Knife Prices are Confusing Me

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Knife prices are confusing me lately and I was wondering if you guys could give me your thoughts.

I recently had somebody wanting to trade a BNIB Kato for my BNIB Yanick. He said he valued his knife at $1,900 and asked “what I paid” for my Yanick. I informed him it was $1,150. By his logic, the fair offer was my Yanick + $750 for his Kato. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this, so I’m curious what peoples thoughts are on this. It seems like selling Japanese knives for whatever somebody will pay is socially good to go, but western knives are supposed to be sold at retail. So much so that some people feel in a trade, one knife is based on market value, and the other is based on retail price. I was honestly about to post my Yanick for about $1,400-$1,500 because that's what I honestly think it's worth and I have the river jump I intend to keep now (so no need to trade anymore). But maybe I'm crazy.

This also has me wondering about people who said buying a Kaiju for $1,800 was insane, but regular Kato’s are going for the same price. Maybe I’m right out to lunch, but it seems to me like a Kaiju is a much more sought after and rare knife than a Kato which seems to pop up on BST about two or three times a month.

I don’t really have a specific question here, but I’m just curious what you guys think of this. Like what do you value a 240: Yanick Ku, Kato Std, Kato Ku and Kaiju at these days?
 
In my opinion, everything is market price. If you can value a J-knife for over retail because it's what people are willing to pay, then it makes sense to do the same for western knives. Just like any other in-demand product out there 🤷‍♂️

I know most people would be willing to pay a premium for a Yanick, or a The9, or others - I think that sentiment holds in trade values too. As for the exact value? That's a bit blurry.
 
At least for pocket knives which can sometimes have a very different msrp (we call it table price) for trades you can treat things two ways. Either trading for MSRP to MSRP, or market price to market price. It's hard with the kato to say a good table price since maxim has been jumping around a lot on pricing since the retirement announcement, and at least in the west, don't know of anyone else to go through to get katos.

In terms of rarity, also hard. I think Tanaka probably makes a lot more knives than kato, and is not retired yet. The Kaiju is cool, and yes it is pretty rare, but you can technically take an FM which there are quite a large amount of them, and with a lot of work do a full jnat polish and land at essentially the same thing.
 
Well clearly the Kato is the more valuable proposition here given that Kiyoshi Kato is retired, so we are told :facepalm:
 
It seems like selling Japanese knives for whatever somebody will pay is socially good to go, but western knives are supposed to be sold at retail.
And I guess you haven't been shopping for Kramer's and Maumasi's either.
 
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Regardless, for a trade I think it would be fair to do a 1 for 1 in this example. "new" katos have been selling for 1800-2k since the retirement announcement, however....before that, prices were like 12-1400 so I don't think it's fair to compare the inflated "retirement" value for his knife, and you get MSRP for yours.

I do think it's dumb. But he could still make a valid point in terms of collector value that the Kato will keep increasing in price in the long run while yanick is gonna be around for way longer producing more and more knives but...in terms of actual objects I see a similar value. I guess depends if you are looking at it comparing the actual objects vs investment potential (which I don't love that idea, but it's a real thing).
 
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I think it’s more frowned upon to sell above MSRP for non-retired Western makers. Both because of the visibility and the fact many more knives can be produced (and indeed, many makers go through a hype cycle that eventually cools down).

Ultimately, that’s all just negotiation techniques, and you need to decide what is worth it for you. The market is so small it’s hard to gauge a fair value. That said, WTB for 1900 at Kato would get you something. Yanick at 1100 no. Yanick at 1900 yes. (Complete speculation ) So the true value is probably somewhere in between.
 
Just speaking to this situation, the other guy is the one asking, so you can set the trade value for the Yanick. If he doesn’t like your trade value, then he doesn’t get the knife and you can post it for whatever price you are comfortable at.

A Yanick on BST listed at the retail price is likely going to sell in seconds. One listed with a 50% markup will still likely sell, but it might take a little while.

There’s always the danger of being called a flipper though, if one cares about that sort of thing.

