01-25-2014, 09:09 PM
#1
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I just recently began shaving with a straight razor and now find myself seemingly being pulled in deeper each day. Since my wife enjoys estate sales and antique/consignment stores I think I will now have a reason to accompany her besides just being her chauffeur.
That being said, what should I be looking for on any vintage razors I may come across, and what should I stay away from? Besides the obvious of rust and pitting, are there any other red flags on a vintage razor to look out for. Also, is there some sort of reference as to what certain straights are worth or is it just what someone is willing to pay for one? Any & all advice is welcome!

Thanks in advance,
Ron Smile

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 01-26-2014, 01:29 AM
#2
  • Bardamu
  • Junior Member
  • Vancouver, BC
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Valuing a straight takes a lot of sifting through the various BST's and Ebay to get an idea of what people are looking for. There are a lot of variables that come into play such as sentimental value and grind/aesthetic preferences.

In my opinion, the first two things you want to consider are brand and how much steel you have. If you recognize the brand as being one that people will pay big money for (off the top of my head, Puma, Dubl Duck, Filarmonica, and so on) you can go from there. If you don't recognize it as being a high-value brand, it's a pretty good bet that the more steel there is the better (this is a vague generalization, but it might be all you have to go on). 6/8+ generally go for more than 5/8, and depending on the brand, and being heavier than full hollow can add to the value.

Besides that, you want to check the honewear-- the less the better. And if there is honewear, the more even the better. If you have to get it ground down to a nub to fix years of being honed on a dished out stone by the previous owner you might be left with less than what you paid for. The scales should be at least intact, and if the blade closes between them tight, it could need as little as a touch-up on the hones to be ready to go.

I don't know of any kind of reference for valuing a straight-- I'm guessing most sites like this avoid it because they also offer BST-type listings which would conflict with whoever controls the reference. If you have an Ebay account "watch" a few listings and see what they go for. After a while you'll start to get a good idea of what to look for and what to avoid. That said, some listings can swing wildly from "dirt cheap" to "fair" to "several times too much".

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 01-26-2014, 06:02 AM
#3
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Just like everything in life you can pretty much put a fairly accurate price on certain razors, the main factors are desirability name and condition a NOS Filarmonica 14 or a 8/8 + Wade & Butcher will fetch premium prices, on the other hand a vintage Japanese western straight made By Iwasaki him self ! Western Iwasaki razors is Super Rare and very hard to find so can cost a arm and a leg, another razor if you could find one would be a Lifetime Grimreaper NOS now I would like to see the bidding on that one, If you are a user and have a interest in straight razors you pretty much have a good idea how much things are worth.

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 01-26-2014, 06:05 AM
#4
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A razor's worth is what someone will pay for it. There were 100's of great makers producing good to great straights. At an estate sale or antique store, the sellers usually have no idea about value and may have a high price on a rusted, chipped piece of junk or a gem for $10.

Straights get way overpriced once they are hyped on shaving forums. The Filarmonica is only one example. I would say ebay prices are not a good measure of what something is "worth". I've seen people pay 10 times the retail online price for Merkur Futur on ebay.

I've found better razors and deals through the buy sell trade forums on the shaving forums. Badgerandblade has more straights that most sites and for reasonable prices, mainly and you can always PM them and give a lower offer. Straightrazorplace has a good many straights on their classifieds.

You can also PM people who have sold in the past and see what they may still have for sale. I'm interested in Japanese razors and found a guy in Japan who can look for NOS straights for me at great prices.

I would pay no more than $10 or $15 for most straights in antique or junk stores unless, you recognize a very clean straight in great condition. I found a bunch of straights in an antique mall in Danville and shops along the road to Martinsville in Virginia and paid $25 to $30 for each one, because I knew their worth and 3 were even shave ready. I did pay $120 for a large NOS Bartmann at an antique store. The seller was asking $150. It had the original box, papers, tag and in the original grease. They go for $600 on ebay, if you can find them at all. So always haggle with sellers.

Also, you may find people with collections on Craigslist. I met a collector of Boker and American razors, who had never used a straight. He was meticulous in his care of the razors. I paid $30 each. Probably could sell for close to $100 each.

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 01-26-2014, 11:38 AM
#5
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Try to stay away from ebay for straights that are popular makers. They always go for insane prices. Antique stores and flea markets are you best bet. Then the BST sections on forums. On very odd occasions you can pick up a deal on ebay but its rare. Most go well above the "average". But like some have said. A razor is worth whatever you want to pay if its going to make you happy! I have paid well over for a dubl duck gold edge but it makes me happy to own it so I didnt mind paying so much

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 01-26-2014, 03:03 PM
#6
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Thanks Dan, sound advice.


Thanks Jamie, much appreciated.


Thanks, I've just started checking the BST forums on some sites.

Thanks, I'll be hitting estate/garage sales pretty hard this summer. I think like you I would pay a bit higher on some just because I like it and would enjoy it, that to me always adds value to whatever I buy.

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 01-26-2014, 07:38 PM
#7
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(01-26-2014, 03:03 PM)rhenry0702 Wrote: Thanks Dan, sound advice.


Thanks Jamie, much appreciated.


Thanks, I've just started checking the BST forums on some sites.

Thanks, I'll be hitting estate/garage sales pretty hard this summer. I think like you I would pay a bit higher on some just because I like it and would enjoy it, that to me always adds value to whatever I buy.

Wheres my thanks Sad lol jk

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 01-26-2014, 07:50 PM
#8
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(01-26-2014, 07:38 PM)sharpedge1188 Wrote:
(01-26-2014, 03:03 PM)rhenry0702 Wrote: Thanks Dan, sound advice.


Thanks Jamie, much appreciated.


Thanks, I've just started checking the BST forums on some sites.

Thanks, I'll be hitting estate/garage sales pretty hard this summer. I think like you I would pay a bit higher on some just because I like it and would enjoy it, that to me always adds value to whatever I buy.

Wheres my thanks Sad lol jk

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DOH! My sincere apologies, didn't mean to leave anyone out and the advice is much appreciated.Blush

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 01-28-2014, 10:07 AM
#9
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Your pretty safe going with any vintage razor (assuming it's in good condition).
Just stick with a lowish price. There are only a handful of razors that are worth a high price and they aren't going to come up that often at a estate sale.

What to stay away from.
Deep rust, pitting.
Cracks, big chips.
Spine wear, uneven spine wear.
Warped razors. Turn it edge up and site down the cutting edge, make sure it doesn't look line a "C" Wink.
Razors that look like the rusted only were it sits in the scales (it's called scale rot).

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 01-28-2014, 11:33 PM
#10
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(01-28-2014, 10:07 AM)MileMarker60 Wrote: Your pretty safe going with any vintage razor (assuming it's in good condition).
Just stick with a lowish price. There are only a handful of razors that are worth a high price and they aren't going to come up that often at a estate sale.

What to stay away from.
Deep rust, pitting.
Cracks, big chips.
Spine wear, uneven spine wear.
Warped razors. Turn it edge up and site down the cutting edge, make sure it doesn't look line a "C" Wink.
Razors that look like the rusted only were it sits in the scales (it's called scale rot).

Thanks, I appreciate the help and I'll keep my eye out for "C" shaped razors, might make for an interesting shave though lol

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