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D. Bell




Location: New Zealand
Joined: 01 May 2004

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Protecting your collection against theft         Reply with quote

As I start to add one off and custom pieces to my collection, it occurs to me that should I have the misfortune to have my collection stolen replacing these would be next to impossible. Even looking at the production pieces I own, I note that a number are now discontinued, and then there is the sentimental value these hold regardless of price or availability. In short, even if insurance covered the financial cost of the swords etc, rebuilding my collection is not something I ever want to have to do.

So I ask you, what measures do you take to safeguard your collection, and have these measures ever been put to the test? I've heard people mention on occasion that they keep their collection in a safe, or hidden out of sight somewhere, and while this may end up being what is necessary, it seems a pity to me that you can't just glance over and admire an item you've spent a lot of time and money on, so I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has a display case they believe offers some security, or any other solution to this dilemma.

An armed society is a polite society.
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Russ Thomas
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Location: Telemark, Norway
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,

Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot one can really do against a determined thief. I have heard of a collector in England, who had a whole room specially built and strengthened inside his house, just to house his weapons collection, a sort of mini Fort Knox. A nice idea, if you have the room and the available funds.
The thought of having my swords and armour etc. stolen and the problems with their security, was a contributing factor to my selling off my collection. However, if your collection is not too large there are some good gunsafes on the market, which are a good way of detering a thief. Having your house alarmed up to the local police station is also a good idea, not too cheap, but it can significantly reduce your household insurance. It may also be possible to have a small display, say five or six pieces out at any one time, fully insured, but without seriously altering your houshold insurance. It is worth checking your policy for this.

Regards,

Russ

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero !


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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a funny story about this,

My place was robbed a few months ago and they took electronics (3 video game systems, Camera, Laptop) My swords were right there, even my new custom seax which is worth quite a bit, and conviniently sized as well.

Truth is most thieves, I don't think will steal swords and stuff. They are too big- plus a pawn shop wouldn't give them very much at all for this stuff as they wouldn't even really know what it is worth. I was actually very pleasantly surprised!

I don't think most robbers really get that sort of thing- just want some drugs or whatever. Just my thought.

Jeremy


Last edited by Jeremy V. Krause on Wed 27 Aug, 2008 2:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ed Toton




Location: Northern VA
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of course, you can also prominently display some cheaper, but very pretty wall-hanger SLOs, and they likely won't be able to tell which ones are the expensive ones. Happy
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I have a funny story about this,

My place was robbed a few months ago and they took electronics (3 video game systems, Camera, Laptop) My swords were right there, even my new custom seax which is worth quite a bit, and conviniently sized as well.

Truth is most thieves, I don't think will steal swords and stuff. They are too big- plus a pawn shop wouldn't give them very much at all for this stuff as they wouldn't even really know what it is worth. I was actually very pleasantly surprised!

I don't think most robbers really get that sort of think- just want some drugs or whatever. Just my thought.

Jeremy


Professionals or focussed addicts I agree will go for the portable stuff first, and unless it's a very expensive collection that is targeted by an art thief type, I don't think they would take the time to carry of a large number of large bulky swords.

Now, some amateur adolescents have been known to steal or just TRASH peoples homes just for the fun of it. Evil

I would avoid displaying in a way that the collection can be seen from the street or every pizza delivery guy when you answer the door: Only close friends should see the inside of your house in a routine manner but it's hard to avoid having tradesmen doing repairs or a plumber from seeing what you have ! One can worry about it or one can hope for the best and live one's life avoiding focussing on everything that could go wrong from robbery, to tornadoes, to earthquakes, to global warming or an Ice age ! Think too much and you can drive yourself nuts. Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Wed 27 Aug, 2008 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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J. Pav




Location: NJ
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Booby traps. Big Grin

Get creative. Say you have a gun-rack style display? Build hidden wires with copper contacts where the blade rests. One touch of the sword without hitting the hidden switch? ZAP!

Or you could do something less painful. Figure a way to rig the swords so that when they are touched, an alarm goes off. Ever see those desk-lamps that turn on when you just touch the base or any other metal part of it? There MUST be a way to gut one of those things, and rig the internals like I described.
Or run a charge through the blade. Once the blade is removed from the display the circuit is broken, tripping an alarm.


Ever see that Discovery Channel show, "It Takes a Thief"? The biggest deterrent is inability to conveniently enter the building. Keep doors and windows locked, have motion-sensing security lights, and a security system if you can afford it(and make sure to actively maintain it since many let it slip from their mind, leaving the home with an unarmed and useless security system).

It's been pretty well stated that someone who damn well intends to get something from you will find a way, but a casual thief is looking for something quick and easy. Make your home neither.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have found myself wondering how much a typical pawn shop would give for say a $700 albion. I'm thinking $75. I guess if one of us ever happened upon one we might be able to get away with maybe $200.

