Antiques And Collectables

Collecting is a wonderful hobby that can bring you lifelong enjoyment and knowledge. I recommend it to everyone. Jenny and I have been collecting as a hobby for over forty years now. We have made many great finds, had wonderful collecting adventures and met many, many interesting people with great stories to tell. 

I retired from my profession eight years ago and life has taken a new course. A friend (Dave) and I were both in the same boat. Retired, with spare time on our hands. We both had large collections and it was time to disperse. We started a shop in Wingham at 12 Isabella Street – Antiques & Old Wares, and we share the hours. Very retired gentlemen’s hours! We’re having fun, meeting lots of interesting people and still making the odd interesting buy.

It is sad to see a local icon leaving us. Phil Passau has owned and managed Clancy’s Second Hand and Office Furniture in Taree, for nigh on forty years. He has been a fair, generous and successful local identity. We wish Phil and Helga a happy and healthy retirement. Clancy’s will continue under the new ownership of Anna, Rob, Bonny and Mason. We wish very success to the family in their new endeavours. 

Collecting vintage and antique pocket knives is a hobby enjoyed by many enthusiasts. Prices will vary from a few dollars at a garage sale to thousands for a rare early piece. One of the most important aspects in knowing what you should pay for a good vintage pocket knife is who the maker was.

We all remember our first folding knife or pocket knife, whether it was a Swiss Army multi-purpose monster, complete with toothpick and tweezers, or a slender single-blade antler-handled Case. But folding knives have been around for a lot longer than these companies. 

The jack knife, a derivation of an antique knife invented by a Frenchman named Jacques de Liege, dates to the 16th century, while the Barlow, named for English cutler Obadiah Barlow, is from the late 17th. As for the peanut, this two-bladed knife, usually less than three inches long when closed, takes its name from its diminutive size. 

Just about all knives are constructed from the same basic parts. There is the blade, of course—for folding knives with more than one blade, the largest is called the master blade. And the knife’s decorative handle, or scale, is often bookended by bolsters made of a material strong enough to help support the pin that acts as a pivot point for the blade. Strictly speaking, jack knives are knives whose blades open from the same end. A Barlow is a type of jack knife whose handle widens at one end to give it a kind of teardrop shape, which makes it easy to grip. Scout knives, sometimes called sportsman’s knives, have blades that pivot open at either end. Indeed, these knives, exemplified by the red-handled contraptions made by Victorinox, are probably best known for blades that aren’t blades at all—screw drivers, bottle openers, fish scalers, nail files, punches, and saws are just a few examples of the tools found on these knives. 

Other collectible knife patterns include the straight-sided physician’s knife, the whittler (which has a hump in its back to give the user something to grip), the thin pen or office knife, and the hunter (traditional versions of this design swell at the centre while modern versions have a carved-out top and a mechanism on the knife’s back that locks the blade into position). Giving the user a safe way to unfold a blade is usually accomplished by creating a notch, or pull, close the blade’s spine. Sometimes these pulls will be long, running from the blade’s tang halfway to its point. Others are the size and shape of the end of a fingernail—depending on the design of the knife, some blades have pulls on both sides. 

Then there are knives whose blades can be opened with one hand, such as those with a hole or thumb screw near the spine instead of a pull. In fact, variations of these so-called one-arm knives have been around since the US Civil War, when folding knives that could be opened with only one hand were a sad necessity of that conflict. 

For knife collectors, some of the most sought brands include Buck, Boker, Camillus, Case, Queen, Remington, and Schrade. There are many other brands and makers from all parts of the world. 

Search out a collectors Guide to finding and Pricing pocket knives. Enjoy your search. 

I hope that collecting brings you the enjoyment that I have experienced over forty odd years! 

Legendary Australian cast iron maker John Furphy, yes, the name that brought us “Telling Furphys” had a great saying that he placed on many of his wares – “GOOD, BETTER, BEST – NEVER LET IT REST – TILL YOUR GOOD IS BETTER – AND YOUR BETTER, BEST.” Not a bad philosophy on life.

If you have items that you are not sure of, I may be able to help with information, appraisals and/or sales. I love the history and stories of old and interesting treasures from the past. Phone Rex – 0427 880 546.

Take care and stay safe!

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