It is fascinating how people tend to appreciate and glorify things, items, and inventions only when they become history. Luckily for those people, the human race has a long and evolving history that comes with many antique artifacts worth collecting and trading.
The most collectible items by far are antique coins, stamps, and weapons. By weapons, we mainly aim at old-school types such as swords, axes, knives, and arrowheads. In fact, collecting antique and rare knives is a very popular hobby among collectors all over the world.
However, finding them in good condition is pretty hard, considering that most materials people used for crafting them tend to deteriorate with time. As we all know the value of any collectible item is in direct correlation with its condition, so you see the tricky part.
There are so many interconnected factors that will ultimately decide the fate of the knife, and we are here to help you figure them out. One thing is for sure rare knives worth money are already a popular subject that overwhelms the internet.
You can relax a bit now since our thorough guide came just at the right time to help you out finding the right knife for your collection. In this article, we will focus on both antique and new-age rare knives.
Let’s Start With The Short History Lesson
One of the earliest tools invented by humans is a knife. In fact, this tool was in use 2.5 million years ago. What is more fascinating is that it didn’t change too much from that time until now. A knife still remains an essential item in our households, or a tool when we are on an adventure.
Of course, there were some small changes and distinctive upgrades in the structure and design however, the knife is still a sharp piece of metal attached to a wooden or plastic handle. Early knives mostly featured a handle made from stone, wood, or bone. While the shape of the knife was very versatile to support different purposes and usage.
With time manufacturing skills and materials that people had available improved significantly which enhanced the durability. In most cases, materials such as steel, iron, bronze, copper, ceramic, and titanium were and still are in use.
If you are aiming for an antique knife you need to pay attention to the knife handle. You would be surprised how the design, material, and quality of a handlebar will impact the final price.
Nowadays, most collectible knives are made by craftsmen or well-known brands. The new-age models have special qualities, while the antique ones are appreciated because of their historical background, age, and manufacturing technique.
How many types of knives are there?
If you are a newbie we are sure you understand how tempting it can be to buy the first knife that catches your eye. Even if you are aware of how much you don’t know about the knives in general you can still make a big mistake and act impulsively.
Well, we are here to prevent that by teaching you some basics when it comes to collecting knives and let’s first start with types of knives that are suitable for collecting. In the following rows, you’ll learn more about several broad categories.
This type of knife is one of the most recognizable ones, thanks to the action movies. In fact, if you watched Rambo then you for sure seen him using it. A Bowie knife is a large, fixed-blade knife that has a large clip-point blade with a simple crossguard for finger protection.
The early Bowie knife blades had a thick, heavy butcher-knife-like blade, with a sharpened edge and straight back hand guard. Handles were made from wood, bones, or horns. These knives weren’t made for throwing, only for hunting and to be used as a tool.
First, you need to realize that there are some differences between daggers and knives. The knife is seen more as a tool while the dagger is more a weapon than a tool. In shape, it is very similar to the Bowie knife. Daggers feature a short, sharp blade with two cutting edges and a sharp point, so you can easily figure out it is made for combat and hunting.
As we know, throughout history humans have favored daggers and spears for combat and hunting. When we talk about daggers you should know that there are a few different subcategories such as – Corvo, Dirk, and Pugio.
Just like knives, these come in a range of shapes and sizes which determine the intended use and the place of origin.
Folding knives are well-known as versatile tools and weapons. These pocket knives have been in use for more than 2000 years. They are seen as versatile tools that can be used for anything, from cooking, to peeling, and self-defense (in need).
First pocket knives were made as a simple bone tool and with time evolved into a sophisticated weapon that can get you through almost anything. There are so many different subcategories such as single-bladed pocket knives, multi-bladed pocket knives, Swiss Army pocket knives, pen pocket knives, and so on.
Custom made knives
This category is very versatile, here you will find knives from all the above-mentioned categories as well as some unique handcrafted works of art. These knives are the products of master bladesmiths and what makes them special are all those features that regular knives do not have. A custom touch or a feature is a signature sign of the artisan who forged them, so they can be easily recognized.
