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.