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Why are straight razor prices over inflated?

Back when a straight razor was just called a razor, you either had one or you had a beard... they were made by the masters in Sheffield, Eskilstuna, Solingen etc...but also by smiths you've never heard of in villages you'll never go to, and quality would have varied as well.

We preserve and cherish and restore the nicer things and tend to let the mundane go...

We have cheap new straights now, you can buy a Gold Dollar for ten bucks and other reasonable Chinese ones for 30...but in a century very few people will be interested in collecting and restoring them, the razors of today they will want are the Dovo and Theirs Issard and the ones from custom makers.
I have a datapoint saying 100 years ago straight razors of various brands ranged from about $20 - $50 in today's dollars.
Why are razors selling for multiple hundreds of dollars today?

Note though there are razors available now for about the same price as 100 years ago -- My two modern razors cost $35 and $17.

The answer to your question is: Because people keep buying them.
You can buy a new straight razor by Wacker, Ralf Aust and others for $200. You can get a new Le Grelot for $150. And a decent double edge razor that uses blades will cost you the same. And that is less than a week's pay (today).

Your data point of $20 to $50 a hundred years ago is not accurate. In 1920, $62 was about a week's pay. If we use your datapoint, then straight razors have gone down in price - not up.
Here in Australia, the second hand market seems to be exorbitantly priced. Especially on Fleabay where you get rusty old clangers with chips etc going for well over a $100. Anything remotely good and/or with a well known brand name has a price tag well into $200 or $300.

I regularly look at French Ebay and razors there are a hell of a lot cheaper.

It's the same with sail boats. Stuff in America or Europe is pretty much half the price of what we pay here for stuff. It's tough living in the arse end of the world.

Crossing over the line from DE over to my friends here at SR, DE users experience the same thing.
I'll use the 195 (Fat Boy) as the example.
Original cost of the razor in the 60's $1.95
Cost today would be roughly $30
People are paying upwards of $200+
today. Crazy!
Part of the reason why is that the DE manufacturers are no longer counting on blade sales for most of their profit as Gillette did back in the 50's and 60's. Second, to @Darth Scandalous ' point, back then the DE was a standard commodity item available everywhere compared to now where it's now somewhat of a hobbyist niche item.

In reality today you can buy a standard Weishi for $10-15 that is likely as good a basic DE from the mid-20th century and represents a price of under $2 back then when adjusted for inflation. This is thanks to international markets where the DE is still a standard commodity item that is widely available combined with eCommerce that lets us access those product easily.

Since DE is now a hobby for many including shavers who value the tools as collectables we now have premium artisan manufacturers hand crafting high end brushes and razors for hundreds of dollars to cater to that segment. For those of us who just want quality tools that do the job well there are plenty of under $15 razors and brushes that provide an excellent shave. We see this in the area of shaving soaps with the standard $1 or less soap pucks and sticks are disappearing from the market leaving behind just the higher end hobbyist products. Fortunately for blades we can access those made for the international market via eCommerce.
or you just went to the barber for a shave.
Yeah...if you had even more money...

Point is, even a lowly stable boy or junior clerk would have had a straight razor.

It probably wasn't especially good, and they very likely never got the kind of shave that we see now as barely acceptable...but it did the job.
You can buy a new straight razor by Wacker, Ralf Aust and others for $200. You can get a new Le Grelot for $150. And a decent double edge razor that uses blades will cost you the same. And that is less than a week's pay (today).

Your data point of $20 to $50 a hundred years ago is not accurate. In 1920, $62 was about a week's pay. If we use your datapoint, then straight razors have gone down in price - not up.
i quoted in current dollars.. at the time they were like a dollar for some


C.C. & D.U.
Staff member
The same reason automobiles are so inflated today.
In 1932 you could buy a ford deuce for $485 dollars, that's $10,500 today.
Find a car for $10,000 today? Don't think so.
That's taking into account all the bells and whistles today offset by improvements in mass production efficiency and less expensive parts manufactured from around the globe.
Manufacturers will charge what people will pay, and if they can't make a profit, they won't make it.
Conversely, in 1947, a 12 inch black and white TV cost $445 or almost $6000 in today's money.
Right now you can buy a Sony 83" OLED 4K UHD Smart TV for less than $5000.
Talking about the cost of razors. i’m not convinced it’s because its a nitch market. more likely people are paying for immaterial aspects. i’m a nuts and bolts type. they are just razors.

Some are not "just razors" some are real works of art. Some are rare beautiful vintage pieces that have defied age and have become artifacts with great value. See the pics....