In most cases, custom-made knives are made to be used, even though they do feature an extraordinary exterior they are primarily made to serve. This also means that the two knives are never fully identical and can be quite unique, standing out from the average collection.
List Of Antique And New-Age Knives That Every Collector Should Have
Considering that this article discusses rare knives worth money, who are we to decide to not include antique or new-age models? So there was only one thing we can do, and that is include both of them.
Since we like our articles neat and easy to follow we divided this article into two sections – the first one where we will pay attention to antique and vintage models, and the second one where we will explore the new-age models and their features.
What are antique knives?
We won’t even try considering how incredibly difficult it is to describe the long timeline from the first ever made knife to those models that we have at our disposal nowadays. There is so much to say that we choose to share only basic information with you.
As you all know antique knives date way back to the Stone Age. However, in the 1700s knives were introduced on the table for cooking and eating. In that time manufacturers replaced the iron or ivory handles with simple versions such as wood and bone. The problem was that these materials weren’t durable Luckily, fifty years of trying paid off and the manufacturers started using different kinds of metals – copper, bronze, and steel. Sometimes they even used gold and silver.
You will easily notice an antique knife by its sturdy, thick, and curved body. Also, in most cases, they are ornate and decorated with stones, gold, and silver, unlike the flexible, steel, and plain knives we have today.
Keep in mind that antique knives mostly come with cases and metal sheaths that were made to protect the blade from outer impacts. There is also one thing you need to look for and that is stamped dates and logos that will tell you from where they originate.
What’s the easiest way to identify an antique knife?
Well let’s be rational you shouldn’t be expecting to find tens of thousands of years old knives out of the blue in a local antique store. What you can expect to find there are vintage knives that date back to the 1600s.
However, since knives evolved throughout the history there are some things you need to learn so you can be able to roughly estimate the date of origin. Look for the following:
- Imprinted logo – Some old knives feature an imprinted symbol or logo of the manufacturer right on the blade.To be able to recognize from which era your knife is you need to study the markings to track the original manufacturer. Unfortunately, some man-made damages will occur which can distort the mark and make it difficult for recognition. Of course, there are many old blades that come without any markings, and these can be very tricky for estimation, so make sure you take them to a specialist.
- Blade design – Throughout history many different types of materials were used to shape the blade. In most cases, the type of material was determined by the purpose of the knife. What you need to know is that the blade quality defines the actual difference between early materials and those that are in use nowadays. Also, considering that these blades were made by hand some imperfections are inevitable. These can include retention of the knife edge, sharpness, as well as deteriorating signs on the material surface.
- Handle design – While blades on antique knives are very high in quality, the handles are not. In fact, the majority of these old knives feature a handle that is made from cheap wood. Combine that low quality with poor handling and bad storage conditions and there is a recipe for disaster. Remember that new-age handles are smooth, comfortable, and made from a better-quality material. On the other hand, early wooden handles were barely smooth or comfortable for handling, so you will notice the difference on the first touch.
How to determine the exact value of antique knives?
Determining the exact value of antique knives is an extremely hard task even for the experts. This process includes so many different factors that you can easily get lost in the way. However, if you are willing to try to do it by yourself, just to have some fun (why not), here is the list of things you need to focus on. Pay attention to the following:
- Manufacturer – Logically the first thing you need to check is the mark and logo of the manufacturer or the brand. Yes, if we talk about those very old knives you won’t find a brand logo or even a manufacturer’s logo, so you’ll need to seek professional assistance for those ones. However, for those that were made after the 1700s and 1800s brand logo is an important feature. The value can significantly go up if the knife is a product of a well-known company.
- Year of origin – The knife age will help you a lot when it comes to setting the price. A great thing about knowing the year of origin is that you can link the particular specialty from that time and enhance the value. For instance, a knife with a handle made from ivory, gold, or any other precious material will be worth a lot more. Also, antique decorative patterns on the blade or handle will make your knife more attractive and unique.
- Size, type, details, and shape – Collectors will pay more for certain knives just based on their types, or if they have a unique shape, and come with distinctive dimensions.
- Blade material – Like with all other collectibles the type of material used for manufacturing will dictate the value. Early versions of knife blades were usually made of bronze, copper, or even ceramic. These knives usually cost a fortune on the market.
