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Friday, October 8, 2010

Question: What Is The Most Valuable Pennsylvania-Made Razor?

I received this question today from a friend of mine.  It's a very tough question to answer.  You see, there were SO many "mom and pop" razor companies (most of them importing, but some of them manufacturing), some of which went in and out of business the same year, it is impossible to tell who might have made the "rarest" razor.  I'm sure there are hundreds of companies overall (and dozens in PA in particular) for which there are only a couple of surviving razors left.  For example, I have a razor made by "Pennsylvania Farmer Philadelphia."  I don't know how many razors they made. I cannot find any reference to them anywhere.  It could very well be the rarest razor on earth....or someone could have a box on them in their basement that will come out someday.  Keep in mind that "rare" (meaning something of which there are very few) does not always equal valuable.  Often, it is the items that are NOT rare that are valuable because people are more familiar with them. With regards to PA companies, you had Case, Queen, Schatt & Morgan, even Wade & Butcher had a factory at the "Philadelphia Works."   There are others as well.  Since these names are well known, and there aren't a TON of their razors on the market, they tend to fetch high prices. And even with familiarity and scarcity, I am often surprised (either positively or negatively) at the price that a particular razor sells for.

All of that said, I would congratulate the writer and all those other folks out there who choose to have a theme for their collections.  Since I am a dealer, I buy almost everything to sell to collectors.  That is not a good idea for the collector, unless they want to end up on that "hoarder" show on Cable.  Sit down with yourself and select a goal for your collection.  It can be by state, maker, blade type (my choice would be "cleavers"), scale design, era, country, tang stamp, pin material or scale material.  By making this sort of choice, you will end up with a more enjoyable, coherent and valuable collection.  However, don't neglect the task of creating a handsome washroom.  In mine I have a collection of shaving mugs, around 15 old shaving brushes, barbers bottles, a few strops, a Barbicide bottle with blue Barbicide solution in it....hell I would have bought an old Koken "President" barber's chair and put it in there, but the wife won't let me rip out the tub.

Alas, such are the compromises the razor enthusiast must make.

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