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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 551

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: Evolution of collections and collectors         Reply with quote

This subject has been touched on in other threads but not directly discussed recently to my memory. I think it is interesting to look back over my years of collecting and see how my hobby has changed, grown in some ways, narrowed in others, and become more and more historically based as I learn and have a better idea of the context in which swords were actually used. At the same time, personal tastes and ideas, and also discussions with others who share this interest, have had unmeasurable influence on my collecting as well.
I have come to a point in my life when I can no longer just spontaneously throw down cash like I I used to on my hobby. On the other hand I have a small side business which provides funding for approx. 1 major purchase a year, give or take, and my collection has gradually gained in size/value to the point where I can justify unloading a piece to finance another if the new one is something I can't live without. My tastes have become decidedly more expensive as well and experience with different makers and vendors has narrowed my field for new purchases quite a bit, although the current market is very exciting if one has the money to spend. Truly these are good days for affluent collectors.
I haven't comissioned any fully custom work yet for a number of reasons, mainly cost and the fact that I am barely patient enough to deal in the production market, which is not a shot at the current state of the market, merely an honest statement-patience has never come naturally to me, I have learned to apply it to some areas of my life, sword buying is sadly not one of them. I generally like to buy stuff I can put my hands on immediately, I'm just like that about this hobby.
I have a humble workshop/smithy and some years of experience as a hobbyist cutler/smith so I have customized and re-fitted some of my swords, and some have been built as composites, with parts from various makers or made/modified by myself.
My current collection is not large, it almost never exceeds 10 swords at any time, and is almost entirely historically based, which has been my trend over the last few years. When I first became interested in swords I was adolescent and my interest was based mostly in fantasy-type stuff. The internet made it possible to access loads of information and actually communicate with others of similar interests later in my collecting and that led me towards more historically-based study, which I think is natural for most of us who had this interest as children and have matured with it.
Interestingly I note that there is not a single Viking type in my collection. 5 years ago I would have thought this very odd, and probably bought one immediately just to fill the gap. I no longer have the urge to have a representation of every major type, I long ago realized that unless I return to collecting lower-end swords I will never be able to afford that. I would rather have 5 very nice swords that 20 mediocre ones, although 20 very nice ones would be, well, very nice...
I though it might be fun if some folks would share pics of the more unique pieces in their collections, if they are not already in the galleries or reviews.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My collecting evolution has become very public in the last few years. Happy Much of what I own and used to own in the last few years is in my Collection Gallery. Some items I've bought that haven't (or hadn't yet) made it into the gallery are shown in this thread. I even started a thread to show some items that pre-date my myArmoury collection gallery, though no one cared to comment on any of the items (I got over it Happy ).

Various aspects of collecting have been discussed, at least in passing, before:

It's a fascinating subject as there are so many different approaches. I feel a lot of kinship with Justin's approach and evolution. It sounds similar to mine. My first goal was to have one example of what I considered to be the main categories: single hander, hand and a half, two-hander, complex hilt, and basket hilt. I hoped that those items would show the main categories of grip treatment: wood, leather-wrapped, wire-wrapped. That was my idea of diversity. Happy

I then expanded to wanting to have more blade shapes represented: pure cutter, mix of cut and thrust, pure thruster, etc. I also wanted to have the Viking era through the 18th century covered as well as possible.

At one point I had 9 swords and more daggers than I currently do. I owned a Viking sword (Del Tin 2104). I had a rapier, a side sword, and two 2-handers at one point.

As time went on, I got more into quality and accuracy than quantity. My first items were Starfire and Depeeka. Then Philippine-made CAS Iberia, MRL, Del Tin, etc.

Now, I have less stuff, but of higher quality. I haven't been able to justify the cost (or hassle) of a fully-custom sword, so my swords are all high-end production pieces (7 of them). I have both high-end production daggers/knives and custom pieces, which I love (6, with at least on more on the way). I only have one non-blade weapon (a mace), plus a helm, and paid of gauntlets. Some day I'd like to have more armour, but that's lower on my priority list. I have both space and budget constraints (self-imposed), so the quantity of items won't change significantly. If I find something I can't live without, something else will almost certainly have to go to make space. Quality and cool-factor are much more important to me now than sheer numbers.

