Sunday, 9 October 2011

Article - As interest in razors grows, so does value (Sheffield)

Q: I cannot find any information about my set of seven straight razors, each labeled with the day of the week. Each razor is marked "Wade and Butcher, Sheffield, England" and "Extra Hollow Ground, Improved Tang." The razors are in good condition, but the original box is missing part of the top.
C.R., Tampa

A: Wade and Butcher, the trade name for W & S Butcher Co. of Sheffield, England, is a well-known maker of straight razors. The firm was founded by brothers William and Samuel Butcher around 1820. They later brought aboard Robert Wade, the New York-based importer of Butcher cutlery. The Butcher firm was bought by an American company in 1921. The Sheffield factory was closed in 1959.

Folding straight razors were first marketed by Sheffield cutlers in the late 17th century. Benjamin Huntsmen of Sheffield is given credit for perfecting hollow-ground straight razors with decorated handles around 1750. The straight razor was popular until the early 1950s, when the safety razor became the standard.

Collector interest in straight razors has been limited, with most of the attention focused on occupational shaving mugs, early barber chairs and advertising. But interest seems to have grown in the past 10 years, especially with the advent of the Internet. Occupational shaving mugs, however, still grab the big money.

Your razors were made after 1891, since the tangs and the box are marked "Sheffield, England" rather than only "Sheffield." This set of seven razors is unusual, especially with the original case. It would retail for at least $300.


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