Starting a Case Knife Collection (A Complete Hobbyist’s Guide)


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People collect many types of knives, but the most popular brand by far that people collect is Case Knives. The company has a rich history and a diverse lineup of historical and modern knives that appeal to many collectors.

Beginning a Case knife collection can be a great and inexpensive pastime that will expose you to the rich history of Case Knives and many historical events. It can be a rewarding hobby that you can do purely for fun, or you can collect historical Case knives that may go up in value.

Starting a new hobby like collecting Case knives can seem a little daunting because there is so much information that you don’t know. That’s why, in this article, ill walk you through how to get started collecting case knives and answer a few other questions you might have. Let’s get right into it!

How to Get Started Collecting Case Knives

photo of a case pocket knife with two blades open on gray surface

You can take many routes to get into collecting Case knives, but in the following sections, I’ll outline some of the basic steps that you can take to have the best experience possible when starting your new hobby. 

Learn About Case Knives and Get to Know the Scene

The first thing you should do when getting into collecting Case knives is research, learn about Case knives, and get to know locals who are into the same hobby.

Immersing yourself in the world of Case knives for a few weekends will give you a good sense of what you enjoy and things that interest you. There are many ways you can go about learning and immersing yourself in the world of Case knives, but below are a few of the best ways in no particular order:

  • Researching Case Knives online and watching videos
  • Browsing online forums like Reddit, Quora, Blade Forums, etc.
  • Reading books on the topic
  • Going to local knife conventions and shows
  • Hanging out for an afternoon in a knife store and talking to people
  • Reaching out to anyone you know who is into Case knives

There are many more ways than I can list, but the point is to get out and immerse yourself in the world of Case knives before you whip out your card and start buying blades left and right. Get to know some locals who are into collecting Case knives and scope out the community as a whole to see if it is something you’re genuinely interested in getting into. 

Choose a Case Knife Characteristic to Collect

After you’ve gotten yourself a little more into Case knives and done some research, the next thing to do is decide what type of Case Knives you would like to collect.

There are many ways to go about this, but it’s usually helpful to decide on a knife characteristic to specialize in and collect. Below are a few popular Case knife characteristics to collect:

  • Handle material
  • Age
  • First production run
  • Pattern
  • Licensed knives
  • Limited editions

Some collectors simply get every knife they can get their hands on, and while this is an entirely valid way to collect Case Knives if you choose, selecting a characteristic helps give you focus and a goal for your collection.

Handle Material

A great to collect Case knives is by choosing a handle material to specialize in, such as a specific type of bone, wood, or horn. Case Knives offers well over a hundred different handle materials, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that you like and is in your price range.

Age

Another way to collect Case knives is by age. Going for newer knives is usually your best option if you’re just starting because they are typically cheaper. However, older Case knives have a certain appeal because of their story and history.

First Production Run

Collecting knives from the first batch of a new Case knife model is another excellent way to collect Case knives. First production run knives are typically numbered (and usually limited to fewer than 500), so getting your hands on one can be a welcomed challenge.

Pattern

Another excellent to collect Case knives is by their pattern. Case Knives offers a wide selection of patterns, with some of their most popular being Skinner, Copperhead, Copperlock, Trapper, Peanut, and Tear Drop.

Licensed Knives

Every once in a while, Case Knives will collaborate with another brand to create an exclusive knife. Case Knives has created licensed knives with some pretty huge brands and names, such as John Wayne, John Deere, Ford, the U.S. Army, and many more.

Limited Editions

Case Knives also occasionally releases Limited Edition Case knivesOpens in a new tab., which are very collectible. Usually numbered and limited to 3,000 or fewer units, Limited Edition Case knives can be difficult to get your hands on but are a challenging and rewarding type of Case knife to collect. 

Make a Wish List and Seek Out the Knives You Want

photo of a case pocket knife with two blades open on a gray background

Once you’ve decided what characteristic, if any, you want to focus on, and you’ve learned as much as you can about Case Knives, it’s time to start your collection for real!

From here, you’ve got two choices: a strategical approach or a non-strategical approach. If you’re an organized person or just enjoy planning, it’s good to do a little more research and make a list of all the Case knives you want to acquire for your collection. 

Of course, you don’t have to do this, and you could just go with the flow, but making a list will give your a sense of direction and purpose in your collecting endeavors.

The next thing to do is go out to find and purchase knives for your collection. There are many avenues for finding the Case knives that you want, including:

  • Knife conventions and shows
  • The Case Knives websiteOpens in a new tab.
  • Online retailers
  • Second-hand online retailers
  • Local knife and cutlery stores

If you’re just beginning, it’s best to start small and build your collection over time. And most of all, have fun and enjoy the process!

Another major problem, especially if you’re buying Case knives online, is counterfeit knives. As one of the most popular collectible knife brands out there, fake Case knives are prevalent and well done. Make sure to check out my article on how to spot a fake Case knifeOpens in a new tab.!