I’m just wishing I’d win at least one
CV HelJestrand.
The other Swedish brands, EA Berg, JA Helberg, Tornblom, Bjorkson and Ericsson and SSA etc are all fine razors. They just don't have the same reputation as the Heljestrands so can often be picked up at a more reasonable price.
They’re good. The smaller ones seem to be a lot easier to find than the big ones.
Fortunately, I'm constantly outbid for them now, even the little 3/8 are going for silly money. I've noticed even other Swedish brands have shot up in price recently. Looks like I'll have to settle for the few I have unless something extraordinary comes up and I have a few euro that I really don't need.
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Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
Best bang for the buck would be a good vintage razor. You can get something that will work for as little as a ten spot. You can get something really nice for under $60. Some vintage razors have powerful cult followings and are worth the price to their fans but while excellent razors, aren't worth that to you. Filarmonica, Dubl Duck, Dorko, Wade and Butcher, anything Swedish come to mind. Prewar Solingen, and US mass produced, are generally good values. If I had to name a brand, for low cost but high usability, it would be Genco or Geneva Cutlery, same company just changed name. Next would be the Union Spike, and these go crazy cheap but the point can gouge a chunk out of you if it is not muted and you are not careful. Old Bokers, Henckels, and the like are good German razors.
The thing is, if you limit yourself even to a dozen brands, you are only picking from a very small percentage of razors available. Look for any known brand that is reasonably well regarded, in decent condition, not honed to a toothpick and not cracked or deeply pitted. For a brand new razor, proceed with caution if the price is under about $80 because there are very few modern cheapies I would recommend to a newbie. Those few are basically the cream of the crop from China, the Gold Dollars, Gold Monkey, etc and they are not without issues. My rec for a Chinese razor would be the Gold Dollar 1996 model. Most in that price category are unusable junk that can't be honed or won't stay sharp. Anything from Pakistan, unless someone you can trust says different, should be avoided. So it is not, for your first razor, a question of what to get, but more a question of what NOT to get.
A razor must be sharp before you can shave with it. It is not like a knife. Don't think for a second that you can "sharpen" it like your pocketknife on your trusty carborumdum stone and make it shave. Shave arm hair? LOL that is how you test a pocketknife, not a razor, which needs to be way sharper than that. Believe me, you need to first experience a truly shave ready edge and shave with it successfully before you even understand what a shave ready edge is, how it feels and looks, how you know you got one. So for now you basically have two choices. Buy shave ready, or buy and have someone hone it for you. Either way, you need to have someone known and reliable do the honing. Fleabay is full of shave ready razors sold by people who don't even shave with a straight razor. How could they know? They can't. And don't. Shave Ready has become a buzz word on ebay that is included to help sell razors. The sellers on ebay who can be trusted to deliver true shave ready razors is verrrrry short. Always verify a seller on this or another straight shaving forum before you pull the trigger.
If you always get an opinion from one of the major straight razor forums, you will have a reasonable assurance of edge quality. Likewise, an edge honed by a member who has his reputation to think about. Typical cost for having a razor honed vary between around $15 to about $25 if the razor is of decent grind and condition. Some guys will do it free just because they like to hone, just pay the postage both ways. You can learn to do it yourself, but wait until you have a couple dozen shaves under your belt with at least two razors. When you think you are ready, do your homework before you start spending money on all sorts of rocks and stuff.
You need a usable strop. Not a "good" one, not yet, because you will damage it while learning, but a usable one. Whippeddog.com Larry's Poor Man strop is okay for learning. The 2/1/2" wide (not the 2" wide) strop sold on fleabay by "thexbay" is okay and sells for under $10. Upgrade later. No, don't use your belt. It is for holding your pants up. Don't get a naugahyde special from China, either. Phone book, newspaper, those are emergency strops, not learner strops. Get something made for the job. Youtube is your friend. Watch stropping vids. Do your forum research. Read read read. Practice the motion with a butter knife or a purposely dulled Gold Dollar. Don't start shaving without a shave ready razor and a strop. And a brush and soap or cream.
Real shave cream does not come out of a can. Canned goo comes out of a can. The goo does a poor job of lubricating and cushioning the skin. Don't even try. In fact, I suggest you get a good shave soap and a good brush and learn to make a good lather before you ever buy a straight razor. Good face prep and lather will do a lot to make your cartridge or throwaway shave better. Practice before your date with destiny. Be ready in every respect before putting sharp naked steel to face. Cheapest soap you can get that is easy to use and gives great lather is Arko, at about a buck a stick in quantity online. Cheapest cream that does a really great job is Godrej Rich Lather, in the red tube. Get it from your local Indian shop. C.O. Bigelow is just Proraso rebranded for the US market, and is good, in either the soap or the cream version, in any of the 3 or 4 formulas you are likely to encounter. Don't bother looking at Walgreens or Rite Aid or Walmart. You might find something usable at Target. There are synthetic, boar, badger, and horse brushes. Badger has the edge. Black badger is about as prickly as boar but holds more water, which is good. Higher grades of badger are silky smooth on the skin and Whipped Dog sells decent Silvertip grade badgers pretty darn cheap. Chinese brushes are usually a bit cheaper but only Virginia Sheng or VS is worth bothering with currently. There was a brand called Frank Shaving that was a good buy but quality went down and price went up and they are now off the radar. Noname Chinese brushes 9 out of 10 times will be very poor quality. Boar is very prickly but softens after about a 30 day breakin period. They don't hold as much water or product as a badger but they are very cheap. Horse is usually a bit on the floppy side. Synthetic IMHO is getting better but not there just yet.
That looks an awful lot like one of my old posts. So, yeah I agree. :\

