There are knife collectors and then there is Luis Bernardo Mercado.
Mercado, who lives in Fremont, Calif., has amassed a knife collection so huge that to display it all he recently had to lay every knife out in nine long rows on the floor of the karate dojo he operates.
The grand total: 2,200 knives. He’s hoping to achieve the goal of having the largest personal knife collection on the planet.
“I feel great. I feel very confident,” Mercado told the Easy Bay Times about his chances of breaking the record.
Knife Collecting a Passion For Many
Knife collecting, as any passionate knife-owner knows, has been around for hundreds of years. It began to grow in popularity in the 19th century. Clubs dedicated to collecting began springing up in the 1940s.
A huge growth of interest in knife collecting took off in the 1960s, according to “Art of the Knife” by Joe Kertzman, a 2007 book that collects photos of 500 of the world’s finest knives.
Most collectors specialize in one area, although some are more generalists. Typically knives are split into two groups: antiques and collectibles. Most of the antique knives must be at least 100 years old, while collectibles can be of any age.
Knife collecting has become a big enough pursuit that, for high-end collectors, the Art Knife International offers collectible knives from 25 knife makers from around the world. The event is held every two years. In October 2017, it will be held in San Diego, Calif.
Began at Age 5
For Mercado, knife collecting began because of a gift from his uncle. When he was young, growing up in Mexico, his uncle promised to buy him a knife if he could overcome his fear of antibiotic injections he needed to combat a glandular infection, he told the Times.
That first knife was a small metal blade with the beak of a bird carved into the handle.
His collection now features knives from 30 different countries. It includes a huge variety of styles – fixed and folding blades, underwater knives, machetes, small and large. Mercado said he never uses any of them to cut anything, because he wants them in mint condition.
The 54-year-old said he plans to continue adding knives to the collection whether he wins the record or not.
The Guinness Book of World Records currently is reviewing Mercado’s application, with the first step being onsite verification that he has 2,200 knives (which is why he had to lay them out on the floor). The process to determine if he has achieved the record could take up to three months.