You likely can’t afford this knife. I certainly can’t afford this knife. Six months is what it took Kyle Royer to complete. What is 6 months of your life worth? I provided a link to Kyle’s YouTube channel because I could not find an online store offering Kyle’s knives. I am also hard pressed to find the Mona Lisa for sale. So why wasn’t Leonardo da Vinci rich? Why don’t knives by Kyle Royer command the prices of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. After all, the skill sets of a knife maker far out range the skill set of a painter. I hate to say it, but Kyle is alive. There are a finite number of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci.
Consider the asking price for knives by William Scagel (1873-1963). The available steel of his time was typical inferior to what a knife maker can order today. Often he worked with scrap. The available handle materials of his time was just as limited. His handles too were often scrap. Those scrap built handles became his signature style. Today’s knife makers can produce far superior knives in both form and function. Today, some of these these scrap built handmade knives can command well over $25,000.00 US due to scarcity and demand.
William Scagel’s fame greatly contributes to demand for the knives he made. He is considered one of the founders of the hand made knife revival. Handmade knives by anyone Scagel touched are in high demand as well. Even the rights to his name are considerably valuable. Years later, knives which bare his name but were not made by the man himself can fetch thousands of dollars.
In the category of fame, consider one of today’s most famous knife makers. As I understand it from his nephew Ben Hibben, his uncle Gil Hibben was an accomplished but not famous knife maker when Sylvester Stallone took fancy to Gil’s knives. From there, Gil’s knives entered the Rambo movies. Later, he was responsible for some of the Klingon weapons from the Star Trek movies and television shows.
A quick search tells us Gil’s knives are made in Lagrange, KY. While some are, I believe you will find most are mass produced overseas. He has become so famous, some unscrupulous folk market knock offs of his designs under the misspellings of his name. ‘Gol Hibben’, ‘Gol Hibbens’, ‘Gil Hibbens’ and other variations on his name are popular.
At the time of this writing, a copy of the knife Gil designed for the movie Expendables II will set you back about $130.00. Chances are Gil Hibben never touched that knife. Yes, this would be an incredible price for even a fair hand made knife. But the knock offs can be found for $20.00 and the general style can be had for under $10.00. So can a copy of the Mona Lisa. It’s the fame and impression of scarcity that demands the price. In the case of mass produced knives, scarcity is an illusion.
So what is a collectable knife? Despite making knives myself, I am not a knife snob. I can not afford a real Scagel. Nor would I want one for other than the bragging rights or investment. Knives by Scagel seem to do nothing other than appreciate. Other makers will hate this opinion, but if you are going to hang the thing on the wall, you might as well collect mass produced knives and enjoy the aesthetics. Who doesn’t enjoy a Klingon bat’leth?
Ah, but isn’t that like telling a gun collector to collect air soft toys.