He couldn’t seem to get enough of them over the decades and now the Fremont resident is hoping to set a world record for having the largest collection of knives ever amassed by any one person.
His passion for knives began when he was a 5-year-old in Cuquío, a town in central-western Mexico, suffering from a glandular infection called adenoiditis. The condition had to be treated with repeated injections of antibiotics from a large syringe, which he naturally feared.
“My uncle told me, ‘Look, you’re going to be a little man, and if you don’t cry, I’m going to give you this knife,” Mercado said. “This is going to be your reward.”
His uncle kept his word and gave Mercado a small metal knife whose handle sported the design of a bird of prey’s beak at the back.
Since that day, the now 54-year-old Mercado has collected roughly 2,200 knives.
Last Friday, with help from family and friends, Mercado laid out all the knives he was entering for world record consideration into nine rows, spread across the multi-colored cushioned flooring of the karate gym he owns in Fremont. Most of the knives were displayed on top of their original box, along with their sheaths or holster clips.
“I feel great,” Mercado said about his chances of breaking the record. “I feel very confident.”
Eugene Solomonik, one of the two experts verifying the knife collection, owns and operates a knife company based in Mountain View. He said Mercado’s collection is impressive because the knives come from about 30 countries.
Friday’s display showed off a broad range of styles and sizes, with all manner of fixed- and folding-blade knives, as well as a few that spring a blade straight out of the front. There were heavy, matte black tactical knives meant to serve like a machete for cutting through brush and vegetation; lightweight knives with ornate design that can be wielded with the flick of a finger and a curl of the wrist; and rustproof knives for underwater use.
Some metallic blades were twisted into tight spirals, with ventilated shafts that resemble futuristic daggers one might see in an old episode of Power Rangers.
And some of Mercado’s knives look like miniaturized meat cleavers, many with key chains attached to the end.
Solomonik said he has seen private collectors with sizable stockpiles of knives, but this is the largest collection he’s ever viewed.
According to eastbaytimes.com