Why this Swiss army knife has an asking price of 19,000 francs

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 19 Sep, 2018 Updated Wed 19 Sep 2018 11:15 CEST
Why this Swiss army knife has an asking price of 19,000 francs

If you are in the market for a unique Swiss souvenir, this could be just the thing.


While Swiss Army knives are a dime a dozen, a special edition version being sold on Switzerland’s auction website Ricardo offers something different.

The tool, which has a starting bid price of 12,900 Swiss francs ($13,300), but which can be snapped up right now for 18,900 francs, is one of just 300 that were hand made by the CEO of Victorinox, Carl Elsener.

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Only selected employees were given one of the knives.

“Since this knife is not commercially available, it is probably your only opportunity to buy one,” wrote the anonymous seller on Ricardo.

The knife, which is numbered and bears the signature of Elsener on the blade, is part of a special series made in 2017 to mark the sale of 500 million Swiss army knives by the iconic Swiss firm.

The knife has been sitting in a drawer since it was made.

A total of 3,400 were made in total and given to employees, with 300 being hand-produced by Elsener himself and passed on to top management, a Victorinox spokesperson confirmed to Swiss news portal 20 Minuten.

The seller told the site the knife belongs to his mother who has been working with Victorinox for 30 years.

“It has just been sitting in a draw. I suggested we sell it as she never uses it,” the seller said, adding he was sure a collector would want the knife.

Kurt Liechti, who already has over 250 army knives at home, confirmed this was the case. “I am sure that the knife can be sold at that price,” said the collector.

The Swiss army knife was developed by Karl Elsener in the late 19th century after the Swiss military decided soldiers needed a practical, versatile and portable tool.

The story goes that name 'Swiss army knife' came about because US soldiers stationed in Europe during the Second World War struggled with their German name of 'Schweizer Offiziersmesser' (Swiss officers' knife).

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