I listed around 30 new arrivals this morning. In the group are the 735212EC’s in Antique Jigged Yellow Bone, Cocobolo Wood, Jigged Pioneer Bone and Ebony Wood. There are also 57 Wranglers in Natural Stag and Mahogany jigged bone.
I still have a group of 20+ new/old stock to get listed when I get around to it. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll at least get part of them listed. There’s some nice looking pieces in that group.
I said at the end of my previous post that I wouldn’t be carrying any of the Prime Grade. What I meant to say is that I wouldn’t be carrying any of the Common for the foreseeable future at least. Based on the low number of Prime, it’s doubtful I’ll have any of that either!!
Anyway, I returned the two Hippo Ivory Commons that I had and I believe there are around 13-15 more that were in production. So if you’re looking for one, there should be a few more coming available.
A couple of weeks ago I got a call from GEC asking me how I’d feel if they started grading their Ivory as “Common” or “Premium”. It didn’t take me more than a heartbeat to say, I’d rather they didn’t. Let me explain why.
My understanding from reading the new label and talking to Bill, is that the Premium and Common grades will be determined based solely on cracks, fractures or lack thereof. Color and texture will not come into play. So premium may have variations in color but will be fracture free. In addition, the price differential will be minor….?????
It was refreshing to read Steve and Paul’s comments where Steve does not like the fractures and Paul says it adds character. I too fall into the second category in that some of the nicest Mammoth Ivory I’ve handled had natural fractures. About a year ago I sold an absolutely stunning Elk handled Barlow that was an EDC knife because the handle material was solid fractures. I have customers that won’t except Black Buffalo Horn unless it’s solid black and others that want some streaks of color. The point being, what is premium to some is common to others and vice-versa.
Regarding Stag, we’ve already seen GEC start to grade the stag when they released the Natural Stag. Too good to be burnt, but not quite enough color to be called Genuine. So now it’s ‘Natural’ and priced within a couple of bucks of Burnt. If it’s better than Burnt, why isn’t the price differential greater??? On top of that, look at the production numbers. There are way fewer pieces of Natural than Burnt and in most cases, a lot less than Genuine and the Natural will usually sell out before the Genuine. The same situation will occur with the Ivory. The number of Premium pieces will be far fewer than the Common.
There was a point in time when I used to grade the stag knives I got. The best stag carried a $5-10 premium and everyone seemed happy with the program. I finally quit doing it as it got to be time consuming and if I had a lot of 6 knives and non of them were ‘stunning’, I’d catch myself ranking them anyway. It was pretty easy to lose my objectivity. The grading standard was solely determined by what I had on hand at that point in time. Much better to let the customer grade them on their own.
The question then begs to be asked, why doesn’t GEC grade the stag, primitive bone, or the frontier bone or any of the natural types of handle materials that might have natural flaws. We’ve all seen some of the Primitive come through with large stabilized fractures. I have yet to have one of those knives be returned due to a failure of the material. If it doesn’t appeal to you, don’t buy it. Do you need to be told it’s “Common” or “Premium” and have it marked as such to make that decision?
I’m really disappointed that the serial numbers will carry the ‘scarlet letter’ C for Common. It doesn’t make any difference how great you think it looks, someone else made the decision for you that it’s just Common. It’s somewhat similar to stamping the “S” on the EDC knives. The EDC knives are one of the best values out there but we all know they didn’t quite pass muster due to a minor cosmetic flaw. Now, you’re at a show with a really nice looking Ivory piece in the center of your display that your very proud of and you’ve just explained the “S” on an EDC knife and someone asks what’s the “C” stand for on the bolster behind the serial number on the Ivory. Guess I’d be inclined to lie and tell them I think it stands for “Certified” rather than common. If you have to mark them, how about just marking the Premium’s with a “P”?
But from a distributors standpoint what bothers me most is what it does to the distributors. Right now I have no less than 6 requests for the recently released Hippo Ivory. I got a grand total of 2, both common. I have no idea if they ran any Premium in this group or who might have gotten them or what they had to do to get them. This puts Chris in the un-enviable position of making that decision. While it’s hard enough for her to split up a handful of rare handle materials, now we have a sub group of Premium rare handle materials. And someone already brought up the point that it leaves a bit of a feeling that there are some of the knives that are of better quality than others. And Yes, I read the label, it only refers to the handle material. But in the real world, perception quickly becomes reality.
Personally, I hope GEC rethinks this grading system and really, really hope they don’t extend it to other handle materials. We’ve got everyone in the world telling us what to eat and drink, what’s good for us, bad for us, what and who to like etc. I sure don’t see this grading system as a positive. All of my customers know that if they get a knife from me they don’t like they can send it back. Let’s keep it that way.
And by the way, I won’t be requesting any of the “Premium” knives. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….and that’s a lucky thing for most of us!!!
First is the 571312WR Natural Stags. I got the prototype today and they were supposed to be around 15 total knives. Also were some 57WR Kauri Wood (9 total) and a new one, King Wood of which there are just 8.
There were also a handful of Hippo Ivory handled 57’s made. Interior and exterior ivory.