I wonder how makers feel about reselling above retail. As a maker of boards that have gained some renown and are not readily available, let’s say someone bought one of your board/plate combos for $850, didn’t really use it, and posted it on BST for $1,200. Would that bother you? Would you think it inappropriate?
 
Just speaking to this situation, the other guy is the one asking, so you can set the trade value for the Yanick. If he doesn’t like your trade value, then he doesn’t get the knife and you can post it for whatever price you are comfortable at.

A Yanick on BST listed at the retail price is likely going to sell in seconds. One listed with a 50% markup will still likely sell, but it might take a little while.

There’s always the danger of being called a flipper though, if one cares about that sort of thing.

I wonder how makers feel about reselling above retail. As a maker of boards that have gained some renown and are not readily available, let’s say someone bought one of your board/plate combos for $850, didn’t really use it, and posted it on BST for $1,200. Would that bother you? Would you think it inappropriate?
Man, Everything you said is so on point and interesting to think about. I love the direct comparison to my cutting boards because it's true that I have more demand than I can meet. Nowhere near Yanick of course, but at a very basic level demand > supply.

On reselling for higher the only way it would bother me is if it was 1 person who was purely doing it for profit. Just because I would feel like people who want my work were being taken advantage of. If they were buying my boards for the sole purpose of flipping that would be a bummer as I put A LOT of effort into making my boards sales as fair and equal opportunity as possible.

I think what I've realized typing this out and reading the other comments is I'm gonna go ahead and list my Yanick for exactly what I think it's worth and if it sells, great! If it doesn't, I'll drop the price in a couple weeks. I think I felt like I would be committing a community faux pas by doing this but I also know I'm not a greaseball flipper, I just wanna sell my knife for what it's worth so I can buy a PC and make YouTube videos about cutting boards.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone, pleasure being educated by you guys as always.
 
Always interesting to hear your perspective as someone on both sides of the equation.
Thanks, I think I do have a bit of a unique perspective in that regard. One thing I think about a lot with price as a maker is the difference between what it’s “worth” and what it will sell for. A lot of people tell me my boards are ridiculously over priced at $850, others tell me I need to be charging more because they sell out instantly so obviously I can charge more. One thing I believe whole-heartedly is that my boards are genuinely “worth” $850. Whether they sell or not, I know the product I’m producing and what goes into it and I can hand on heart say I believe it is worth $850.

I think that’s why I’m so confused by things like Yanick’s, is I hold it and look at it and say to myself “This is a $1500 knife”, I know what went into it, I know how hard he worked, I know how long it took him to get to this point from the point of view of a maker.

However, at the end of the day, a board or a knife either sells or it doesn’t.

K that’s my profound thought of the day. Thanks for listening
 
Be careful not to list on Reddit or you will be labeled a flipper /s

Another aspect of it that I've realized through years and years of collecting folders and watches if you don't get that money, the next person will. I have sold quite a number of watches, knives, and other things for good deals, just for the next guy to turn around and try to make a huge profit on it. I recently sold a watch and a month later it's listed for $9000 more than what I sold it for.

Don't get me wrong, I am still going to try my best to give "bro" deals and such but sometimes you just can't. I'm not selling my Togo reigo FM for $800. May be scummy but I know if I do, somewhere down the line someone else will list it for 2k+ anyway. (This is all hypothetical, the knife is never going to be sold, ever.)

I think it's best to meet somewhere in the middle usually. I probably wouldn't let my workhorse, white 1 Kato go for what I paid new, but I probably would ask less than market as well.

Anyway, long ramble as well lol.
 
Be careful not to list on Reddit or you will be labeled a flipper /s

Another aspect of it that I've realized through years and years of collecting folders and watches if you don't get that money, the next person will. I have sold quite a number of watches, knives, and other things for good deals, just for the next guy to turn around and try to make a huge profit on it. I recently sold a watch and a month later it's listed for $9000 more than what I sold it for.

Don't get me wrong, I am still going to try my best to give "bro" deals and such but sometimes you just can't. I'm not selling my Togo reigo FM for $800. May be scummy but I know if I do, somewhere down the line someone else will list it for 2k+ anyway. (This is all hypothetical, the knife is never going to be sold, ever.)

