Antique fruit knives were small knives used to slice fruit. They were sometimes made collapsible as folding knives. The knife is made of pure metal. The acid in the fruits would rust knives that weren’t made from genuine alloys. The majority of quality antique fruit knives were made in England.
Antique fruit knives should be made from metal other than stainless steel. Silver, gold and silver plate was often used. That is an indicator for age, as these metals were made before stainless steel, which was invented in the 20th century. Anything considered antique is at least 100 years or older. Antique fruit knives will also not be made from any type of plastic. Lucite handles on knives are considered collectible; more from the vintage era and not antique, because Lucite was made in the 20th century.
Where to Find Antique Fruit Knives
Antique fruit knives are found in antique malls, thrift stores, consignment shops that sell used kitchenware and specialty dealers. They are also found at online auctions, such as Ebay. Go to any auction site online, and type into the search engine “antique fruit knives,” and see what comes up. When buying antique fruit knives in sets, they range from four to six pieces. Some sets may be worth more as a group, though some individual fruit knives could be deemed valuable if made from elaborately designed materials, such as ivory, mother of pearl, and pure gold.
Quality knives are considered never used or with very little damage–nothing that could detract from value. Marked pieces may bring a higher value. Marked pieces can also help identify knives and help determine value as well. With marked pieces, collectors can easily look up the company in price guide books and get, if not an accurate estimate, a ball park figure as to what worth may be. Collectors can also bring their antique fruit knives to a specialty dealer or auction house for an appraisal.
How to Clean Antique Fruit Knives
When cleaning antique fruit knives, use the gentlest of substances, like mild liquid dish-washing detergent; the kind that removes grease, but is safe for hands. Never soak an antique fruit knife in any solution if there are semi precious jewels attached to the handle, for the cleaning agent may loosen the stone away from its setting. Always soak fruit knives in a bowl of warm water, mixed with one or two squirts of liquid dish-washing detergent. Soak for ten to twenty minutes, then rinse clean under tap water, and dry with a soft towel.
- “Pocket Fruit Knives: A Synopsis of Their History from the United Kingdom, France, Northern Europe and USA”; Simon Moore, 2008.
- “Silver Folding Fruit Knives”; Bill Karsten, 1985.