- Condition – The current condition of the knife is important when trying to estimate the real value. If your knife is in bad shape you can’t expect it to be sold for big money.
- Handle material – The condition of a handle is also an essential feature. Knives that are made from material that can withstand the tool of time and not get damaged a lot will earn you some nice bucks.
- Rarity – Logically the rarer your item is the more valuable it will appear. Nothing can beat scarcity when it comes to enhancing value. Collectors love to own items that are rare and will pay a lot of money to get them. Keep in mind that unusual knives made for a special purpose, or those that are products of a less-known brand will usually be worth more.
Besides these factors, things like market demand and customer potential are also thing that will affect the current value. Unfortunately, these can lead you to waste a significant amount of value in no time, but also they can drive up the price, so make sure you wait for a bit. The most important thing when trading collectibles is to stay up-to-date with the market prices, so you can be sure when to post your items on sale.
Most Valuable Antique Knives Worth Money
Theodore Roosevelt’s Hunting Knife
- Year: 1900s
- Price: $ 414,000
This is the fifth most expensive pocket knife in the world. This particular hunting knife belonged to Theodore Roosevelt, this small detail significantly enhanced the price for sure. It was presented to American President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909.
One thing is for sure this knife features a beautiful design. This unique knife features an eagle shape paired with a head made of pure gold. The garnets adorn Eagle’s eyes, and the overall length of the knife is 11.5 cm. Logically, this knife is a prominent artifact for American history so you can expect the price to go up.
QianLong Imperial Hunting Knife
- Year: 1735 – 1796
- Price: $1.5 million
This antique hunting knife originates from the Qing Dynasty that ruled China between 1735-1796. As you can see this extraordinary knife feature a unique design that features precious stones. The knife is a 27.3 cm long knife, and it comes with a 24.5 cm long sheath. As already mentioned it features precious stones, the jade is mounted on a hilt, surrounded by turquoise and coral stones. Also, a blade is made from gilded gold, while the sheath comes with silver enamel.
This is the fourth most expensive pocket knife in the world today. There is no surprise why the price is so high, considering how valuable each material that was used for crafting costs nowadays.
Shah Jahan Dagger
- Year: 1629-1630
- Price: $2,324,574
This dagger is the second most expensive knife in the world. As you can see this extraordinary dagger looks pretty expensive at first glance. However, what makes it so special and valuable is the fact that this supposedly was the second personal dagger of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Unfortunately, not many of his personal things survived so the high price of this item was expected.
Emperor Shah Jahan reigned over the sub-continent and the era of his reign was considered a golden age in the Mughal Period. He was known as a patron of architecture and fine arts, and during his reign great monuments such as the Taj Mahal were built.
Also during his reign, the weapon was not only for combat, it was also a way to show off your welt. Daggers, knives, and swords became great art pieces. In the case of this particular piece, this was the dagger of the king of kings, the weapon of defender of religion and conqueror of the world.
Everything about this dagger is extravagant, the gold design, border made from silver, tapering blade, swallow tip, and a narrow panel. The length of a blade is 20.5 cm, while the overall length is 40.8 cm.
Shah Jahan Jade Dagger
- Year: 1620-1630
- Price: $3,375,000
The most expensive dagger in the world is this antique jade dagger which as well belonged to Emperor Shah Jahan. This dagger is for sure one of the most noticeable masterpieces of Mughal art. It successfully demonstrates so many different elements that are characteristic of Mughal Art.
What makes this dagger unique are its characteristics such as the top of the blade which is made with gold and decorated with the inscription ‘Nasta’liq’. The length of the blade is 29.7 cm while the length of the handle is 11.1 cm.
What about new-age knives?
If you are new to the world of knife collecting then you need to know that there are a couple of iconic knives that you need to acquire for your collection. Those are so-called modern classics, knives that have left a lasting impression because of their innovative design, un-specific use of materials, or historical relevance.
To be honest, when you become a collector, a collection is never really complete. There will always be an item you want to add to your collection. However, there are always some basic items that will form a solid formation for your collection. The following knives are those that you must have in your collection if you are serious about knife collecting.
