Investment Grade Blades (Part II) – Tactical diversity in your art portfolio

Stacy J Nabinger Jacks

Forged 5160 spring steel, wrought iron guard, copper pin, curly maple handle. Blade length 4 ¾” Overall length 9 ¾” by knife maker Stacy J. Nabinger Price $300

Knife maker Stacy J. Nabinger working on sanding blade

Knifemaker Stacy J. Nabinger

Part I of our “Investment Grade Blades” article introduced the concept of investing in collectible knives and discussed commissions and purchases from an established master knife maker. Jay Fisher provided our case example for this scenario.When you buy a knife from an artist like Jay – you often gain in value between your initial commission and delivery of the finished piece. This is a fantastic premise if you can afford to purchase and hold knives that are worth several thousand dollars.

Stacy J. Nabinger JacksPart II will continue to discuss the investment potential of knives made by up and coming or new knife makers. The whole theory here is exactly the same as speculative investing in a startup company, or dare I say “penny stocks.”

Lower share pricing allows obtaining a Greater volume of shares and/or creates opportunity for diversification. Shares only have to go up in value a small amount to return a good percentage of growth. Using a physical example, a $3,000 knife must go up by $300 to increase by 10%. A $300 knife need only go up in value by $30 to increase in value by 10%. Even though the percentage is the same, working up another $30 is easier than working up by $300.

Purchasing a knife from an up and coming or lessor known knife maker allows you to obtain pieces at a lower original price. Buy purchasing more “stock” or knives, either from one knife maker or by diversifying between multiple artists. you increase your chances of a hit and reduce your overall risk. Purchasing ten knives from up and coming knife makers may be possible for the same cash value of one knife by a master artist. If one or more of them begin to gain notability, your collection will begin to increase in value. In time, as the artists reach greater achievements your early pieces become part of their legacy, hopefully they will begin to have a backlog of orders, now your ability to deliver a knife for immediate sale also helps increase the value.

It is important that you do your homework, study the techniques, training, artistic presentation, quality of the steel and materials, all the factors you normally review when purchasing a knife. In addition, consider the artists potential for marketing, is there is backing, do they present themselves well at a show or on a website? Marketing (unfortunately) is often more important than the artist’s actual skill, as if nobody ever finds out about the worlds most talented artist their work ultimately has no value.

Fighter: O1 tool steel, stainless steel pins, paper micarta handle, Blade length 4 ¾” Overall length 10” by Stacy J. Nabinger Price $300
Fighter: O1 tool steel, stainless steel pins, paper micarta handle, Blade length 4 ¾” Overall length 10” by Stacy J. Nabinger Price $300

Just to impart a quick monkey wrench into an obvious temptation – you may have the idea that if you buy all the knives that a new knife maker can produce at a reasonable price you’ll own the entire collection. Unfortunately this will likely backfire, if you own them all and nobody else knows this artist exists then your collection will never gain in value. The wider the distribution of an artist’s work, the greater potential for increase in value. Knives take a huge amount of time to work and finish. If you’re planning to be a regular patron of a particular knife maker for their investment potential consider spreading your purchases over time to allow their knives to work into as many collections as possible.

Stacy J. Nabinger FighterIf you are savvy with negotiations, offer to purchase ten knives over the next ten years if the artist will lock in a prices, a fair scheduled increase is likely required. Many artists will relish the prospect of consistent income so you are not doing them any particular harm, what you may gain is the ability to purchase knives at a discounted value in the future. Verbal or written agreements, well that’s is between the client and the artist, trust and the ability and willingness of both parties is key to success in this case. This can simply be deemed “knife options.”

“Knife options,” you may be smirking a bit at this thought, then generally blowing it off. Stop and consider a few things. You are a collector, and you now have the plan in place to obtain “X” knives over a period of time. Collectors are not generally isolated individuals, in fact most of us are not really quiet about our passions.  As a collector planning to gain a return on your investment you will show your knives to other collectors, talk about artists in blogs, at shows, forums, clubs, and other venues. The more you help to promote the artists in your collection the better. Consider selling one of your series collections to a notable collector, again the wider known a name is the greater potential for increase in value.

Knife maker Stacy J. Nabinger
Knifemaker Stacy J. Nabinger

We are proud to introduce nineteen year old Stacy J. Nabinger, an up and coming young Pennsylvania knife maker. Stacy is five years into his career employing both Forging techniques in 5160 steel, and stock removal methods in 01 steel. He favors the use of wood handles including but not limited to cocobolo, ebony, rosewood, ironwood, bloodwood and his personal favorite is curly maple.  Certain wood handles can be embellished with silver wire inlay.

So let’s do some homework on Stacy, he’s young and already has five years in play learning his trade, only really starting to sell his work in the last two years. He is frequenting knife shows, studying the habits and skills of the masters. A website is planned to come online later this year, and in the meantime he is promoting his work through articles and features online. He is planning to build his portfolio over the next year or so to provide adequate stock to begin attending shows as a seller.

Article example:

Stacy J Nabinger  NY Knife
O1 tool steel, nickel silver bolsters and pins, paper micarta handle. Blade length 4” Overall length 8 ¼” By Stacy J. Nabinger Price $350

Knife maker Stacy J. Nabinger

Knifemaker Stacy J. Nabinger

The internet is now huge, it is the greatest twenty four hour seven day a week marketing tool ever conceived; a world wide reach at almost no cost. Stacy’s potential as an investment just increased by simply having a feature on our blog site even though we are far from dedicated to knives. Our blog is quickly gaining traffic, and our website is already established as I’d dare to say the largest single studio woodworking website on the internet.  Our work as woodcarvers and furniture makers is already a known investment, and we just offered our endorsement. Starting with Part I of this article searching for Stacy J. Nabinger combined with knife or knives already confirms in any given search engine that he exists as an artist. Once Part II is indexed there are now three images of his work are released to the world. We’ll keep featuring Stacy’s work overt time and as a result his name and work will continue to appear in thousands of search results worldwide.

Stacy J. Nabinger NY KnifeAll that said, establishing an internet dominance takes knowledge, skills, and a huge devotion of time – but again lets study the practices of the masters. You can not conduct any serious internet surfing focusing on custom knives without coming across Jay Fisher at least a dozen times. He’s the only artist I’ve come across to date that rivals my own almost unhealthy obsession with online marketing.

As I previously pointed out, tangible assets in your investment portfolio are a great way to diversity. Owning a piece of art by a skilled craftsman, is a unique way to hold value. Even compared to a painting, where styles of artwork tend to fluctuate, collectors of knives rarely ever loose appreciation for an established knife maker. Styles may evolve, materials may change, but the demand for handmade knives has proven only to increases over time.

For more information about Stacy J. Nabinger’s knives or to place an order contact Stacey at 215-493-2394

We’ll announce Stacy’s website shortly!

Three Knives by Stacy J. Nabinger

Three Knives by Stacy J. Nabinger


Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.