View Full Version : Pricing Previously Owned Knives

05-14-2012, 12:07 PM
I think this is one of best forums out there (see BFF You Never Met) and members seem to play well with each other most of the time. There was a thread on pricing and what I took away from that was that a baseline starting point for pricing the knives you want to sell is about 20% under current lowest retail. There are a few factors that would adjust this though, such as availability, condition and modification, uniqueness, etc. I have a handful of knives I would like to sell and I want to price them fairly both for myself and the buyer - no super liquidation here, just pricing so that the buyer gets a good and fair deal.

Case Study I
The seller has a 210 Suisin Inox Gyuto that sells from two venders for $370 or so. The market is aware of recent price increases. In one scenario, the knife is described as being in near new condition, lightly used, and not modified. Pictures seem to confirm this. In a second scenario, the knife is described as having been polished to a satin finish but geometry and profile are original. Again, pictures seem to confirm this but we are unaware of the qualifications of the polisher. The knife is readily available and one retailer runs periodic sales. Price these under each scenario and explain your answer. (Hint: There is no 'right' answer.)

Case Study II
The seller is offering a knife that has a long waiting time and is a custom or small production run knife. It can be had new for $550 to $600 from two different sources with a waiting time of one to two years. The same two scenarios apply: original condition vs. some cosmetic alteration. Price and discuss.

Note: The seller is not interested in a six minute sale. A typical marketing time of up to a few days is acceptable. After you guys are done recommending $10, pretend you are the seller but also consider the problem as though you are the buyer.

Pass/Fail grading except for Theory, Jon, and TK59 who will be graded on a sliding scale.

Andrew H
05-14-2012, 12:14 PM
Case I:
I think it really depends on who is going to buy it. In general I think the rule is that the more alteration you perform on a knife the lower the value is. That being said if it was a satin finish from Salty or Tinh or Theory, etc, it might be worth more because you know that it was done well.
I'd price them at $300 for the near new and $270 for the polished.

Case II:
I guess the example for this would be Shigefusa. It seems like his knives go for retail price when they are NIB. I think this is a situation where any cosmetic alteration (sans a fancy handle) hurts the value.

05-14-2012, 12:20 PM
Lets say I would really look after any of those.

Case 1 scenario 1 280-300 bucks, scenario 2 I'd rather get new while stil can

Case 2 scenario 1 700-800, scenario 2 I'd pass.

05-14-2012, 12:42 PM
Case Study 1: 1 I would say $290-$310 would be a fair price, though I'd never dream of spending that on that knife myself
Case Study 1: 2 I'd say $250-$270. I think unless a knife has been polished by someone that is sort of well known, it affects the value of the knife negatively in a big way.

I can't remember the original prices of these knives though so that would change my opinion if I knew

Case Study 2: 1 I could see prices of $650-$900. This would sorta depend on the knife though.
Case Study 2:2 I'd say about $450-$500. I think the more you pay, the more you loss with such modifications.

I wouldn't necessarily say that is what I would sell for, but it is what I could easily see happening. That goes for the first ones as well, I wouldn't charge those prices or buy the knives either but they are what I think would be pretty likely

05-14-2012, 12:47 PM
I think there's a variable that is worth considering here. Very few people buy a Suisin Inox to collect them; these are knives that people buy to use. With that in mind, the buyer looking for a used Suisin Inox is looking for a deal and probably does not find a well executed aftermarket satin finish to be either a virtue or a vice.

Custom or small production knives with a long wait time may also get regular use, but people give an extra thought to what they do with these. I don't have nearly the institutional memory of some people here, but I've never seen a heavily abused DT, Bill Burke, or Shigefusa with the minor exception of a user who didn't like his Shig's finish and tried to put a mirror polish on it. Importantly, though, people buy customs for their inherent qualities, not for any modifications made by people who think they know better (handle upgrades on Carter or Shigefusa represent an exception).

Case I:
Scenario 1: $275
Scenario 2: $260

Case II:
Scenario 1: $725
Scenario 2: $450

05-14-2012, 12:51 PM
Case 1 scenario 1: I can't remember the price before the hike, but I'd say $285. I think the seller should get most, but not all, of his money back. He did play with it for a while, after all. Plus the demand for a new blade hasn't increased, only the price has gone up.
Case 1 scenario 2: $270. Unless the modification is a serious improvement to the performance of the knife, then I'd go a little higher.

Case 2 scenario 1: $50 more than the original price. Wait list is long because the demand is higher. The seller should be entitled to make some profit for buying early.
Case 2 scenario 2: Depends on the alteration. If it's re-handle, then original price + cost of rehandle. If it's some other cosmetic alteration (finish of the blade, etc.) then $50 less than current price.