For those of you who collect razors, you’re probably thinking about what some of your prized pieces are worth. Although some collectors look down upon those who sell for profit, or those who buy at a premium, it’s still important to understand the market. As a collector/enthusiast, I keep a close eye on what drives the wet shaving community to love these hard to find pieces and what drives the prices up.
While this article is based on double-edge safety razors sold this year, it’s important to mention that straight razors are also highly collectable. They too have the ability to bring big bucks in auctions. Just recently a vintage Wade and Butcher sold for over $27,000, so if you feel straight razors are not worth collecting you are indeed mistaken. In addition there are even some cartridge razors that tend to break the bank when it comes to purchasing. If you have a $100,000 to spend check out the Zafirro Iridium, a kickstarter campaign for a cartridge razor.
It’s important to mention that just two years ago a Gillette set that had JFK’s initials was sold at auction for $35,000 and to my knowledge may be the highest a safety razor has ever sold for.
So without any delay, let’s go over the most valuable safety razors of 2018
*Disclaimer: This article is based on the theory by the writer who has years of experience collecting razors. The writer keeps up to date with secondary sales sites, forum sales and those sold on Facebook and Etsy via sales and raffle pages. This article is based on overall value rather than price. All prices are deemed in 2018 USD from public sales.
8. Gillette Double Ring 1903-1905
Deemed as the razor that started it all the Gillette Double Ring is Gillette’s first model and the first razor that accepted double-edge blades. Probably one of the most replicated designs of all time, if you shave with a double-edge razor, it’s a descendant of the Double Ring.
You may be wondering why this razor is not at the top of the list. There were literally thousands produced and the collecting trend has revolved around adjustable razors for the past few years.The Double Ring still holds strong with a steady increase each year.
Uncased serial numbered Double Ring’s could be had for a bargain and cased non-serial numbered models bring a premium. Expect to pay around $200-$300 for uncased models and if it includes the case the value can increase as much as 50%. If you happen to find one in a tin then you have a true unicorn. Value for one of those has yet to be determined.
7. Gillette Red Dot Fatboy 1958,1960
A rare piece indeed, the “Red Dot” Fatboy was a product of Gillette’s testing process for adjustable razors Only believed to be released in 1958 and recently discovered to be released in 1960, the Red Dot has the exterior build of a regular 195 Fat Boy razor (slightly larger) and the interior of the famous Toggle.
If you happen to find an 1960 (F4) Red Dot you may have one of only a few known to exist. This model was recently discovered and only one is known to exist as of this writing.
An important fact is that a Red Dot case is slightly different than those of the regular fat boy. The case is slightly larger is very hard to find. Another important fact is that many people mistake a Red dot for a regular Fatboy. Some Fatboys have a red adjustment spring on the the dial which some mistake to be a dot. Out of all the razors on this list make sure you do your homework before taking the plunge.
Red Dots have been steadily increasing in value so we predict this razor will move up on the list in the next few years. Expect to pay around $500 for an uncased model and add up to as much as 75% for a cased model.
6. Tradere Razors 2012
2018 Value: $500-$950
Tradere was created out of the love for wet shaving. Back in 2012 Richard Mason had an idea and ran with it. Thus, the Tradere Razor Company was born.
The Tradere was one of the first modern day collectables in the world of Traditional Wet Shaving. Composed of mostly recycled (60-80%) solid stainless steel all Tradere’s were laser engraved with a unique serial number and made in the USA. At a retail price of $179, it was actually really expensive way back in 2012. In a market dominated by vintage apparel the Tradere was one of the first high end razors of modern times.
There were three versions of the Tradere. The Generation 1 OC (open comb) , Generation 2 OC and the SB (Solid Guard Bar). The 1st Gen OC had a slightly longer handle, and was a tad more aggressive than the 2nd Generation which was created in response to the aggression level. The SB which sports the solid guard bar is gentle and the mildest of the three. There were talks of a slant but unfortunately this never happened.
One notable characteristic was the design of the handle. The handles of Tradere razors became extremely popular and have been replicated by several companies since. The head designs were all original, and were very unique. Another important characteristic to mention is the unique storage case that came with each and every Tradere. It reminds me of a small pistol case and is very desirable with collectors.
After several issues with the manufacturers, Tradere stopped production and the rest is history. There were 207 Gen 1 OC (confirmed), 900 Gen 2 OC (estimate). and 850 SB (estimate) razors made in less than two years the company was in business.
Value of any Tradere is about $550-$950 with the storage case. Without the case minus around 15-20%.
5. Gillette Toggle 1955-1960
2018 Value: $250-$1000+
The Gillette Toggle, a lasting collectable that for years have held its own in terms of value. This razor was only produced for the masses for two years (1958 & 1960) and was produced in limited numbers even though it’s the most abundant razor on our list with over 70,000 units made.
For years, the Toggle has been the base for all collections. I can remember that when I started my wet shaving journey almost 10 years ago that most collectors put the Toggle on the podium for the grail of a collection.