Funny thought,

Jeremy
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Stu C




Location: Western Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say take all the obvious precautions, such as keeping valuables out of sight, locking doors, keeping windows locked and closed, monitored alarm system, etc. Also, get to know your neighbours so you can watch out for each other. Beyond that, if a thief wants your stuff, he *will* get it (I know this from bitter experience -- a thief basically demolished my last kitchen a few years ago to remove a safe that contained minimal valuables).

The thing to remember is that your swords are just 'stuff' you might think you love 'em, but they are never going to be more than bits of metal. In the kitchen demolishing episode, which cost a good $20,000 what was I most worried about? Yep, the cat (my girlfriend was with me, so I didn't need to worry about her). Fortunately she (the cat, not the girlfriend) had jumped out of the window the burglars broke to gain entry and came skulking back that evening once she had gotten over her fright.

After that I got a very prominent alarm system with PIRs, glass break sensors, etc. At least that way the neighbours might pay some attention when three swarthy blokes walk out of the house with all my stuff, including a concrete encrusted safe. Sigh.

Stu
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Revan Delkaoth




Location: Minnesota
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi I am new to this group, but have been a blacksmith for three years and am currently an apprentice bladesmith. (in status)

Now, I do not know how many of you have your own forge, but why not forge a decorative cage that spans one wall within a few inches of the swords and knives. The bars are just close enough together that a sword could not be pulled thorugh. polish the steel bars nice and pretty to match the burnish of the blades, bolt it onto the 2x4's in the wall, put double-barrel hinges on one end and a tough lock on the other and wham! you have a nice-looking, nigh impenetrable, effetive system....

Just my thought.

Happy

-Revan Delkaoth.
Blacksmith, Apprentice Bladesmith
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I have found myself wondering how much a typical pawn shop would give for say a $700 albion. I'm thinking $75. I guess if one of us ever happened upon one we might be able to get away with maybe $200.

Funny thought,

Jeremy


Interesting thought. I was ready to jump in my rig and start checking out some pawn shops. Then the guilt hit me. I know what swords cost, and an Albion or similar piece selling in a shop for a couple of hundred dollars screams "stolen" to me. The victim may even post a request for us to keep our eyes peeled here and I'd just end up sending it to him!!??

I quess the best thing to do would be to get an add on written into your homeowner's policy. Be sure and take your camera when you see your agent because you'll want to capture his expression to show family and friends. Or you could get well aquainted with a couple of fellows; Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.
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Russ Thomas
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Location: Telemark, Norway
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Aug, 2008 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:


Now, some amateur adolescents have been known to steal or just TRASH peoples homes just for the fun of it. Evil

I would avoid displaying in a way that the collection can be seen from the street or every pizza delivery guy when you answer the door: Only close friends should see the inside of your house in a routine manner but it's hard to avoid having tradesmen doing repairs or a plumber from seeing what you have ! One can worry about it or one can hope for the best and live one's life avoiding focussing on everything that could go wrong from robbery, to tornadoes, to earthquakes, to global warming or an Ice age ! Think too much and you can drive yourself nuts. Razz Laughing Out Loud


Jean has pretty much hit the nail on the head!

Regarding his first point. I was fortunate to know a gentleman who had possibly the finest private collection of Japanese armour in the world, outside of Japan, anyway. I was fortunate to spend many pleasant evenings there.
I asked him about security, and he told me that it wasn't insured, the premium would have been sky high. The pieces were too well known and catalogued to be sellable anyway, it was a unique collection. But, what did worry him, was the thought of teenagers breaking in to the house and just trashing the collection, spray paint etc. That gave him nightmares. Unfortunately, if there are girls breaking into the house with the boys , they seem to encourage to boys to show how 'tough' they are, hence all the damage as well Cry

Regarding the second point, yes, you must take reasonable precausions yourself obviously. Be careful who you show your collection to, and who can see it without coming into your home, ie. from the street or the doorway etc. If people must come into your home try and keep doors closed so that they don't, as far as possible, see what you have.

As I said earlier, I eventually sold my collection, and don't regret it really. Actually, now that I come to think about it, the collector with the Japanese armour, sold his entire collection too! Every single piece of it ! I for one, am much more comfortable without the stress of worrying about my collection. Happy

One thing that you might like to think about , is a false wall, with your collection safely out of sight behind it. It might safeguard your collection if you are away from your home for some time.

Regards,

Russ

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero !


