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Rule #4 of Investing in Custom Knives

August 29, 2011

Aftermarket Demand and Performance 

Shawn McIntyre is an ABS Mastersmith and has won the B.R. Hughes Award for the best knife submitted by a Mastersmith candidate. (SharpbyCoop photo).

Text by Les Robertson

Selling for a profit has its own set of nuances. As a collector you need to first and foremost buy the knife at the right price. This is vital. Just as important is to know when it is time to sell the knife.

About 11 years ago, custom knife forums started to appear on the internet. Primarily a place to discuss custom knives and their makers, bandwidth was made available to members to sell their custom knives. Visiting those sales forums many times each day I was able to start tracking not just trends, but which knives sold quickly and which ones did not. Once again the “matrix” was tweaked. In the past a sale was more of a private matter, now the particulars of the transactions were public. Today the internet is an excellent place for anyone to track trends and identify strong performers. Internet sites are best used to identify knives and makers for a short-term ROI. However, searches allow you to go back for years and chart the performance of makers and/or their knives in the aftermarket.

Russ Andrews has vaulted over many “senior” Mastersmiths due to the quality of his work, his value pricing and demand. As many other ABS Mastersmiths rest on their laurels Russ continues to improve and expand his repertoire. (SharpbyCoop photo)

An excellent short-term example is Les George. This maker gains popularity every day in large part due to the internet. What brought him this attention was his eye for tactical design combined with his value prices. Those who utilize these internet sites to obtain information will quickly notice that Les does not chase the aftermarket prices and raise his retail. Instead he maintains his value price, increasing the demand for his knives.

Authors note: For the purpose of full disclosure, I have worked with every maker I list in this article and have done so for between three and 15 years. I write this so you will understand why I have used them in this article. I have been able to witness firsthand how their market position has helped them and their collector/investors.

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