Most valuable new-age knives Worth Money
Corrado Moro Tourbillon Folder Knife
- Year: 2020
- Price: $10,000
This Corrado Moro, Tourbillon knife design was inspired by the concept of see-through watches that have their mechanics visible through the casing. As you can see Moro successfully did that, even though this was a very complicated design.
The watch is made of Aisi 416 stainless steel, carbon fiber, black pearl lip, and the RWL-34 RSP blade. With an overall length is 20 cm and an 8.5 cm length of the blade this knife can be classified as a large-sized knife.
Alexis Lecocq Folder Knife
- Year: 21st
- Price: $26,500
This is a custom folding knife crafted by a French maker Alexis Lecocq. As you can notice a handle is fully decorated with an Egyptian engraving. The material used for crafting the handle is 18K yellow gold paired with rose and white gold as well.
A large folder knife like this comes with a back lock system. It has an overall length of 21.5 cm, while the length of a knife while it is closed is 13 cm. The RWL34 stainless steel blade is 8.5 cm long.
Michael Walker Bladelock Folder with 22k Yellow Gold and Sterling Inlays
- Year: 2005-2010
- Price: $35,000
A Michael Walker blade lock is a custom-made folder knife made in the early 2000s. What makes this knife unique, besides the incredible decorative design, is the Linerlock folding knife style which is characteristic of all Walker knives. There are approximately 30 different knife mechanisms that Walker invented, and this one is the most popular.
The blade, handles and lock bar are all made of heat-treated Damascus steel and paired with titanium pivot and screw. Also, if you take a better look you will notice that there are no repeating patterns. It features a large 22k gold inlay as well as other silver and gold inlays. The length of the blade is 7.6 cm, while the overall length is 18.3 cm.
Alex Gev Engraved Automatic Knife
- Year: 2022
- Price: $38,000
This knife is a true masterpiece, worth investing in. It is handcrafted by Alex Gev who’s at the same time a manufacturer and engraver. This automatic knife features a hidden frame lock that not only fires the blade, it also releases the blade lock. The handle is decorated with deep carvings with inlays of yellow, red, and green gold.
The gold and platinum inlaid blade is decorated with the same samurai theme as well as the handle. This is a large knife and surprisingly it is not bulky and very comfortable to hand. The overall length is 26 cm, while the blade is 11.4 cm long. Also, it comes with a blue felt case, which makes it a great present as well.
Wolfgang Loerchner Folding Dagger Knife
- Year: 2020
- Price: $42,000
This custom folding dagger knife is another piece engraved by Bulgarian artist Alex Gev. You can easily recognize his style considering he often uses the satyrs motif. All engravings are of 18k gold. On the other hand, the blade is made of stainless steel and decorated with 18k yellow gold, and it features a black pearl tip.
With an overall length of 23.4 cm, this Wolfe Loerchner knife is classified as large.
Bob Loveless Knife Stag Lawndale Subhilt
- Year: 1960s
- Price: $85,000
What makes this knife specific is that it is made from an unknown steel. It is a custom-made knife by Bob Loveless and it was crafted in the early 60s, so we can easily say that this knife is vinatge.
The knife features a fixed blade with an overall length of 24.3 cm! Hile the overall length is 36.8 cm. It also features brass hilts, and a Stag handle with spacers in red, white, and black color. If you take a look you will also notice a checkered handle spine, an aluminum pommel, and a thong lanyard hole. This knife comes with a fine leather sheath for a belt.
Buster Warenski King Tut Dagger
- Year: 1980s
- Price: $500,000
We can’t finish this list without mentioning one of the most valuable knives in the world. Warenskis King Tut Dagger is an iconic custom-made knife that took over 5 years for crafting. All Buster’s knives are extraordinary in quality and almost all are estimated to be worth above million dollars.
This large knife is a faithful reproduction of the solid gold knife that belonged to Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The replica was made with 32 ounces of gold, including the protective sheet.
Useful Tips For Novice And Expert Knife Collectors
In fact, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been collecting knives, or if you are just started, the point is that you can always learn something new. Or refresh your memory. Considering how the world evolves day by day, this industry as well is changing significantly.
