Knife collecting is still very much practice in today’s modern world as there are plenty of people who love collecting knives as a hobby. Such knives can include many different knives with unique and intricate designs that you know are going to be visually appealing. This includes Painted Pony knives, which are basically factory knives that were customized to become collector knives. But are Painted Pony knives any good?
Knives made by Painted Pony are similar to factory knives with handles that have intricate designs that aren’t common and can only come from Painted Pony. Aside from the design, there is nothing different regarding Painted Pony knives as they simply use knives coming from different manufacturers.
That said, Painted Pony knives might be considered collector items due to their intricate and exquisite designs. Outside of that, they are just simply similar knives that you can buy from different brands such as Hen & Rooster and Buck Knives, among others. But, for some reason, the added design makes Painted Pony more expensive and downright better-looking than ever before. Now, let’s get to know more about Painted Pony knives.
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What are Painted Pony knives?
For those who are not familiar with it, knife collecting is very much a hobby that many people worldwide practice as there is really something special about keeping knives that are intricately designed and great as decorative pieces. And what you need to know about knife collectors is that they hardly ever use these knives for utility purposes as they would rather keep knives that are collector items in good shape and stored somewhere safe where they can be left unused.
That said, there are plenty of different knives that can be considered collector items worldwide. And most of these knives come from manufacturers that are actually making such knives to sell them as collector items and not as knives that will actually be used. Then again, some brands actually sell knives that can be used but, for some reason, have become collector items thanks to simple alterations that made them special.
This is where Painted Pony Designs come in to make simple factory knives into collector items that can be sold for a lot of money and kept by collectors in their knife collections as novelties that you may not be able to find elsewhere. So, in a sense, Painted Pony knives are simply custom-designed factory knives that add some flair to ordinary knives to make them look special and more expensive than they actually are. One example is this Hen & Rooster Painted Pony knife.
Painted Pony Designs is a brand that falls under Michael Prater and Co, which is owned by Michael Prater. The shop is located in Flintstone, Georgia, and is simply a small business that has a total of 13 employees. Prater’s business started back in the 80s where he himself actually did the forging and the grinding of the knives before he did the custom-made handles. Back then, the business was called North and Prater as he did everything together with local knife maker David North.
Since North’s retirement, Prater took over the business and started taking in factory-made knives instead of relying solely on knives forged by the shop’s employees. He started attending knife shows while displaying his knives. Over time, the business grew and people wanted to get into the Painted Pony hype by buying their own Painted Pony knives.
Ever since the business started booming, what happened was that Painted Pony Designs started getting knives straight from the factories of some of the biggest knife companies in the entire country. The knives came to the shop without a handle because they wanted Michael Prater and his people to work on the handle of the knives using their custom-made materials and patented designs.
So, basically, Painted Pony knives are now simple knives that come from the factories of names such as Buck Knives, Case, Hen & Rooster, and many other notable names in the knife industry. However, with the added design and touch that Prater and his people do on the knives and their handles, they were able to elevate the knives into collector items that can be sold somewhere between $60 and $600 depending on how limited the designs are and on the original price of the knives that they customized.
In fact, Michael Prater said that the most expensive knife he has ever made was sold at $10,000, which is a hefty price to pay for a collector knife. Meanwhile, notable celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, Mark Grey, and Charlie Daniels actually own Painted Pony knives.
Michael Prater and the people behind Painted Pony Designs are capable of finishing several hundreds of knives on a weekly basis after a shipment of knives from different factories all over the country make their way to their doorstep. On a yearly basis, about 20,000 Painted Pony knives get sold.
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What makes Painted Pony knives expensive?
Now that you know more about the brief background of Painted Pony knives, you may be wondering why they come with an expensive price tag that allows the knives to be sold for $60 to $600 regularly and as high as $10,000. After all, when you look at Painted Pony knives and what they actually are, they are just standard knives that you can get from companies such as Case or Buck Knives for the standard retail price.
So, the very reason why Painted Pony knives are so expensive is the novelty that comes into these knives. As you would know later on, Painted Pony Designs has a patented material that only they use because Prater was the one who developed such a material to be used as the handle for most of the Painted Pony knives that come out of his store. The result is an elevated knife with an elevated handle design that you will never see anywhere else.
In short, it is the added artistry that goes into the knives that make these knives so expensive. The people behind Painted Pony Designs all use custom-made designs that are intricate and elaborate that you would instantly know that the knife came from Michael Prater’s store. It’s like a work of art in the form of a well-designed knife handle that comes with Prater’s own signature touch.
