Custom knife market sectors move in cycles. While many collectors are oblivious to this or simply state, “I buy what I like,” each particular custom knife sector all follow the product life cycle. In the case of custom knives, what happens is that the most sought after knife makers hit a saturation point in both the amount of knives they can make and the amount of orders they can take. Other makers will start to make that knife style and/or combination of materials and will pick up some of the collectors who cannot obtain or afford knives from the most sought after makers in that market sector. This is not to say that these makers are not as talented as the sought after makers. In many cases their knife making skills are equal or superior; however, for whatever reason they have not become a fan favorite with collectors.
Today, the two hottest custom knife market sectors are tactical folders and very high end art folders. Both of these categories have seen increases in price due to the materials and the demand for particular makers work. Consequently, some makers have closed their order books. The majority of these makers knives can only be obtained at knife shows via lottery drawings or in the aftermarket, well above retail price.
The custom knife market is cyclical as such other styles of knives are becoming sought after again. The market for knives made with Damascus has seen more of a demand over the last few years. This demand is across the board; hunters, fighters, bowies, sub-hilt fighters and; of course, folders. Sub-hilt fighters and sub-hilt bowies are also gaining favor with collectors. Hunters and fighters both in stock removal and forged blades are always in demand.
An interesting phenomenon has occurred in that the $1,000.00 price point for a custom knife has almost become common place. The quality of these knives equates to the maker spending more time on each knife. The more knives being sold at this price point equate to fewer available knives. Across all custom knife market sectors, expensive materials have become more common place. Collectors for the most part buy what they like. I would suggest that you may want to do a little homework. Understanding what materials cost and the extra costs associated with using these materials will go a long way to getting the very best value for your money.