gallery is more of an upscale store in it's inventory, displays and age of products you find here. In The Antique Experience I think you find older items as in furniture, jewelry, knives and other showcase items. Both stores are well managed, clean, very organized displays all in 22,000 square feet loaded with beautiful booths and showcases. Check them out at:https://antiqueexperiencedenton.com/ or https://antiquegallerydenton.com/
Located on the eastbound side of I-44 in Tulsa, OK and easy access is the I-44 Antique Mall. This 9,000 square foot store with 50 vendors is packed with everything from fine china and porcelain to collectable bottle caps or baseball cards. I have found a collectable pocket knife every time I have stopped in. Take time and enjoy looking for whatever you collect or what you need to decorate with and the staff will assist you with any need.http://www.i44antiquemall.com/
In Canton, TX is possible the largest and oldest flea market/trade days in North America. Beginning on the courthouse square in the 1850's the First Monday Trade Days now operates on over 100 acres and supports more than 6,000 vendors. There is indoor and outdoor booths, permanent and temporary vendors. You can spend two days going through all the buildings and displays and a lot of people do and they park in the adjoining RV park or local hotels. Knife collectors if you don't find a new or vintage knife for your collection here I don't know what to tell you. There is something for everyone of all ages at First Monday Trade Days. Check them out at:https://firstmondaycanton.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/FMTradeDays/
Located off I-30 in Bryant, AR is Antiques & Uniques and you will find something for everyone in this great antique store. You wish every store had the variety that is found here. I have spent several hours in here and found a number of knives for my collection. It has a great staff and the store is organized very well. Look'em up on facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/antiquesanduniquesmarket/
Located on state highway 67 in Farmington, MO is Antique Treasures and if you don't find your treasure in here, you're not looking hard enough. With 52,000 square feet, 265 display booths and 110 showcases you will find anything and everything from fine glassware to furniture in 2 galleries. My wife and I can't go through Farmington without stopping here and I have found about 8 or 10 knives for my collection here. They have earned a 5 star rating on several sites and I agree. It's a must for any serious antique shopper. Visit them also at:https://www.missouriantiquemalls.com/antique-treasures/ or https://www.facebook.com/antiquetreasuresfarmington/
Located in the heart of Keller, TX just one block off Main St. (Hwy 377) is a small place that I have been going to for years. Here is another store where your shopping starts before you even get inside. Once inside you will find everything you could collect, but first enjoy the coffee and home baked cookies. For us knife collections one of my friends has a booth here and is always coming across new and vintage knives to sale. Stop in or take a look at their antiques at:http://memoriesntreasures.com or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MemoriesNTreasures/
Just off I-30 westbound near the Fort Worth, TX cultural district is Montgomery Street Antique Mall and 60,000 square feet of fun. We love going here when we are in the area and with their Secret Garden Restaurant you can spend all day here. As Fort Worth's premiere antique mall it has some of the best selections I have ever seen. I have found many knives here along with great items used to display them. If you are a serious collector or someone just looking for that one special item I'll bet you can find it here.https://www.facebook.com/Montgomery-Street-Antique-Mall-559907257355459/
Located south of I-20 in Arlington, TX is Cooper Street Antique Mall with 53,000 square feet of treasures and a tea room. You can find everything from tin cups to beautiful antique furniture. Reviews on other sites are great, they can't wait to go back again. Be sure to give yourself several hours in order to really enjoy the great items you will find here.https://www.facebook.com/Cooper-Street-Antique-Mall-500817389941704/
Located on SH-380 in McKinney, TX is Third Monday Trade Days. This medium size market makes up for size with a wide variety of vendors and it's just a fun place with great people. If you take your time going through all the booths it will take about 3 hours, but they will be well spent. Knife collectors every time I've been here there I've seen lots of knives and vendors that are willing to deal. Take a look at:https://thirdmondaytradedays.com/
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