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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject: Planning out my collection         Reply with quote

Hi, new to the forum, but like pretty much everyone here I've been fascinated by swords since I was a kid.

I'm finally in a position where I can afford quality pieces and am now planning out the collection that I want to put together over the next 2-3 years, and am hoping for some input from you guys!

My interest (and my area of academic specialty) is the Norman expansion from the beginning of the 11th century through to the end of the 12th, also encompassing the first three crusades and the intervening periods. My hope is to put together a collection of swords that will broadly represent those used during this period.

On a reputation basis, Albion swords are where I'm looking and this is what I have in mind!

1. The Reeve - to represent the swords used in the conflicts during the minority of William the Bastard and up to the Norman invasion of England and also the Norman expansion in southern Italy, and mercenary activity in Spain during this period.
2. The Senlac - to represent the swords used from the invasion of England and on the first crusade, and up to a period somewhere in the middle of the 1100's.
3. The Hospitaller/Templar/Vigil/Oakeshott (really need some advice on this choice!) - to cover the period form early 1100's up to the collapse of the Latin Kingdoms 1188 ish and the Norman invasion of Ireland.
4. The knight - to close out my period of interest. Is it correct to assume this style would be beginning to appear around 1200?

Those are my thoughts, I'm open to correction and suggestion on any of these points, and am really looking forward to hearing of any comments and suggestions you might have! I'm particularly keen to hear if anyone thinks I'm missing out something important from this period, and of any suggestions of anything else that should/could be included.

Many thanks,
Mark


Last edited by Mark Hamilton on Sat 25 Jul, 2009 11:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 9:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just want to add a suggestion that you might find collecting to be more satisfying if you consider your purchases in a more individual light. It is good that you know your main area of interest and are able to afford high-quality swords from the start, this gives you a better understanding of what you are looking for than many of us, when we started. But collecting is a learning process and an ongoing experience in itself, and in the space of a few years you may find that your interests and/or priorities have shifted.
For me, collecting has turned out to be an evolution of my fascination and understanding of swords, and my collection now contrasts sharply from my interests and intentions when I began. At one point I intended to collect representations of the major sword types from my areas and periods of historical interest. I achieved this to some extent, but eventually I have found more enjoyment in collecting distinct or remarkable examples that represent a point of interest in the development of the sword itself, rather than a time or place in history.
I suppose most of us have, or have had, a prioritized list of pieces we intend to collect, this is natural enough. I have found, however, that some my most satisfying purchases were ones that were not on my list, these are the unexpected delights which make collecting exciting, and have broadened my understanding and appreciation of these most beautiful of weapons. Keeping your mind open to new interests is a key part of having a hobby that keeps growing, and that you will enjoy for a lifetime.
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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You've made some interesting points! Sadly all they've done is make me want a couple of Viking period swords and maybe a gladius and spatha or two! These are also periods that I have a passing interest in, but the Norman culture and Crusades has been my passion since I was twelve or thirteen, and I haven't lost interest in the two decades since then! Nevertheless, a viking pattern weld style and one of the transitional styles would be a nice intro for the collection! I really am in danger of getting carried away though if I don't narrow myself specifically, and they might be nice additions at a later date but sadly my budget is not limitless, and I want to ensure that every piece I do buy is of the best quality available. I've held off on buying any swords for a long time, as I didn't want to buy junk just for the sake of having one.

The only real queries I have is which of the Templar/Hospitaller/Vigil/Oakeshott swords for the 1100's would be the best choice, and if the Knight is suitable for 1190 ish onward, and confirmation that the other choices I've made are appropriate for the chosen period.

Thanks for your input and concerns Justin, ordinarily I would agree with them whole heartedly, but this project has been in the back of my mind since I was in Uni, and I've been waiting for a long time to be able to act on it! I'm sure you and many others on the forum are familiar with the excitement now that I'm close to owning a few of these works of art!
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Dan Dickinson
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, i'd say that the Knight probably isn't the best for your stated period. The combination of peen block, octagonally sectioned style 2 cross, and type J pommel seem to put it more firmly at c.1250 onwards according to Oakeshott.
However, the Vigil seems like a sword that could fill the 1100's and Early 1200's role nicely.
That being said, the Knight is a great sword and I certainly don't think you'd be disappointed having one Wink
I hope this helps,
Dan
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albion Knight is more or less appropriate for the turn of the 12th to 13th century, but I would just suggest you to look at the Ritter for the same period to have a bit of diversity in pommels.
Templar/Hospitaller/Vigil/Oakeshott are all great and very special swords and you can't miss with any of them but they are very different swords. Templar and Hospitaller are long powerful swords made specifically for mounted combat. Vigil is shorter, of course powerful cutter but maybe more versatile. Oakeshott is very special sword and lances are still broken about it's dating, not unlike Vigil's dating. It's slimmer than other swords you mention and the geometry is unique for it's time, ridges on each side of the fuller, hollowgrind... They are all plausible for the 12th century, but while Hospitaller and Templar are more typical swords of the era, Vigil and Oakeshott are more controversial.
I warn you, I didn't handle any of them but I think I didn't say anything too nonsense as I am very interested in those swords and I have read pretty much anything that was said about them around here.