My collection is not as diverse as it used to be (no rapiers, Viking swords, or true two-handers), but I'm okay with that. I'm not making a museum or educational collection, so I feel no desire to have an example from every era/locale/form nor an example of every Oakeshott type, or every item in some maker's catalogue. Happy

More diversity would be nice, but I'm not willing to mortgage my life and clutter my house to get it. I'd love a good Viking sword, but would want a pattern-welded one, perhaps with inlaid decoration on the hilt and that far exceeds my budget. So it'll wait. The stuff I have is stuff I love and is the best I could afford when I bought them.

With life getting busier and busier, my pace of acquisition will slow and the collection will probably not change significantly for a while.


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Joe Fults

Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,555

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My collection size and tastes ebb and flow as whim suits me. I don't have collecting goals. For a while sought higher and higher quality, however, many prices have gone past my value threshold. I want to have a few nice "value" pieces I like; I'm not chasing perfection and spending accordingly anymore.

My son is going to hit college soon and my wife and I have retirement as a planning consideration. Some of the lifestyle changes and awareness that go along with my experience have caused my priorities to change. Swords costing thousands or even many hundreds of dollars no longer have the allure they once did. I'm more aware that today is temporary and I'd rather spend my money creating experiences with my family than buying things that for me ultimately amount to expensive decorator items.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

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

Last edited by Joe Fults on Sun 04 May, 2008 3:20 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Jonathon Janusz

Joined: 20 Nov 2003

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know I haven't been around here as much as I used to be - again life getting busy and all that - but here's how my collection has changed, or is evolving to use a very correct term.

I stared like most in the shallow end of the pool, but have fairly well stayed in the historical side of things. I was spoiled early on with some antiques I gathered over the years as gifts. When life presented opportunity, I jumped into the deep end of the production market and haven't looked back. I spent a good amount of effort trying to get a feel for what I really liked functionally in particular pieces starting mostly by whim, historical interest of the moment, or aesthetics followed by getting an example in hand and playing.

I recently moved on the biggest part of my collection I've ever let go at one time, as I've had a thought in mind for a while now and am really just slowly acting on it. I've been very slowly crawling toward WMA and actually playing with all of the things I've gathered and collected in the past. This, coupled with maybe a little frustration with a cluttered house on my part Wink, has led me to a mantra of, "If I can or intend to use it, keep/get it; if not, I can always get another one later."

So, not as important as what I've moved along is what I've actually kept. Besides my antiques, I've still got:

a couple of beat up training tools (already in queue to be replaced)
an AT dagger blade I still plan on having finished nicely some day to complete a historical kit (can't easily replace)
a slightly customized Albion done for me by my good friends there (sentimental value - which means the world to me)
a trio of Albion XIVs (I just love the type - this type is probably all I'm keeping/collecting "just because")
an Albion SL 13th Knightly (the best one of this model I've ever held in hand - I know I'd never find another like it)

. . . and what I'm getting or keeping my eye out for down the line:

new and better training tools
"the" longsword (this one might take a while. . . Big Grin)
a custom single hander to finish historical kit
clothes, accessories, furniture, etc. . . basically reenactment/living history type stuff to play with my friends
armour for WMA (I've got baby pictures of my breast/backplate to be done June-ish, with more suit to follow)

In the end, and in short, I guess I'm back mentally to where I started in a sense. It is better to have a handful of very special things than a great number of things - no matter how nice - that you might not really enjoy.
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Justin King
Industry Professional

Location: flagstaff,arizona
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Reading list: 20 books

Posts: 551

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My collection at this point consists of an Albion Regent and Laird, a composite basket hilt and composite side sword, both with modified Del Tin blades and hilts by Darkwood, a mostly non-historical piece based on an ATrim 1314 blade, and a Windlass rapier. I have another Albion on the way pending completion of a transaction.
I have sold or traded off pretty much all of the daggers and knives that I have made in the last few years, so beyond swords I have only a Windlass spear and a warhammer I made years ago from a mason's hammer. The swords I have now are mostly pieces that I plan to keep indefinitely, maybe excepting the rapier.