Something interesting that GEC is starting to do is “Grading” the ivory. It’ll either be Prime or Common. Here’s the label on the tube with an explanation.
They’re apparently also including the grading with the serial number. This knife is serial #6C, which I would assume to mean it is serial #6 with “Common” Ivory.
I’m really interested to know what you think of this grading system and marking. I’ll reserve my remarks until you’ve had your say.
There are around 15 more new/old stock knives that were added to the store this morning. You’ll find some more exceptionally nice stag such as this one. That’s a 235108 Genuine Stag, one of just 17 made.
or maybe this….
And there was even a 571312 Ancient Kauri Wood Prototype in the lot as well.
Acrylic lovers, you’re gonna like the Tomato Acrylic!!!
Also received Wranglers in Black Buffalo Horn, Bocote and Genuine Stag. The stag is, once again, a nice uniform stag. Good match front and back.
Later this morning, I hope to have more of the new/old stock listed as well. There’s some more really nice stag, some hard to find pieces and even a couple of EDC Lumber Jacks if you’re looking to save a few bucks.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve picked up around 80 knives out of collections and from just cleaning up my desk. I started listing them this morning and believe there are around 20 new additions in the store. One of the collections I acquired has some really nice stag handled knives well worth checking out. There are also going to be a few relatively rare pieces. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find.
That’s right, a Tuna Valley Red Stag. And below is a rare Red Abalone 61, 1 of 3.
And a really hard to find 72 Red Stag with a clip blade.
It’s probably going to be the first of the week before I can get some more of these in the store, but it gives you a good idea of what’s to come.
Probably going to be a few spouses that don’t agree with that statement, but let me explain…….
When I started handling Great Eastern Knives in early 2007, I was buying knives from another distributor and things started out rather slow. I was buying some really unusual Bark River’s from that distributor and was building a nice BRKT following. Once a couple of people discovered I had the GEC’s, things started to pick up fairly quickly. (In fact, Tim B, you were one of my early customers and I’m happy to say I’m still really glad to sell you a knife every now and then!!) It only took a few months and I decided to work directly with GEC as a distributor.
Through 2007 and even well into 2008, the buying pattern for a lot of collectors was to literally buy one of everything that came out. And I’ll admit to falling into that group as well. By 2009, there weren’t too many collectors left with pockets deep enough to continue their habit at that level so emails started coming in asking, ‘..if I start collecting GEC’s what would you recommend as having the most potential to go up in value?..’ For a while, I actually tried to answer that question, based on sales and customer requests. By late 2010, the number of patterns and handle materials made answering the question virtually impossible. Last year, 2011, the possibilities exploded.
A quick count from GEC’s 2011 distributor price list shows over 500 variations you could have selected from. Now, that’s considering all the possible combinations of handle material, trademark, blade configurations, serialized, unserialized, etc. Consider that in 2006, you had a couple dozen possibilities at best. That is amazing to say the least.
So, how has that changed the collectors approach to GEC knives? Well for one thing, it made everyone start to become more selective. A lot of collectors I sell to are now focusing on a pattern or handle material. As recently as a year ago, I would have said that Genuine and even Burnt Stag were the ‘gold standard’ for collecting GEC’s. Anymore, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still much sought after, but as GEC started using materials like Mammoth and Elephant Ivory, some of the exotic woods, etc, the premium collectible shifted slightly.
Moving to the more ‘affordable’ range of collectibles, the acrylics have created a solid following. Some of the original acrylics were a bit on the bland side but I give credit to the Dead Skunk and Copper Snake as lighting up the acrylic market. Combining it with some of the unique patterns like the Lady Leg and Templar didn’t hurt matters either.
Likewise with the wood. Some time back we officially chose a name for the Beaver (Christine) Tail right here on this blog. It was a fun contest and no doubt raised the awareness of a really great handle material. In the past, beyond Ebony Wood, most likely a lot of people that never gave much consideration to wood as being a viable handle option. Once again, this created another unique niche for a lot of collectors.
When it comes to patterns, I still have to say (based on my sales) the #23 is the king. The very first Great Eastern I sold was a #23 and if GEC were to start making just one knife, that’d have to be the one they would stick with. When I look through my inventory, considering how many have been offered, that’s probably the one pattern I have the fewest of in stock.
In the last year, I haven’t been asked nearly as often, which pattern/handle material do I think will go up in value the most. That’s probably the strongest indicator that collectors are truly starting to buy knives based on what they really like rather than simply speculating on them as an investment. I’m also finding more and more collectors picking up what I’ll call ‘common’ knives that were released a couple of years ago and now they’re going back to fill in ‘holes’. Interest in the Prototypes has also increased in the past year.
The true collector is the individual that has some items they wouldn’t part with at virtually any price. It bears repeating, buy quality, buy what you like and you’ll never go wrong. That way, even if your collection never goes up in value, you’ve got the priceless pleasure of owning something you truly enjoy.
To sum it all up, the Great Eastern
Collectors are maturing and starting to develop a focus. But every now and then, Great Eastern complicates things by throwing out something like the Lumber Jack. Is it time to start dumping those #23’s and collecting????….ohhh man…..