Lum On Ebay

The Lum in question in my previous post has sold on Ebay. If the buyer is a reader of his blog, I would appreciate it if they could send me a picture of the engraved initials "B.L.", and a clean picture of the tip if possible. I'm still not sure it's one of Bob's work, but it does have many traits that would make it one.


Real or Fake?

There is a knife being sold on a well known auction website currently, and I've gotten a few emails asking about it's authenticity. Based on the pictures posted in the auction, I can't for certain say it is a Lum custom.

Which begs the question: how can you tell?

For starters, Bob always signed his work. Prior to the famous "Chop" logo, he would stamp the letters LUM on the ricasso of the blade. See the picture of the two ivory tantos by Jim Cooper for an example. There are exceptions. I have one knife he has authenticated to be his where he signed the knife with his Chinese Lum character on the brass pin, but this was one of his earliest work.

Then there is his hand-rubbed satin finish. One of his signatures. It's very easy to spot the Lum finish once you've seen it before.

His grind lines. As mentioned before, Bob is considered by many knifemakers to be one of the best grinders in the business. His grind lines are always clean and symmetrical. The best way to describe it is "crispness", the lines are well defined and lacks a sense of "softness". Some of his grinds are easy to spot; the diamond tip on his daggers in an earlier post; the Hamagiri (appleseed) grind of his tanto tips. Others are not as easy. But generally, for his fixed blades, most of them will have tapered tangs.

The "Lum Style". This is harder to explain, much less describe. Bob had a very specific eye for lines. A trait that came from his skills as a photographer. With the grind lines, there is always a sense of flow with his blades. All the lines should just seems to tie in together.

Finally, the balance. Unfortunately, this can only be ascertained with the knife in hand. Bob had a way of making his knives balanced regardless of size.

So, based on the above, the following is what stops me from asserting that the knife is a Lum.
  • No signature
  • The grind lacks that crispness
  • The blade's flat treatment is atypical of Bob's style
  • The tip is atypical of Bob's tanto grinds
I'm hoping that we won't have too many examples of fake Lums on the market, as his work is not easy to duplicate. But with the prices of his knives at their current status, it's something we need to be wary of.


Aftermark Pricing

I've gotten a few emails asking me about the current aftermarket prices for Bob's knives. To be honest, it's hard to explain the Custom Knife market prices. Just before Bob was diagnosed with his illness, the prices for his knives in the aftermarket climbed tremendously. People were willing to pay a very high premium for his knives, if they were not able to buy one from him directly. At the time, it was simply a matter of low supply to high demand. The prices climbed a bit more once his illness was made public, when there was a further increase in demand for his knives. Since Bob's passing, they seem to have maintained the same level as just prior to his illness being made public.

But not all of his pieces are selling at the same level of premium. There is currently a distinct advantage in prices for his folders over his fixed blades; and even more with his later models.

The ultimate price for any of Bob's pieces will be determined by the market. It will be set by the buyer's willingness to pay for that piece. So, there is no specific formula to use to help calculate a current price/value. Capitalism at it's best.

My wish is that the aftermarket prices at least maintain some level of a premium over his original asking price. This way, at least there's a tangible means of showing Bob our "appreciation" of his art.


Wallpaper Version 2

Version 2 completed. Format is now 16:9, perfect for my iMac.

Same link as before.


Lums on Leather Wallpaper

Created a high resolution collage of the "Lum on Leather" pictures and uploaded it to Picasa. It's in a 4X6 format.

The link is here. To get the full resolution image, you will need to download it. Size is 2.3MB.