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Knife Care Maintains Antique Value

If you are involved with collecting antique knives and want to keep them in good condition for all your future generations, it is important to know about antique knife care. As with all things, age can be both good and bad. Age often increases the value of an object as people come to realize what it is worth or it is no longer made, and age can also give an object a certain antiquated look. However, if not properly cared for, age can also deteriorate an object and decrease its value. Knowing the difference between good and bad aging and understanding how to protect your knife from age-related deterioration is important, especially if you want to maintain the value of the knife.

The Basics of Antique Knife Care

The first thing you need to know when considering antique knife care is that various elements can cause deterioration of the knife. Although gold is typically not affected by these factors, all of the other materials involved in cutlery are subject to time, temperature, light, moisture, and oxidants. The way you care for your antique knives—or knives in general—really depends on whether or not you intend to use them. Obviously, if you buy a knife to use as a tool, it makes no sense to carry it around in a velvet-lined case. In some cases, basic wear and tear that results from daily use will not negatively affect the value of your antique knife, especially if it is a pocket knife, since it was designed to be used daily as an all-purpose tool ready for any occasion. However, if you are interested in maintaining your knife in mint condition or at least in the condition in which you bought it, it is best to avoid rough handling and contact with other objects. Velvet-lined cases are a good idea because they avoid scratching the finish or dulling the blade.

If you are planning on storing your knife long-term, you should be sure to clean, oil, and wrap it in a soft cloth before storing it in a cool, dry place—generally not your attic, basement, kitchens, etc. A stainless steel blade should be washed in liquid dishwashing soap and warm water and left to completely air-dry.

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