BROOKFIELD, Conn. -- What do you like to collect — coins, baseball cards or comic books? What about swords and knives?
“You’d be surprised at how many people collect these,” said Larry Kahn, owner of Affordable Swordables, which recently moved from New Milford to a new location at 536 Federal Road in Brookfield.
His customers span all ages and are equally divided by gender. “There is no stereotype,” said Kahn, a resident of Carmel, N.Y.
Customers are not only collectors but also hunters and martial arts aficionados as well as fans of medieval times, anime and sparring and people serving in the military.
One of the oldest knives in stock is a World War II trench knife that was patented in 1918.
Kahn also carries knives designed by Gil Hibben, who is the creator of knives seen in the motion pictures “Rambo,” and “The Expendables.”
The knives range in price from $1 to $3,000. “The price is not based on size or age but instead on make and condition,” he said.
On one of his knives, which is paired with a spoon, was around during the Civil War era. “The Red Cross would hand these out to the servicemen,” Kahn said. “They used it both to eat and for protection.”
Some of the pocket knives for sale include some that are serrated, have a tempo tip, are spring-assisted and contain a flashlight.
He also sells knives used for cutting seat belts and breaking windows for emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police.
Aside from swords and knives, Kahn sells armor, masks and rings as well as old-fashioned wooden lamps, chests, trunks and musical equipment.
“I love getting to meet people. I can spend an hour with my customers,” he said. “They spend a lot of time examining their future purchase. They ask many questions and handle many pieces.
“I love when people find something they have been looking for for a long time."
The attraction to knives is like sports or shopping — “either you have the gene or you don’t.”
Before selling knives, Kahn spent 30 years as a chef in Westchester County, N.Y., working in corporate cafeterias, restaurants and Irish pubs as well as for Meals on Wheels.
Beginning in 2005, he became curious about the people he saw selling knives in flea markets and on TV shows such as the "Cutlery Corner" and the "Shop at Home Network."
He started selling knives on Sundays at flea markets. After a few years, Kahn opened Affordable Swordables in New Milford, where he remained for six years before expanding into his new location.
Kahn gets many of the items in his store secondhand -- from private collectors and estate sales.
In today’s cyber economy, knives can be purchased online, but the advantage of shopping at a storefront is “you can hold it and feel its quality,” Kahn said.
For more information on Affordable Swordables, call 914-374-3766 or click here .