Looking for Gold and Silver in Collectible Knives

Over the centuries, people have built personal collections of all kinds of stuff – cars, coins, medals, stamps, to name but a few categories of collectibles. Knives are very popular collectibles too. And the hobby of collecting them is growing. There are associations of knife collectors, magazines about the hobby, and knife shows throughout the country. It’s a really big trend.

People are collecting folding pocket knives, hunting knives, highly stylized custom knives crafted by skilled artisans, ancient knives, and knives that fall into other niches. The question is, do any of them contain silver or gold? The short answer is yes, they do and if you take a close look at an unusual knife, it could contain small decorations and “extras” that are made of silver or even gold or platinum.

Is there a hidden gem in this assortment of knives? Credit: Peter Lewis/iStock.

Is there a hidden gem in this assortment of knives? Credit: Peter Lewis/iStock.

Let’s take a closer look.

High-End Custom Knives by Famous Makers

If you look for trademarks on knives, you can discover collectibles that were made by artisans whose knives are quite valuable. Collectors are on the lookout for knives made by Brous, Chris Reeves, Famars, Strider and other artisans. Note that in most cases, the value of these knifes comes from their value as collectors’ items, not from the precious metals they contain.

Antique Knives

There are many kinds – old knives from Africa, Asia, Europe, and all other parts of the world. In many cases, their value to collectors far exceeds the value of any precious metals they might contain, even gold. Our advice? If you find an unusual old knife for sale for a low price, snap it up and contact an appraiser who specializes in antiques. Your discovery might be worthless or valuable, but you will never know unless you investigate.

Knives with Interesting Components

Both antique and newer collectible knives can contain materials which, though not precious, contribute to collectible value. Some knives, for example, have handles that are made of bone, rare woods, silver, or ivory. (If you find a knife with a genuine ivory handle, be aware that its owner could be violating the law when selling it, because the sale of ivory is prohibited today by laws that protect endangered species.)

What is Damascus Steel?

If you find a knife with a blade that is made of Damascus Steel, what does that mean? Is Damascus Steel a precious metal?

Damascus Steel really is steel, not a precious metal. It results from a kind of steel forging that, by legend anyway, originated in Damascus, Syria, when ancient blade-makers hammered blades from thin plates of special steel that came from India. The result was a hard steel that held a sharpened edge, resisted breaking, and had a beautiful pebbled surface finish.

Apparently the ancient secret of making true Damascus Steel has been lost. But that hasn’t stopped today’s knife-makers from making blades from newly manufactured steel that is sold as “Damascus Steel.” (You can even buy so-called Damascus Steel from companies that sell supplies to artisan knife-makers.)

If you find antique knives with blades that have a textured pattern on their surface, chances are you have found something that is made of some form of Damascus Steel: either very old steel that can have high collectible value or modern steel that does not.

Did You Just Acquire an Interesting Collectible Knife?

Why not give our expert precious metals refiners a call today at 800-426-2344 and share the news with us? We’re here to answer your questions about precious and collectible metals. In many cases, we offer free or discounted shipping on items that are sent to us for testing, so be sure to mention today’s blog post and ask.

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