There exists something of a tradition when it comes to gift giving and knives. The story goes that giving a knife as a gift can metaphorically sever the relationship. Nobody has yet put forth a concrete theory as to how this whole thing started, but it has been a superstition for centuries. To solve the problem, the recipient gives something of value to the person giving them the knife, thus “buying” the knife. Traditionally, it is a coin that’s exchanged. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for the gift-giver to include a penny in the box, which the recipient then gives back, thus preserving the friendship.

As a practical matter, in my experience a quarter has been the most common coin exchanged. However, in at least one case, I purchased a special collectible coin to send to the knifemaker who gifted me with a blade. The coin was symbolic in several ways and served the purpose quite well.

By: Jim Cobb


Learn more about giving the perfect knife in Jim Cobb’s article “Sharply Appointed Presents” in the December 2019 issue of Knives Illustrated.

What other knife lore have you heard? Let us know in the comments, or write us at

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