I think it's best to meet somewhere in the middle usually. I probably wouldn't let my workhorse, white 1 Kato go for what I paid new, but I probably would ask less than market as well.

Anyway, long ramble as well lol.
So true, I think a lot of people want to be a good part of the community and give a good deal, but the reality is, you’re just losing to the guy who doesn’t care. It’s different when you’re selling to a friend of course. There are people I’ve met on here that I’d sell most of my knives half price to if they really wanted it.
 
So true, I think a lot of people want to be a good part of the community and give a good deal, but the reality is, you’re just losing to the guy who doesn’t care. It’s different when you’re selling to a friend of course. There are people I’ve met on here that I’d sell most of my knives half price to if they really wanted it.
Agreed. A kind member of the community sold me a yanick for less than a grand and I'm very thankful for that, and I've sold some things for way less than market. I just can't do it every time
 
I think Yanick knows his knives are “under valued” but chooses to keep his pricing down. He makes a tremendous sacrifice, if people can honor that by maintaining his pricing then I think that is admirable. Also, if you get a knife from him to just list it at a higher price and he finds out, good luck getting another from the man.

I’m not saying this is your case but if someone hypothetically has special access to rare knives due their connections or mythically good drop success rate and then uses those to make money to fund other endeavors then that is lame and not good for the knife community.

With that said, I’ve been in spots where people have offered me big money to pry away a prized knife and I caved but in general I believe that the money should ideally be going to the makers and not the collectors.
 
my opinion is basically what you said @OwlWoodworks. You didn’t buy it to flip it, you bought it because you wanted it and used it and took care of it. Now you want to sell for what it is genuinely worth, not because you want the profit, but because you want fair value which is completely fair.

My dad has a bunch of first edition comics in the garage, should he sell them for 10¢ each because that’s what he paid 40 years ago? No.
 
So true, I think a lot of people want to be a good part of the community and give a good deal, but the reality is, you’re just losing to the guy who doesn’t care. It’s different when you’re selling to a friend of course. There are people I’ve met on here that I’d sell most of my knives half price to if they really wanted it.
Yup. And likewise, if a friend cuts you a deal and you turn around and flip it, say goodbye to that friend.
 
Personally I’m a big believer in market price for everything. If you believe your Yannick would sell for $1500 then that’s what you should list it for on BST. I have a deep admiration for members who sell below full market value, but I feel it’s a little bit like trying to hold back the tide as eventually somebody will resell it for full market value.

I would hope makers would be happy to see their work selling for above retail on the resale market. Definitely it would suck in the other direction, i.e. deep discounts required to sell.
 
I want to apologize to anyone who was waiting for my BST listing to go up. I was writing it up as the DM’s started coming in and needless to say, the Yanick is long sold now. Thank you everyone for your interest and thank you everyone for the conversation. I always enjoy discussing price here as everybody always has very passionate and diffferent opinions.

Have a lovely day,
Luke
 
At the end of the day I really really want knife makers to get paid as much as possible with as little aftermarket flipping as possible. But with that being said people are leaving money on the table (which is fine if they’re comfortable with it) if they sell scarce sought after stuff at MSRP.
If makers don’t catch up to actual market value of their knives almost always someone else will do it anyway.
 
Why would knives be different than anything else? The flipping market doesn’t take money out of the makers pocket. I can see folks getting annoyed by it but if someone will pay $1,000 for a knife I own, why would I sell it to another stranger for $600? This holds true to me when we’re talking non customs and non favors. Customs and favor pricing are a bit diff.
 
I personally tend to think that most makers-however they feel about it-accept that "market forces" are outside of their control. It's less about holding people to unrealistic ethical standards or expectations and more about having their customers act with integrity and show respect to them, their time, and their work.
 
At the end of the day I really really want knife makers to get paid as much as possible with as little aftermarket flipping as possible. But with that being said people are leaving money on the table (which is fine if they’re comfortable with it) if they sell scarce sought after stuff at MSRP.
If makers don’t catch up to actual market value of their knives almost always someone else will do it anyway.
That’s why I prefer to buy directly from makers these days, good thing many non-western makers also realized they can sell directly to consumers
 
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