To make sure you keep up with the pace, or to acquire basic knowledge about collecting knives you should carefully read the following list. Tips you should always keep in mind:
- Know the local laws about owning a knife in your area – This is crucial. Make sure you always look into the knife laws in your area no matter how long are you collecting. Sometimes law changes, and you need to be up to date. There are specific rules about what types of knives you are permitted to own, carry, and conceal. Rules and laws are different from place to place and this is what will determine what kind of knives you will be collecting. collection shapes up to be. Don’t try to outsmart the law and collect knives that are illegal in your region.
- Keep up with the trends – While some people think that starting a knife collection is as easy as buying knives that they like the reality is much different. Buying without a plan can be the worst mistake that a beginner can make. Remember that like all other collectibles, knives also vary quite widely in value. It is very important to follow the market demand and to be able to know what knife to buy and sell at any moment. The best way to familiarize yourself with the trend is to visit weapons shows and online markets.
- Determine what type of collection you want to build – The most common error that novice collectors make is not having a vision of their collection. This means they are all over the place and do not know what kind of collection they want to have. When you start collecting knives you need o determine what type of knives you want to collect, and of course, if they are legal in your area. Keep in mind that the collection is valuable much more when it is complete.
- Know your budget – No matter what collectibles drive your adrenalin up, stick to your budget! Avoid spending way more than you’d planned to. Knives can be pretty expensive items to collect, so be rational, it’s better for your future collecting needs to avoid spending too much money on one item.
- Keep your collection in a safe place – We get that you as a knife collector see them differently, but after all, knives are weapons. Unfortunately, they can hurt you and others so it is your responsibility to carefully store your collection away, especially when kids are around. A great way to store and display your collection is to invest in a glass case with locks. Also, it is crucial to investigate the background of the weapon you are buying. If you’re purchasing a knife from someone who isn’t a super reputable dealer, check with your local law enforcement to be sure you don’t buy a weapon that was used in a crime.
Where Should You Look For Rare Knives Worth Money?
You need to be extra careful when buying collectibles that are classified as a weapon. As already mentioned, if you are considering buying a weapon from a dealer that isn’t reputable or well known, this often happens when you buy online, you risk buying an item that was maybe used in crime.
Naturally, buying knives online or at a forum remains the simplest way, and the great thing is that many knife enthusiasts are gathered there so you can always count on their help during the process.
Also, YouTube is a great source for researching antiques from many different aspects, especially weapons. There are many specialized platforms like William Henry, but you can also check local garage sales, flea markets, antique shops, and online auctions.
What is the most illegal knife in America?
The most illegal and the most banned knife in the US is a ballistic knife. A ballistic knife is a blade attached to a hollow handle. This handle fits inside another outer hollow handle with a coil spring. When the coil spring compresses inside the handle, the spring pressure that the latch release will catapult the knife and “go ballistic.”
The next ones are switchblades, metal knuckle knives, “Kung Fu” stars, and cane swords. However, the title of the most banned knife in the country remains the ballistic knife.
Do knives made from Damascus rust?
If you have a knife made of Damascus then you have a knife blade with unique beauty and outstanding quality. Damascus is known as the metal used for the best swords for over hundreds of years. What is unique about it is its distinctive wavy design.
However, if you don’t take care of it no matter how durable and high-quality the material is it will get damaged. Unfortunately, even the Damascus starts to rust so make sure you learn how to properly care for it.
Do Rare Knives Go Up In Value With Time?
Investing money in something you like, and something that will make you feel proud is always a good thing to do. Some people like to collect furniture, art, wine, stamps, and coins, and others like to collect knives. As long as you are aware of the danger this hobby can bring you are good to go.
However, even though you collect knives as a hobby you still want to earn some money from it as well, considering how much time you’ll spend on it. So the question is – do collectible knives grow in value with time? The answer is yes and no. It depends on many factors, but you as a collector are aware of it.
Like we always say, no matter what collectible item you have it will only be valuable if there is a market and demand for it. Keep in mind that not everything that is rare is valuable as well. Good luck in your collecting adventures, and please don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below, we would like to here your opinion.