Guinness World Records has officially registered Bernardo Mercado of Fremont, California as the World Record Holder for the Largest Collection of Knives. The attempt arose after Mercado noticed there was no record on file for knife collections, and he decided to make a go at it himself. His huge collection passed through a rigorous, months-long process to nab the inaugural honor.
Mercado learned that establishing a brand new official world record is not easy. He says the first step was for Guinness to set a baseline for comparison and they decided to benchmark knife store inventories. “They checked with custom knife stores to see how many individual knives they stock, which turned out to average 2,100 unique knives, so that is where they set the target record at,” Mercado tells us.
With this baseline in place, the real work of presenting the collection for inspection began. Mercado, a martial arts instructor, used his dojo for the proving ground. “About a dozen of my family and friends spent three days setting up and organizing the display,” he says. Guinness approved two experts to take the official tally. “The entire collection and counting had to be photographed, with video taken of the counting process.” Verification continued long after the initial count, spanning about four months in total.
Guinness arrived at a final total of 2,175 knives, an astonishing number that amounts to an average of about one new knife purchase every 8.4 days over the 50 years Mercado has been accumulating them. The collection covers 6 continents, 29 countries, and over 400 brands and makers in total. It includes sought-after customs like a Kiku Matsuda Subaru and rare production pieces like the Microtech Jagdkommando. More common knives are not excluded either, with strong showings from brands like Buck, Benchmade, and Zero Tolerance. No matter the rarity, most of Mercado’s knives are true safe queens. “I have used and carried only a few,” Mercado reports. “The rest are in mint unused and un-carried condition.”
Mercado was initiated into knife collecting at age 5, when he was still living in Mexico and suffering from chronic adenoiditis. Treatment involved painful injections, and his uncle rewarded him with a knife for keeping a stiff upper lip through the procedure. That knife is now one knife among many in his collection.
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Mercado suspects there are even larger knife collections out there and doesn’t know how long his reign will last. “I am certain other knife collectors have more than me,” he says. “They just had not thought of setting a world record.”