GEC wears the big-boy pants

GEC specializes in highly collectable and premium quality usable pocket knives. The company's USA manufactured knives have quickly proven to be a big hit with both collectors and users who seek quality American craftsmanship.
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Tsar Bomba
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GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby Tsar Bomba » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:27 pm

So the #77 NF Barlow reservations just hit. Each variant appears to be priced at $130-140 or more for the knives with organic handles. As many of you are already aware, the #43s were going for $100 for a single-blade trapper (albeit a pretty large one). With the Campagna #15s coming up (for which I never received advance notification from ANY dealer), I'm expecting to see new knife prices in the $150 or higher range very soon. I suspect the days of finding ANY new GEC (short of the synthetic F&F releases) for under $100 are coming to an end.

If you've noticed recently, the dealers that do take reservations are no longer quoting even a price range. While this might take steps towards reducing the immediate demand for flippers, I suspect it might also create a backlash against the first-run dealers as well. Push the prices much higher and we start to approach semi-custom land. People are going to think a lot harder about reservations unless they are fully invested in the pump-and-dump.

Does this mean GEC has gone "super-premium" or even "quasi-custom" on us? With the #77 Barlow there's very little chance that we will get stuck with the knives if we don't want them (I fully expect them to fetch $200 or more in the very near future on the secondary market) but I'm starting to think GEC is pricing the knives less on materials and construction time than on any perceived rarity or desirability they can conjure up. With these kinds of prices, I find myself more expectant of the knife having premium features like steel hardware (especially liners) and innovative design choices, but it seems like we're seeing the same patterns, styles and hardware choices even as the prices slowly rise.

The forthcoming Whaler release is going to be a true litmus test of this new paradigm, I think. Should be interesting.
Tony
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Everything's better with a Barlow

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TwoFlowersLuggage
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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby TwoFlowersLuggage » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:25 pm

IMHO, depending on the "greater fool theory" of investment is a very, very dangerous game. I also think that when a brand is themselves playing that game, it is time to really step back and think about the products they are producing. "Planned rarity" is sometimes a precursor to lower quality. If they don't think customers are buying based on the quality of the product, then why should they put all the time and resources into going the extra mile to make a 110% product?

I think the GEC knives are beautiful - but I've chosen not to play in this pool. I'm content to just sit and watch. I suspect that those that buy the knives because they are great knives will not get hurt. They will stop buying if the knives are no longer great and no longer worth the money. The profiteers, on the other hand, won't.
"The Luggage had a straightforward way of dealing with things between it and its intended destination: it ignored them." -Terry Pratchett

JohnR
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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby JohnR » Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:33 pm

The price has climbed for SFO's but that I feel is because of demand. Regular runs have stayed reasonable in my opinion,for instance the 43's can be had in the 80's to 90's for most handle materials and the one example I bought is a great knife. Stag handled knives seem to have increased.

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby kootenay joe » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:09 am

TFL, what does the " "greater fool theory" of investment" state ?
Quality and consistency of high quality is more important than price. We have less expensive choices but in general we receive a lower quality knife.
GEC is the only USA knife manufacturer that consistently turns out high quality traditional style knives. I do not want to see a decrease in quality in an attempt to hold the line on prices. Better to maintain the high quality and charge what they need to.
kj

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby TwoFlowersLuggage » Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:58 am

The "greater fool theory" is the name given to what happens when speculators get into a market. The value of the item no longer matters, what matters is that the item is "hot" - it is the "in" thing. Someone will pay $100 for something worth $75 because they think that next week someone else will pay $110, and the guy paying $110 thinks there is another guy the week after that will pay $120, and I pay $130 because I think there is a guy that will $140 next week.

$100 Fool < $110 Fool < $120 Fool < $130 Fool < Me < $140 Fool

The next fool in line is the "greater fool". It all works until there is no greater fool, then it all comes crashing down. At the end of the day, it was only worth $75.

Beanie Babies, Pet Rocks, Pogs, Fidget Spinners, Pokemon Cards, etc, etc - the collector markets are littered with the carcasses of people thinking there is always a greater fool out there somewhere... ::facepalm::
"The Luggage had a straightforward way of dealing with things between it and its intended destination: it ignored them." -Terry Pratchett

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby kootenay joe » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:51 am

Neat. Thank you.
Certainly there is some of this 'greater fool' in the secondary market for GEC knives.
kj

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby wlf » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:23 pm

I've always felt the GEC knives are fairly priced and regulated.

If I am not mistaken the two barlow toolings are privately owned and prices are not regulated on them and SFOs. The second hand market is out of GEC's control. I sure hope they continue the same approach, I commend Bill Howard for his dedication to producing the best manufactured knives available since 2006 and before at Queen.
I buy roosters and farmers..........................................................jack knives [/b]

May the Father and Son bless
Lyle

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby kootenay joe » Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:44 pm

Me Too ! " I commend Bill Howard for his dedication to producing the best manufactured knives "
I really hope Mr. Howard continues to make 'Quality Job 1" his guiding principle over expansion or production numbers.
The basic business practice seems to be: 'if the going is good, get bigger'.
But i hope Mr. Howard goes by "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It"
Because it ain't broke in any way and if you mess with it, you'll bust it.
I love the GEC quality and fear it could get lost.
kj

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Re: GEC wears the big-boy pants

Postby TwoFlowersLuggage » Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:04 pm

If a business has investors, then those investors will demand growth in order to get a return on their investment. If they don't get it, then they will take their investment money elsewhere. It's not personal, making investments is their business. If you are fortunate enough to have a business that does not require you to be in debt or have investors, then you can truly run the business however you wish. Most can't do that. Even in a sole proprietorship, there can be pressures to grow - the owner may have a family and they want to provide the best life they can for their family. It's ideal when you can do it all - maintain a very high quality, keep prices low, have a great working environment for your employees and make oodles of money for everyone - but that's very, very rare. If it was easy, we would all be doing it!
"The Luggage had a straightforward way of dealing with things between it and its intended destination: it ignored them." -Terry Pratchett


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