There are several models of the toggle, which makes this razor a bit of a roller coaster when determining value. The base toggle carries a D1 (1st quarter of 1958) and F4 (4th quarter of 1960) and were a staggering $10 retail. They both had the famous blue plastic case that contained a removable insert for travel. All of these razors are gold plated and were available to the masses. Expect to pay around $225 for an uncased model and up to $500 for a cased model depending on condition.
Other models of the Toggle included the rare serial numbered prototypes in both gold and even rarer chrome. These razors were mostly used in test markets although some were sold. The “A3”toggle included a pig skin case and was sold in 1956 in the first test for the Gillette Adjustable. Expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1000+ for a serial numbered or A 3 toggle.
Recently we have seen a slight decline in value among the rarer Toggle models. If you’re looking to get one, now is the time. The serial numbered models alone have dropped significantly since 2016.
Check out this article for more on the Gillette Toggle
4. Wolfman Razors 2014-Present
With extremely limited availability and lots of positive reviews the Wolfman Razor company has proved its worthiness amongst razor collectors and users alike. A one man operation out of Canada, Wolfman is the only razor on our list that is currently in production.
The Wolfman Razor company came to exist in 2014 after a successful collaboration between James, a machinist out of Canada and John the owner of the Los Angeles Shave Soap Company. The razor was the LASSC BBS-1. The success of this project motivated James to make his own razors and sell them direct from his site. Thus, Wolfman was born.
Using high tech CNC machining Wolfman let’s you choose the type of metal, blade gap, guard and finish when you go to check out. In short, you get exactly what you want. The downfall is the list is rarely open and when it is the razors are usually sold out in a matter of minutes. With around 2000 razors produced Wolfman has become a little easier to find in the secondary market.
At $325 new for a stainless steel model (which at the time of this writing is the only metal available) this razor is far from cheap. Expect to pay about $450-$800 for one on the average through secondary sales sites.
As for other metals (Titanium, Bronze Copper and Aluminum) fthe prices vary especially since Wolfman has not produced most of them in 2018.
Expect to pay around $500-$800 for most metals excluding titanium which you’ll probably pay roughly $1200-$1800.
3. Gillette Bottom Dial 195 Fatboy 1960
2018 Value: $1.5k-$2500K
The Gillette Bottom Dial has been a collector’s unicorn for years. It’s unique design with the adjustment dial on the bottom of the handle rather than the neck of the razor was not popular amongst the select few who were able to try one. Their feedback was why the Bottom Dial never made the mainstream.
There were 6 versions of the Bottom Dial, all of which had the signature dial on the bottom part of the handle. It was during this time Gillette was experimenting with different adjustable designs and using different test markets to see which one proved to be the best.
There are many moving parts associated with the bottom dial and like the Toggle, it’s very important to ask a lot questions when making a purchase. This razor is the hardest to find parts for and only a few people are qualified to repair them. Avoid getting them replated as this may diminish its value.
This razor may not have been the best design, it does bring some big bucks at auction. Expect to pay around $1500 -over $2k at auction. ( although we did see one sell for as little as $750). There was one sale for $4k recently on ebay, but the razor was returned for a refund.
2.LASSC BBS-1 SS &TI 2014-2017
2018 Value: $1k-$3k+
The famous BBS-1. This razor is what put Wolfman on the map. A razor that needs no introduction. Since the announcement that production of the BBS-1 stopped in January of 2018 the value has skyrocketed.
There were a total of 441 BBS-1 razors produced from 2014 -2017 making it the least produced razor on our list. 20 of them being composed of titanium (unnumbered) and the rest being composed of stainless steel (serial numbered). It was common to be on the official waiting list for over a year which made this razor almost impossible to obtain. With it’s rave reviews from the lucky people who have been able to use one it’s safe to say that this razor will hold its value for some time.
At $299 for the stainless steel version and $499 for the titanium these razors were not cheap. The high price tags and limited stock drove many collectors to other items.
Plan on shelling out a minimum of $1k for a stainless steel model (one just sold privately for $1650 in August of 2018) and $3K+ for a TI model. It was rumored that a TI BBS-1 sold privately for $10K during the summer of 2018 but this sale is unconfirmed.
Check out this article for more information on the BBS-1
1. Asprey, Ltd. 18K Gold Shaving Kit 1956
This set was recently auctioned and proved its a contender for the top spot of our list. Asprey is a designer company out of England and has been in business since 1781.
Plated in 18k gold this razor looks to be a rebranded Gillette that Asprey put their own final touches on. This was popular practice in the 20th century as Gillette made razors for many esteemed designers.
Although it’s unsure if any more of razors exist it’s safe to say that this set was probably reserved for royalty and the rich and famous.
Recently sold at auction, this razor makes the top of list for 2018 although it is a complete set at $11,000. If you happen to have this set, then put it in a safe place!
Collecting razors is certainly not limited to the razors on this list. Much like other hobbies, there are a multitude of products that are deemed collectable and are available in any price bucket. It’s all about the experience of collecting and having fun
About the Author:
Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News/Talk Podcast , runs his own self-funded website http://shavestraightandsafe.com/ and operates a YouTube channel to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Linda, reading, writing, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Find out more about Joe here.