I have a couple of pieces in the works, I am awaiting a hilt from E.B. Erickson which I need to find a blade for (I forgot this when I said I had yet to comission a custom piece, although it isn't a complete sword, it is one of the more exciting purchases I have made), and another project I have been working on for awhile involving a Del Tin blade and a hilt I am making.

For me, as an amatuer cutler with more tools than good sense, it is worth a lot to me to have swords that are of high enough quality that I am not tempted to take them apart and "fix" them. This is the standard by which I measure quality these days I guess.
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Joe Fults

Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,555

PostPosted: Sun 04 May, 2008 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the current collection I have is:

Arma Bohemia Longsword
Lutel Pappenheimer and Parrying Dagger
A&A that I'll describe as a Type XIII
A&A Halberd
A&A Poleaxe
A&A Hungarian Axe
Arma Bohemia Rondel
2x Purplehart wasters

At the moment I'm in limbo regarding what might level enter the collection next and what might leave. Maybe the A&A Type XIII or Hungarian Axe. Been researching a few Del Tins and watching the classifieds but I suspect its going to be awhile before I spend any money.

Past items to flow through the collection that I can remember include:

Albion Regent
Albion Earl
Albion Landgraf
Albion Leichtenauer
A&A Bohemian Broadsword
A&A German Bastard Sword
A&A Custom Type XVIII?
Lutel Type XII?
Lutel Rapier and Parrying Dagger
Lutel Sword Dagger
Windlass Type XIV
Windlass 15th Century Longsword
Paul Chen Rapier and Parrying Dagger
Armor Class Pappenheimer and Parrying Dagger

"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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Ed Toton

Location: Northern VA
Joined: 16 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The evolution of my hobby has progressed much like others in this thread, but has gone through many stages.

I started out with a few very inexpensive swords. As my budget improved slightly, and I discovered retailers/distributors such as CAS-Iberia and Museum Replicas, I went through a phase of "everything must be battle-ready", based on my limited knowledge of what that meant. I was still in my teens (and on into college), so what can I say. Happy During that phase, I had put a few of my wall-hangers in storage, which unfortunately resulted in some rust and dried out leather. Lesson learned.

Then I started a website for selling these sorts of swords, to make my hobby pay for itself. During this time I decided that wall-hangers were OK if the price was right. But I also wanted as broad of a collection as possible; to own one of every type of sword I could think of-- a rapier, a scimitar, a saber, a hand-and-a-half, a "claymore", a basket-hilt, and so on. I became fascinated with rapiers during this time.

When these mass-produced swords started to lose my interest a little, I turned to renfaire sword smiths to fill in some of the gaps.

Then I started learning some Liechtenauer longsword and sword+buckler (thus steering my attention more towards those weapons), discovered these online communities, and learned more about Albion, A&A, etc. It was more a philosophical choice that it was finally worth it to spend the money to have a few really nice swords, than to have dozens of cheap ones. So to that end, I've sold off many of the lower-end swords that I no longer have had an interest in.

While my total sword count has climbed steadily, I have sold quite a few over the years to make room, and have also supplemented my collection with a handful of pole-arms, and a nice assortment of maces.

I used to joke about "The Age Rule" as I called it-- that one's sword count should always stay higher than one's age. Happy I haven't sold enough off yet to break that rule. It's been about 10 years that the rule has fit. Happy

-Ed T. Toton III |
My armor photos on facebook
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Glen A Cleeton

Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,931

PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had also kind of approached it as one of each, up through the beginning of compound hilts but always had antiques in mind. The past three years have been pretty much dedicated to that and even a bit longer spent really studying the evolution of brid and eagle pommel swords in America. While five of the past eight old pieces in have not been eagle pommels, that is still a primary interest of study and I hope to adopt more in due time. My Oakeshott series collection doesn't include any Albions but is pretty well rounded and I'll probably not let any go too easily but maybe it is time to think about rotating some out for either more antiques, or upgrades in reproductions. Truth be told though, I was fairy certain of my reproduction purchases and they all seem to fill a spot in my heart and not just space on the walls.

As my wants in antiques are really priced below high end reproductions, it really only makes sense to continue my pursuit of the old ones I fancy. This just in today and I hope to continue with the 18th and 19th centuries. This one roughly 1750-1775 and actually quite affordable. It ws a coin toss decision between this and another eagle pommel spadroon.