Think of it in a way that is similar to a painting made by a world-renown painter. When you look at the materials that go into the painting such as the canvass and the paints used to create the work of art, they probably won’t amount to more than a hundred dollars. But what makes the painting sell for thousands of dollars is the work that goes into the painting and the artistry that is used to create such a painting. You are basically paying for the artists’ services instead of the paintings that they make when you buy a work of art painted by a well-known painter.
So, in the same way, you can think of Painted Pony knives as works of art that are similar to any other painting you see that can be sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. A $20 knife that gets shipped over to Painted Pony and can get sold for hundreds of dollars after Michael Prater worked on it is basically a work of art instead of merely just an ordinary knife.
The artistry that goes into the knife makes it a novelty that collectors can’t get enough of, as collectors are now paying for the artistic work that Prater did on the knives instead of merely for the knives themselves.
In a sense, it might be true that you can get a similar knife in terms of functions, sharpness, and steel quality when you buy the knife straight from the brand that sells the blade. There is no difference in its overall quality compared to a Michael Prater Painted Pony knife. However, the novelty is what allows the Painted Pony knife to command such a price that it has.
It would be difficult to explain such a concept to someone who doesn’t understand knife collecting and who is more on the practical side when it comes to what knives are supposed to do, but the intangibles that Painted Pony knives come with are what allows them to be expensive.
What’s so special about Painted Pony knives?
Going back to what we said about Painted Pony knives and how they are made, there is no arguing against the fact that Painted Pony knives are just similar to any other knives that the actual knife brand sells. For example, there shouldn’t be a difference between a standard Case knife and a Case Pointed Pony knife of the same make and model regarding the sharpness and the steel quality. But the difference, as we have mentioned, lies in the workmanship that goes into the added details.
The added details include the Michael Prater signature on the knives’ blade and on the custom-made handle itself. In fact, the handle is what makes everything else special, as everything starts from there.
Michael Prater and the people behind Painted Pony Designs actually developed an imitation pearl handle that they call Mica Pearl. The Mica is a combination of Michael’s name and that of his wife’s name, Carolyn. This Mica Pearl material has allowed Painted Pony knives to stand out and become special in their own right even though the blades of the knives just come from other knife manufacturers.
Using the Mica Pearl, the people behind Painted Pony Designs started experimenting with different stuff that could help elevate the handle. These materials include coal dust, crushed brick, and broken eggshells. When combined with the Mica Pearl material, they allow the knife handle to stand out and have an elevated appearance and design that you can never get from any other knife store.
So, even if you do get the same knife from Buck Knives at a lower price, you won’t be able to get the same kind of workmanship and artistry that the Mica Pearl handle comes with. In that sense, you are basing the overall value of the knife on the steel’s quality and on the work that goes into the handle and the materials used to create it. This is why Painted Pony knives are so in demand among collectors even though Michael Prater himself admitted that they have never gone out and promoted their products.
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Are Painted Pony knives any good?
Finally, now that you know more about Painted Pony knives, you might be wondering if these knives are any good. After all, that is the very point of this article as you are now looking to decide whether or not you actually want to buy a Painted Pony knife for yourself.
Basically, if you are someone who is looking for a knife for the utilitarian purpose of having a knife such as a tactical knife or an outdoor knife that you can use for a wide variety of reasons, then there is little to no reason for you to actually want to get a Painted Pony knife because you can buy the same knife from a brand such as Hen & Rooster or Case.
Regarding the overall quality that the knife will come in and how useful it will be, there will be no difference between that of a Hen & Rooster knife and a Prater-designed Hen & Rooster knife as long as the blades are of the same make and model.
However, for those buying knives, not for their utilitarian purpose but keeping them as collector items, then Painted Pony knives are as good as they can get. It might be true that they are factory-sold knives that come with the added flair and touch from Painted Pony Designs, but you won’t be able to get from a different store the same kind of artistry and materials that go into the handle of a Painted Pony knife.
That’s why you will often see Painted Pony knives retailing at a higher price compared to their standard counterparts. And, when you look them up on eBay, you might be surprised to see that some Painted Pony knives can get sold at a handful of hundreds of dollars.
In short, Painted Pony knives are just standard overpriced knives when you are looking from a practical standpoint. But, if you are a collector, these knives are indeed more than good enough to be added to your collection as long as you go for the limited edition designs that are as rare as they come.