Razor prices are what they are today because they can no longer be made for $2 each. There is a lot of skilled hand labor involved in making a "good" razor. This is a completely different animule from say a Gold Dollar or similar, which is made by largely unskilled factory workers who do not even know how to shave with a straight razor, much less how to grind one.

Every razor made eventually gets sold. So for every razor, there is a price at which both a buyer and the seller agree is fair. Supply and demand. If buyers were unwilling to go over say $29.95 for a razor but nobody could make that razor profitably at under $100, then nobody would bother making the razor, at least at that quality level. You can shave just fine with a Gold Dollar and only spend a few bucks for it. You can shave pretty much the same shave but with a razor that feels and looks nicer, if you spring for a $160 Dovo Bismarck. You can have a nice custom for somewhere north of $600 for real pride of ownership and attention to the finest detail. You can find a perfectly adequate American vintage razor for $20 or even less. There are plenty of very nice NOS Japanese razors available for around $80. You have choices. Like Yogi Berra said, "When you get to a fork in the road, take it". Of course you could complain to TI, Boker, et al, and they will tell you the same thing the Rolex guy said when someone complained about prices. "We sell every watch that we make."

Keep in mind the number of hours required to make a nice razor, and the fact that you pay peanuts and get monkeys, or you pay $45/hour for reasonably skilled artisans. Most one man shops end up making at most, $15 to $20/hr for labor after paying expenses. If they worked for free, they would still have to pay for materials, tools, consumables, rent or mortgage, insurance, utilities, taxes, etc. The money has to come from somewhere, and the only place you can expect it to come from is the buyer.

Feel free to make your own razor. A lot of us have at least dabbled at it. You should be able to make a nice razor, if you have the tools and equipment and a workshop already, for well under $50, but I bet you wouldn't try to make them for a living and sell them at that price for very long. And don't forget, your first handful of razors will probably come out pretty sucky compared to factory made ones. Even with books, instructables, reddit, and youtube, it is a learning process, not a paint by numbers system.


Stumpy in cold weather
Staff member
Straight razors need a fair bit of highly skilled labour to produce ... and the cost of that has gone up dramatically in the past 100 years or so.
(1) Demand is limited in terms of volume (2) Demand for specialized and customized items (e.g. various kinds of exotic scales) much higher than in times past (3) Demand is relatively inelastic, i.e. relatively price-insensitive. All of this limits the opportunity and incentive for mass-production and manufacturers rely on scarce skilled labor, which implies higher production costs.
You can get enough antique straights to this day sub-$25 to fill a small lake on the internet in any given year.. If you want dirt cheap modern, buy gold dollars and fix the problems, if you want modern razors made in Europe you are paying for EU labor and general overhead, if you are talking about custom razors you may in your mind be paying for the razor but what you really are paying for is the time of the craftsman to make something bespoke when they have a finite amount of pieces they are capable of producing to their standards every year. If you pick your spots, you can even get things like modern dovos or customs cheaply if people try a straight and decide to not stick with it or take the hit selling a custom that may have a narrower base of appeal.
It's supply and demand. Also because it is a niche now (whereas it was just a common thing 100 years ago), this also drives prices up.
Today, the cheapest car goes for about $15,000. The Rolls Boat Tail goes for about $25 million.

Are car prices inflated? I guess it depends upon which car you buy.
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