Thousands of people streamed in and out of the Kansas City gun and knife show Saturday, buying and selling firearms at 1,000 vendor booths.
Most of the sales at the R.K. Gun & Knife Show & Sale at the KCI Expo Center were a mix of rifles and handguns, old and new, plus a lot of ammunition boxes.
But right in the middle of the huge hall, Tom and Susie Durham caught the attention of those who read Blade Magazine or Knives Illustrated or have spent years collecting craftsman-style and antique knives.
Stan Andrew came with a duffel bag weighted with 18 knives. The 75-year-old Lee’s Summit man said it was time to start unloading the collection he began 40 years ago.
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Tom Durham is known throughout the country for his eye and knowledge about knives. He said he bought all 18 of Andrew’s knives, though only 10 of them had collectible or resale value to him. The two men declined to share the total purchase price, but Durham said his favorite one was “worth $500 to me.”
Durham’s wife, Susie, said that even when people go “gun crazy” because of politics, the economy or safety fears, there continues to be a market for knives. Older people tend toward antique or artisan products with collectible or investment potential. Younger people tend to want “fighting knives.”
That includes black knives without polished steel blades, automatic switch blades and, particularly, “out at front” knives, where the blade shoots straight out instead of flips at the push of a bottom on the handle. Also popular are clips that attach to knife handles and can fasten knives to the top of pockets for a quick grab.
Show organizer Rex Kehrli said he expected a big crowd this weekend, partly because of Father’s Day gift buying.
The show’s entrance fee is $12 per adult. It closes at 3 p.m. Sunday.