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P. Cha

PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I orginally liked the type XII and XIII blades but lately I'm finding that I like the type XV and XVIII a lot more. Especially the XVIII blades.
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Russ Thomas
Industry Professional

Location: Telemark, Norway
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 12 May, 2008 5:07 am    Post subject: Collecting......ebbs and flows         Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I started collecting 'Anything sharp', when I was just six years old. My late parents were very understanding and enthusiastic on my belhalf, with one proviso; "The first time you cut yourself, they all go!" well that taught me to respect my weapons, and I never played with them. In fact I never cut myself on any of them unlti I was twenty three, then I cut myself twice and stabbed myself all in the same day ! Worried Well, you might as well get it all out of the way at the same time Laughing Out Loud
I was exceedingly lucky, and many people where very generous with the odd sword or knife etc. that were lying under beds or gathering dust in attics. As a youngster I had a quite impressive collection.
When I started work I had a little more money available so my collection grew, mostly at that time in the area of collecting bayonets. They were available very reasonably, in the early 70's they were all about 3.50-4.00. Few people collected or wanted them, so that was what I started to specialise in. Nearly every Monday I would find something to add to my collection in Covent Garden antiques market ! Those were the days! Laughing Out Loud
Later, about 1980, I sold my entire collection and started collecting my main area of fascination; Japanese swords. I built up a quite substantial collection of Japanese weapons. I had at one point about sixty swords and a a couple of armours , plus various odd pieces as well. I suppose all in all, I have owned about a hundred Japanese swords , dating from ca. 1350 to 1943, including some really fine blades and even a gold mounted one!
The problem was that as I sold items to buy better quality weapons, I became increasingly uncomfortable with handling any of them in case I damaged them. None of them were ever on show. Leaving the house was always a worry in case of burglars. Holidays were a nightmare ! So gradually they have all gone, and I am much, much happier without the responsibility!
Today I have a few odd reenactment swords hanging around in the workshop, and my 'collection' consists of just a single British 1908 cavalry sword. My collecting interest is the literature on arms and armour these days, and I have built up a reasonable library of books on armour, which continues to expand.
I do not have the collecting 'bug' for weapons anymore, though I have decided that I will collect the British cavalry swords from the 1853 pattern to the 1908, one of which as I have said I already have. There are only five swords in this series, none of them prohibitively expensive, but they will make an interesting little display in the office, when I have one! Laughing Out Loud I will also , at some point, buy a English three bar 'Lobster pot' helmet and a troopers breastplate. Finally, a single representative Japanese sword will complete the list. That is my entire shopping list, and I am in absolutely no hurry to aquire any of them.
Though I do not have any bayonets , Japanese swords or any other weapons anymore, I still have the knowledge that I have amassed over a forty odd year period, and I am still interested in all of them - just not in collecting them!



Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero !
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Allen Andrews

Location: Maine USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 305

PostPosted: Mon 12 May, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like most of the folks here, I have always liked edged tools/weapons. I was given my first pocket knife at 6 (a reward for being such a "trooper" when they yanked my tonsils out). I was really into knife collecting for a number of years, and had some very nice custom blades. Financial issues forced me to sell most of them, but I still have a few that are either special sentimentally, or are using knives.

In my youth, swords were either of poor quality, or extremely expensive. Recently I have found the means to purchase a few swords, and I suspect as time goes along I will get a few more.

I don't have a real focus to my collection, I just get stuff I like. I do like cutting swords, because it is something the kids and I like to do together on a nice day. I currently own a lightly customized Atrim, a messer from Oliin, an Albion Steward, and a Cervenka Viking sword.

I also have a few projects in the works, such as an Atrim 1403 warsword from the "pay off the machine sale" (I hope this one will be done in the near future). I also purchased a katana blade from Ron Macy and I am having fun buying antiques and custom fittings to have it finished with. Finally I am in the queue with Castle Keep, I haven't decided on exactly what that project is going to be, but I am excited about it.

So you can see, I am all over the place. My main criteria is that the sword be real. It can be antique, historically accurate, fantasy based, whatever, so lang as it can cut and doesn't break. I am guessing my collection will always be small, but the swords I have bring me pleasure, so I'm ok with that

" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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