Never give someone just a knife.

Sell it to them for a penny.
When & Where I grew up, it was urban legend to never give someone a knife. That would sever the friendship. So the deal was if you wanted to give them a knife, you sold it to them for a penny.

Out here is West Texas, two of my friends grew up in small towns and both are in their 70s.
The lore was that you always gave the knife to someone along with a penny.
They couldn’t really give the reason for the addition of the penny.

What about where you grew up.
Any knife gifting lore?

All the Best,

Oh, and for the ’mericans, Happy 4th!

Back in the 60’s my grandpa gave me a knife in exchange for a penny. He said it was bad luck to give someone a knife.

my guess is the texas version makes sure there is always a coin available, in case you wanted to give it to someone who had no coin in pocket, but still wanted to avoid the Bad Thing.

Yes I have always thought that

Interesting. I heard something similar from my grandmother, but not for gifting. She would never accept someone handing her a knife, saying it would sever the relationship.

In the kitchen, if she asked for a knife (paring, butter, any kind), she would insist I put it down first, and then she’d pick it up. I would tell her I thought it was silly, but she wouldn’t budge. She said maybe, maybe not, but no point risking it.

Although I didn’t believe in the superstition, it did create a warming effect to think about how she valued her relationships.

The gifting lore I heard was that you don’t give a wallet without some money in it.

Never lend money to a family member, or friend, just give it to them if they’re close enough and stave off any disappointment when they inevitably fail to pay you back.


+1 CG

I lend people knives, but I tell people to wipe their fingerprints off of it before returning it to me, because I ground the serial number off of it. Less knives returned to me covered with cake frosting on them, and less people asking me if I have a knife they can borrow.

A wise man once said “if you have to ask me to borrow a tool twice, you need to buy/own that tool for yourself.”


I have a Marine Corps Korean/Vietnam Vet for a neighbor.
He’s like an uncle to me - great guy - can work circles around me 24/7.

I handed a new knife to him - he wouldn’t touch it until he reached into his pocket for a coin.
Told me it was bad luck to accept a knife for free - had to buy it from me for a dime.
Then he took the knife and shook my hand.
I also gave this man a dollar sized copper coin with Marine Corps logo on it.
This was 6 years ago - he proudly carries both items on his person daily since then.

CG, +1 on BOTH of your statements

There's a handyman that used to work for my family.

He did a lot of stuff for us, so I gave him a nice flashlight, a couple of cells, a battery charger, and a nice Kershaw knife (like I use).

I never thought about asking him for a penny.

“In Scandinavia, the gift of a knife is considered a gift of life and an honor. Nothing is required in return. However, in Japan, one puts a coin on the blade of the knife to indicate it’s a present. With no coin it indicates that the recipient should take his or her own life.”

When offering a knife I usually ask for a USA copper Penny. If they dont have a any coins, I have been know to give them a coin with the knife, and then ask for the coin in return.

this led me to buying a few different USA silver coins… the Walking Liberty is one of my favorites

A coin story

This Loonie came to me in a three way exchange

Paul gifted David a Boker Barlow
David gifted it to me. (I sent him a walking liberty)
Paul saw the pic I posted and said, hey! I gave that knife to David
David said, geez I forgot where that one came from
I mailed Paul the knife
He sent me a Loonie

I cant figure out why the lettering is upside down :wink:

Never heard of this superstition. Is it an American thing?

The coin thing was brought up in the movie “The Edge” when Anthony Hopkins” character was advised to give a coin to Alec Baldwin’s character so the gifted knife wouldn’t “cut the friendship”. Didn’t seem to work though.

Must have missed that. Interesting it made it into a movie.

The Japanese thing with the coin could be useful.
I’m making a list now. Good thing you don’t have to include the coin for - Not For Gifting Use.
I’d go broke sending knife presents to politicians.

All the Best,

Don’t know. Perhaps some of our more worldly members will chime in as the time zones roll around.
All the Best,

From the KI article:
In Eastern Europe, when you receive a knife, you should give the person a coin. If you don’t, according to superstition, you will cut yourself with the knife. In Argentina and other parts of South America, if you give somebody a knife, you should receive a coin. In the U.K., elders say if you receive a knife as a gift, you must give a piece of silver straight away or you will cut the bond between the persons involved. Many people in the U.K. practice this today with a coin instead of silver. In Belgium, the receiver of a knife must give a coin in return or the friendship is considered severed.

Today, some knifemakers the world-over still include a coin with a knife. If you are going to give a knife as a gift to someone who you know is superstitious or who recognizes a particular cultural tradition, then consider having a coin close by when sharing your present.

All the Best,

My family in Australia has the same tradition - a person should never accept a knife as a gift, so when you give someone a knife you also give them a coin that they can use to ‘buy’ the knife from you.

I know it’s a tradition on the side of my family with Maltese heritage but I’m not sure whether they brought the tradition with them from Malta or picked it up in Australia.

according to this,5753,–15596,00.html

the giving of a piece of silver so as not to sever a friendship when gifted a knife, is part of British culture… I imagine they took the practice to Australia

where it morphed into giving the knives with a coin, that is given back to the gifter

it is likely, imo, that the coin and knife tradition was common to all the empires that used swords in conquest

and that Europeans brought the practice to USA

Jewish tradion also has the coin and blade exchange
according to this reference:

Jewish tradition also has rules about having separate knives (and other foodware) for meat and milk, and some are sold with different colored handles so you can tell them apart.

here is a thread about knives marked with notches, that I call “milk knives”

In addition there are rules in Jewish tradition, about how to purify knives (and other foodware) that may have been used without following the meat and milk rules.

Ive even seen reference to Jewish Grannies who when handed a knife for a kitchen task, will not accept it hand to hand. It must be placed on the table, before she picks it up.

I was gifted a Leatherman Wave from my father, about 20 years ago. Terrific tool & still have it, hardly any visible wear (and I do use it).

That led me into several interesting threads.
The one where someone interviewed old knife makers, where many of the “grinders” ended up with the equivalent of black-lung was telling.
And now I have another site where I can fall down the rabbit hole.
Thanks jon - (I think)
All the Best,