Personal Effects, Dec. 18

Published 9:33 am Monday, December 19, 2016

By Jerry Sampson

Contributing writer

Question: Jerry, I’m sending you this email as I’m not sure what to do. My dad passed away several years ago and I have many of his things. Now, Mom had control of the house but Dad had lots of things that he loved and enjoyed too. One of those things were pocket knives. Today, each of my two sons has a collection of Pop’s knives and the one grandson and the two nephews all have a small group. 

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I’ve put back a group of knives for future kids also. But this still leaves me with about 60 pocket knives. I’m not a collector but I know my way around and I’m seeing that a lot of knives that Dad paid $50 – $200 for are selling for half of that or not selling at all. 

All are in perfect condition kept in oiled cloth pouches. What do I do with them? I don’t want to sell them for nothing. Thank you. 


Answer: Well, I hate to tell you that you’re not alone. There has been such a change in this market. Not just this market but what I’ll call the “Old Guy” market in general. 

I don’t mean to be derogatory but there was once a time when guys in gas stations, early morning coffee houses, parts houses and garages across the country that these gentlemen reigned supreme. Just a bunch of men, of all walks of life, talking, trading and having a good time. No kidding, the selling and trading of pocket knives, straight razors, lighters and several other guy-themed things were traded in this fashion in an epic style. 

I know for a fact that here in my town that some serious money and objects were handed back and forth. But something has happened. 

Many of the men who collected, bought and sold these items have grown older, sold their collections, moved into smaller quarters or assisted living and many have died. Sadly, just like the things that some women collect, like glassware, figurines and dolls, these things have not been collected or picked up either, by the younger generations that are growing into adulthood. 

Many collections are making their way onto the market. A market that is flooding with items, but with only a fraction of the buyers to absorb the tide. Remember it’s all about supply and demand. 

I have to commend you on the wise efforts you made to secure these knives for your future generations. It will one day mean a lot to you and them. You might try to locate some of your dad’s fellow collectors and ask if they are interested. 

However, if they’ve not already contacted you, they could be gone too. You could call some area auction houses and see if they are interested. But the market, as you’ve discovered, has changed a lot. 

Hope for the best and expect less. Bear in mind that blue chip collectibles and antiques, the best of the best, will always be worth something. 

The one good thing is that pocket knives are small. It’s not like your father collected pianos or bowling balls. You could just tuck them away safely somewhere in hopes of a turn around in the market. Maybe future generations of your family will clamor for one of pap paw’s old time pocket knives. 

I don’t mean to be such a downer but it’s just the way that it is. Thanks for a great and important question.