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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 7:03 am    Post subject: Stolen Iron Age sword recovered and returned to museum         Reply with quote

This story was pointed out to me and I thought I'd post it here. Nice to see a happy ending!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/6968115.stm

Jonathan
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting that it was collectors who actually managed to help get it back where it belonged!
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 8:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's outstanding. I'm imagining the recovery taking place during a fight on a burning boat at sea with a collector yelling, "It belongs in a museum!" as he defeats his adversaries with a whip. Laughing Out Loud
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Shane Allee
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The news report might be a little bit off or atleast lacking a few details because two of our own had their hands involved with finding this sword again. Nate Bell was the one who made the connection between the two swords after Peter J had sent some pictures and info about it to him. They then contacted both museums, the german blade museum and original home of the sword, to let them know it might be the stolen sword. I don't even remember how long now this has been going on, but it has taken some time. It is good that it is finally back where it belongs now.

Shane
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane Allee wrote:
The news report might be a little bit off or atleast lacking a few details because two of our own had their hands involved with finding this sword again. Nate Bell was the one who made the connection between the two swords after Peter J had sent some pictures and info about it to him. They then contacted both museums, the german blade museum and original home of the sword, to let them know it might be the stolen sword. I don't even remember how long now this has been going on, but it has taken some time. It is good that it is finally back where it belongs now.

Shane


Wow! It's good to know that some of our folks were involved. Thanks for sharing that, Shane. Nice work, Peter and Nate. Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have mixed emotions on this. Theft is no good, but too many swords have been snatched up by museums, just to sit in a climate controlled drawer for time and all eternity, only accesible to a tiny few.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I have mixed emotions on this. Theft is no good, but too many swords have been snatched up by museums, just to sit in a climate controlled drawer for time and all eternity, only accesible to a tiny few.


While I can see your point, I think being in a museum makes a piece more likely to be published and viewable (therefore more accessible) than if it was in a private collection. It's best for museum pieces to be on display rather than in a storeroom, of course, but hopefully they're as well-cared for as the ones on display. With private collections, you have to be able to find the collector first, then you have to see if they're willing to let you view their private collection.

If this sword had vanished (again) into the private sector, it might have been years or decades before it re-emerged.

Some important swords, like the disputed swords of Edward III and the Black Prince are in the private sector and only a handful of people even know where in the private sector they are. That's a shame, in my opinion.

But I digress... Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad that's an excellent point, but one that might be driven by museum monopolies over artifacts.

I have heard stories from folks who were collecting many years ago who will often note that the cost of buying an original sword cost a fraction of what it does today (allowing for inflation of course) because there were so many in private circulation. Now the price for a piece in very poor condition is a king's ransom.

I might be mistaken, but I believe that Hank Reinhart, Ewart Oakeshott, or both have commented on this phenominon. If I am mischaracterizing thier comments them forgive me.

On the other hand, as you mentioned, private collectors can be worse than Museums in the case of an important piece; I wish primarily that the myriad of less notable artifacts were within my reach, if even just to study. Short of getting a degree in archaeology, we're stuck viewing through glass at best.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2007 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane Allee wrote:
The news report might be a little bit off or atleast lacking a few details because two of our own had their hands involved with finding this sword again. Nate Bell was the one who made the connection between the two swords after Peter J had sent some pictures and info about it to him. They then contacted both museums, the german blade museum and original home of the sword, to let them know it might be the stolen sword. I don't even remember how long now this has been going on, but it has taken some time. It is good that it is finally back where it belongs now.

Shane
Excellent work! My hat off to Nate and Peter for helping saving such an important piece! Big Grin
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2007 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin,
Those are valid points. In fairness, I've met a private collector with an impressive collection and he's been extremely generous with letting people view and even handle the items. I met him through this forum and without that, I'd never have known that a sword from the Castillon find was 90 minutes away and that I could handle it.

His collection probably won't be published in print, though, even though it has a number of beautiful and interesting items. We're trying to get together an article on it for this site, though. If the article happens (and it looks like it will), items will be viewable by the masses that otherwise might not have been.

I think that the supply has dictated the price increases. Both museums and private collectors have snapped up fine pieces as important European family and municipal collections have been broken up and sold. Peter Finer is a noted dealer of antique arms and armour and he's noted that the supply of high-quality pieces for his catalogue has diminished, making it ever-harder to assemble it. I think much of what he sells ends up in private collections, though I know of one example that was bought by a private collector and then given to the Met.

I think the supply is drying up and demand is ever on the rise. Hence the pricing. I don't think, though, that we can lay blame for that solely at the feet of museums.

Happy

ChadA

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2007 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad,
I agree. I think that the quality pieces are mostly sitting in private collections, so if anything collectors themselves are to “blame” for the shrinking market. This is happening in many sectors within the antique arms and armour market. Collectors—especially of the high end stuff within any given specialty be it Medieval, Renaissance, Napoleonic, or Victorian—are on a whole able to afford to keep their swords (or polearms, or armour or whatever) in their collections. The globalization of the field/hobby might also contribute to the shrinking market. Long established dealers of fine antique arms and armour are falling by the wayside, for example Peter Dale Ltd.

I am excited to see that article on the private collector’s collection. That will be a real treat!

Jonathan

(Sorry to get so off-topic.)
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