Clean and Display Your Collection

Now that you’ve started your Case knife collection, the only thing left to do is grow your collection and decide how you would like to display your knives.

If you bought second-hand knives or are collecting historical Case knives, you may need to clean them up a little. The key to cleaning Case knives is to take your time and not to rush the process, or you may risk harming your knife.

Once your Case knives are presentable and clean, it’s time to decide how you would like to store and display them.

There are many ways to display a Case knife collection, but one of the most popular ways is by using a simple knife or jewelry display case. If you’re interested in getting a display case for your knife collection, check out this one on Amazon by clicking hereOpens in a new tab..

What is the Point of Collecting Case Knives?

When it comes to collecting Case knives, there are primarily two groups of people: the people who do it for monetary gain and those who do it for the pure joy of it. Of course, there is also a large group of people who do it for both reasons.

Collecting Case Knives for Monetary Gain

Case knives are some of the most collected knives ever, and they often have a pretty decent resale value. While it is not a sure-fire and reliable investment, buying and selling specific Case knives can be very lucrative if you know what you’re doing.

Collecting Case Knives Purely for Fun

Case Knives is a very well-known American brand that has been around for a LONG time. There is so much history in the brand itself and every knife they make that collecting Case knives can be a very exhilarating, educational, and enjoyable hobby.

Collecting Case Knives for Fun and Monetary Gain

Most people will fall into the category of collecting Case knives for fun, but also not completely disregarding the opportunity to buy and sell knives for a profit.

Collecting Case knives is a very rewarding and fun hobby, and buying, selling, and trading knives is just the name of the game. If you’re savvy about it, you can have fun collecting Case knives for the thrill and history of it, and you can potentially make some money as well.

Are Case Knives Worth Collecting?

Case Knives has been around since 1889 and is one of the most collected knife brands ever. There are plenty of other knife brands that people collect, but few have as much character, history, and craftsmanship as Case Knives.

There are many reasons why collecting Case knives is worth it. But among the most significant factors is the fact that Case knives are not only really well-made knives, but many of them also go up in value or have an excellent resale value.

Collecting Case knives is a great and worthwhile hobby that allows you to collect a little piece of history and interact with some fantastic people who have the same hobby.

To get a little more perspective on whether Case is a worthwhile knife company and brand, make sure to check out my comparison of Case and Buck knives by clicking hereOpens in a new tab.!

What are the Best Case Knives to Collect?

Nearly all Case knives are collectible in some sense, but some of the best Case knives to collect are Case XX (1940-1964) and anything from before World War II (1905-1939).

However, the most crucial factor that influences whether a knife is good to collect or not is its condition. Some of the most sought-after knives are from the previously mentioned time frames but were lost in a drawer or stored away and never used. Look for non-decorative old Case knives that are in good condition.

An immaculate condition knife from pre-WW2 is absolute gold. Also, the more blades a Case pocket knife has, the more valuable it typically is.

Other good Case knives to collect are more modern models such as anything from around 1980 to the present. Not because of any historical value, but because you can often find good quality newer Case knives for cheap at thrift stores or online and either collect them or flip them for a profit.

Putting all the analytical details of what makes a Case knife collectible aside, the best Case knives to collect are the ones that interest you. 

Collecting Case knives should be a fun and enjoyable hobby, so if you find a specific era, pattern, or handle material that interests you, go out and collect them. You really can’t go wrong when collecting Case knives as long as you’re having fun.

How Expensive is it to Collect Case Knives?

Collecting Case knives can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. That’s one of the great things about collecting Case knives; you can get started with less than $100 or spend thousands upon thousands if you want to.

Most newer Case knives fall in between $50-$100. Older knives typically will cost more, so it’s best to collect newer (and subsequently less expensive) Case knives if you’re just getting started.

For argument’s sake, let’s say you collect more recent Case knives in the $50-$100 range and start out by collecting ten knives.

$50 (price per knife) x 10 (knives) = $500

As time goes on, you can add to your collection and go well beyond ten knives, but to get started collecting Case knives, I would expect to pay around $500 to $1000.

If you decide to collect older Case knives, it’s an entirely different game. Older Case knives will typically cost somewhere between $500 and $5,000 depending on their age, pattern, and condition. Some old Case knives in excellent condition can cost $10,000+!

Depending on your budget and the knives that you are collecting, collecting Case knives can either be super expensive or not. Case knives also typically hold their value pretty well and have a pretty good resale, so that’s a plus as well.

Whether you’re spending tens of thousands or just a hundred dollars, collecting Case knives should be fun and about the history, culture, and people who love and enjoy these excellent knives.

Here are a few of the most popular Case knives that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Make sure to check them if you’re interested!

Townsen Bell

I'm the founder and primary author at Knife Manual. Over many years, I have become proficient at survival and bushcraft skills through lots of practice and many great teachers. I enjoy spending time outdoors, collecting knives, and learning new skills.

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