I’ve never considered myself a collector, but my wife keeps asking me ‘why do you collect”? My stock answer is “I don’t”. I just accumulate.
In my humble opinion, to be a collector, you have to have a focus. That is, you’re collecting something specific. It might be guns, coins, knives, zippo lighters, etc. ( I guess I am accumulator of all things). Hunters might be interested in fine guns or specific types of guns. Reformed smokers might be fascinated with different styles and types of lighters. Knife collectors, now that’s a strange lot.
I’ve seen knife collectors cover the entire spectrum of personalities. They range from avid outdoorsman to retired senior citizens that have never spent a day in the field. The group includes women that just appreciate a practically designed and executed pattern be it a kitchen, hunting or pocket knife. While it’s impossible to develop a single profile for a knife collector, I can almost guarantee they have some sort of focus.
Its this uniqueness that makes attending a knife or gun show fascinating. You get to meet an incredible mix of people with differing interests yet similar .
What do I accumulate
I’ve got a pretty extensive (i.e. eclectic) accumulation of stuff. Here are a few examples of highly valuable (probably not the right word) treasures.
Obviously, this is just the tip of the ice berg. And I know there’s not one of you reading this that doesn’t have a box or drawer full of items that could be added to my accumulation. Deny it all you want, I know you do.
Within this accumulation I do admit to having a few items that have special meaning to me. Not necessarily because they’re of great value, but they bring back memories. Or maybe it just makes me feel good to look at them from time to time.
What do I value
Of all my knives, these probably hold the most value to me in terms of sentimentality. The Bark River Woodland was the first Bark River I purchased. It was an early Barkie coming from the original production facilities in Bark River, MI. Beside it is a Buck 110 that I purchased in the early ’80’s. I can’t even begin to tell you all the tasks that knife performed. It dressed deer, grouse, pheasants, trout, sliced tomatoes in camp, trimmed branches, opened boxes and a lot of things it wasn’t designed for. So many adventures and good times can be associated to using that knife. The bottom knife was my dad’s. He received it as a gift while he was in High School in 1933-34. It’s been used and abused as were so many pocket knives from that era. This was a time when knives were truly a tool.
There are a lot of other priceless items I’ve accumulated.
The large format $1 bill was passed on to me from my dad who received it from his dad. The date on the bill was 1923 and obviously wallets in 1923 must have been considerably larger. It’s real value is a link between me and a grandfather I barely knew.
Not all collectibles have tangible value
Maps also fall into my accumulation. Not everything I collect or accumulate has any real tangible value.
The map on the left is a map marking part of the locations I’ve shipped products to. I wish I could say I shipped to every continent but I can’t. For some reason Antarctica seemed to illude my marketing efforts. It means a lot to me since it resulted in coming into contact with a huge variety of people, some of whom were incredibly interesting.
The lapel pin was sent to me from a member of the Philippine Presidential Security Group. It would be the counterpart to our Secret Service. This individual purchased a Fallkniven A1 for very serious use. We exchanged a number of really interesting (from his side) emails explaining what he did for a living. His day to day activities fell well outside of what I’d call normal. Sincerely wish we would have stayed in contact.
And the last artifact I’ll bore you with is this old map.
“Old” is a bit of a relative term. The map is from the early to mid 70’s and has traveled many thousands of miles with me. This is one of many maps I have covering northern Minnesota. They have guided me to over 40 lakes in NE Minnesota and down miles and miles of forest service fire roads over nearly 50 years. If I started telling stories that can be traced on these maps, we’d be here for a very long time. A multitude of knives accompanied me on these excursions. Many of the trips were centered around testing out new and different knives. The creases are torn, the map is stained but the memories are sharp and clear.
Am I a Collector?
So reading over these ramblings I have to ask myself, am I a collector? There is a commonality in that most everything I’ve related involves knives in some way or another. So I guess you could say I do have a bit of focus to my madness. All of the items have meaning to me and are much more fun to look at than a shiny new knife I’ll never use for fear of damaging it. That pretty well sums it up. My collectibles have meaning to me. While most of the items don’t have much monetary value, in my world they’re priceless.
Frankly, I’ll accept the moniker of collector. In fact, I hope all of you have a little collector/accumulator in you. There comes a point in life when you start to live vicariously through younger friends. My collectibles remind me that as the saying goes, been there, done that.