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Jonathan Atkin





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PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you have a small guest room why not just make that your collections room, bars on the windows steel hallway door (making sure your steel door is attached to something fairly sturdy doors all well and good but if its attached to some ply wood ...) and theres also 2 german shepards option Razz
"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness''. - Theodore Roosevelt
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Thomas Jason




Location: New Joisey
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are insurance companies that specialize in collectible weapons such as firearms,swords militaria, etc. I would suggest a policy from them as you are going to have a huge fight on your hand with your homeowners policy...
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My apartment is easy to break into, so I put my valuables in a gun safe. Sure a professional would be able to break into that, but no professional thief would ever go near my dumpy apartment complex and expect to find anything valuable there. :-)

Old saying a friend a long time ago told me: "Locks are for keeping honest people honest. Dishonest people will always find a way to be dishonest."

I also have renters insurance just in case.

Bryce
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Bill Sahigan





Joined: 06 Jun 2008

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PostPosted: Thu 28 Aug, 2008 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IMO, I don't think one should give up something ones loves simply because of (irrational) fear. If the fear that your collection is going to be stolen out weighs the enjoyment you get by _having_ that collection... then why did you collect it in the first place?
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
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PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2008 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have written about this before, so I'll stick with the readers digest version, but while I appreciate the "why worry don't be paranoid" sentiment, you will be singing a different tune when $10000+ of your armoury is lifted and you spend 7 years fighting with your insurance company Evil to collect. i know - i have been there and done that. otoh its nice to display them so I now take sort of an in-between approach where most of my stuff is locked up in a gun safe (for safety reasons as well as security) and I display a few at a time. Then I rotate every month or so which has the additional benefit of making me periodically examine all of my swords and properly maintain them. For safety reasons I lock up my sharps and guns anyway (I have kids). but this is in the category of "different strokes for different folks", everyone's situation is different. The only tip I have that is probably useful is if you do decide to get a gun safe get the next biggest one you can afford because everyone I know who has bought one has traded it in and upgraded within two years. Big Grin tr
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Fri 29 Aug, 2008 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about a German Shepherd? Best home protection money can buy. Alarm system, deterrant and guardian, all in one furry package. Happy
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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D. Bell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Sat 30 Aug, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I hope I'm not the only one finding this useful.

I don't have my own place yet, but when I do, having a room I can fortify and use as a display room will definitely be a bonus. Add in a bookshelf, comfy chair, and computer and you've got a nice office, just have to make sure you don't leave the spare key somewhere it can be found.

I don't know how keen I am on a big dog since I've always been a cat person, but they're probably among the best deterrents so it's worth thinking about. An alarm and good security in general should also help deter would be thieves.

The decorative cage sounds like an interesting idea, I don't have the skills to make something like that myself, but I'm sure I could find someone. As with the gun safe, building it large enough to incorporate a growing collection would be wise.

Checking that the insurance will cover my collection before I'm trying to make a claim will have to go on my to do list.

An armed society is a polite society.
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Stu C




Location: Western Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 31 Aug, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Bell wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I hope I'm not the only one finding this useful.

I don't have my own place yet, but when I do, having a room I can fortify and use as a display room will definitely be a bonus. Add in a bookshelf, comfy chair, and computer and you've got a nice office, just have to make sure you don't leave the spare key somewhere it can be found.
.


Unless you are constructing your house specifically to have a fortified room, typically trying to restrict the movement of determined individuals who have already gained entry to your house will just result in them doing an enormous amount of damage to your house and they will probably still get what they want. Most modern houses have fairly flimsy interior walls and even brick walls in the typical domestic house can be broken through with a sledge hammer and not that much effort. Keeping people on the outside of the house is the best bet (good locks, don't leave windows open, keep bushes cut back to people can't skulk around your house), having a good alarm and then keeping valuables hidden away are probably going to serve you best.

It is actually very, very hard to win against a determined thief. Now if you are building your house from scratch or significantly extending, then your options are greatly increased and you could probably make a room that is pretty much impregnable. But for most people, just take sensible precautions, have lots of photos of your belongings, read the small print of your insurance policy (and list anything that needs specifically listing to be covered) and get on with your life....
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Bram Verbeek





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PostPosted: Mon 01 Sep, 2008 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know it is very hard to guard against intruders. I often was locked out of my parent's house when younger (I still have the nasty habit of forgetting my keys all too often, some things don't change too well). And I have found a way in most of the time. I never trained it, I just look for gaps, someone trained might fare a lot better.
If you wish to build a safe, use reinforced concrete encased by both sides in sheet metal and pay very close attention to the hinges and locks. A safe can be built in effectively by welding concrete reinforcement bars to it and casting concrete around it (make sure it is fixed to foundation or something alike by interconnecting more reinforcement, and do not use only one angle), or use chemical anchors. Probably you'll spend more on the door than on the rest of the safe.
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