Last edited by Luka Borscak on Sun 26 Jul, 2009 5:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Hadrian Coffin
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice idea, you have almost the same passion I do... I really just love the conquest itself though, the Bayeux Tapestry is what sparked my interest when I was about 9 and first read about it, by 12 I had already been paid to lecture at a local college. Frankly you have a nice list of swords but I would really advise against getting them all... You are talking ~$4000 +the price of scabbards (for period appropriate ones you are talking another ~$4000). Instead of simply buying all of them at once, I would suggest going for a properly made custom or two from a respected maker (Patrick Barta, Peter Johnson, Michael Pikula, JT Palikko, etc.) Albion makes decent swords, but Albion is not the end all be all. I personally find Albions to be a bit a-historical for my preferance. An Albion, while sturdy and nice looking, does not (to me) invoke the feeling of the numerous historical examples I have held. Albions are CNC milled and ground to shape using very modern high carbon spring steels, and use such modern materials such as epoxy. A properly made piece using bog iron smelted with animal bits to make it into steel, forged and stone ground to shape, hand polished, utilizing iron fittings, etc. really feels (and looks) different. Pace yourself, when your in the $4,000+ range you should go for the highest quality.
Best,
Hadrian
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, yes, I agree, you could cover the whole period you want with 2 custom swords if you wanted.
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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great replies, thanks guys!

I'll certainly be pacing myself, taking my budget into consideration, I would hope to pick them up at a rate of about 1 every 6 to 9 months, maybe a little slower.

Custom is certainly an option I'm considering, but was concerned that it might be prohibitively expensive, and for there to be an extremely long delay from order to getting it. From what I've seen most of the custom makers seem to have 2 year waiting lists. I would hope to order my first piece in the next couple of weeks and would really prefer to have it in a couple of months.

I would really love for my swords to have been constructed from a historically accurate process, but the Albion models have put forward such an accessible image of what I was trying to put together in my head, they are a very attractive option. I will perhaps mail a couple of the European custom makers, but I would hate to waste their time pestering them if it was always going to be out of my price range.

Also, its important for me for all my swords to be unsharpened for safety concerns. I won't be using them for cutting or anything like that, I just want good examples of something I've been very interested in all of my life. I would only consider a sharp sword if it was absolutely impossible for me to have that model any other way. The fact that I won't be using it for cutting or such like makes me wonder if having a custom made sword would be over doing it, although a custom pattern welded Viking sword is sneaking into my longer term plans!

Anyway, thanks again for the replies, and as always I'm eager to hear suggestions, corrections etc. Also thanks for the info on the knight, I think I'll drop that one off the list!

Mark
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would echo Dan's thoughts, and more specifically the Vigil. It's a beautiful sword, and one that impresses immediately. However, the Knight is an exceptional sword and would make a fantastic first sword. If I were to go back to the beginning I would make the Knight my first choice. As for meeting your time period, the Vigil seem's more appropriate.
Brian Kunz
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Jason Manville




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 5:47 pm    Post subject: Another suggestion         Reply with quote

Mark;

Another suggestion that I would have is to set a specific limit or number on the total of swords in your collection.

If you set a defined total it will cause you to be more considerate when buying swords. For example, if the collection would only contain thirty pieces. If you purchased the thirty-one sword you would sale a sword to keep the number at thirty. If you keep it at thirty then you will not just buy swords for the sake of buying swords knowing that you will have to give up a sword.

Jason

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David Lewis Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 6:09 pm    Post subject: Chuck your plan!         Reply with quote

Well except for the buying from Albion, they make really nice stuff.

When I first started collecting all I wanted was basket hilted Scots claymores but as I saw more swords, more 'things' I liked I found my self with a wider interest. I still love my Scots Claymores but I have swords from nearly every time period (many from Albion) and culture. My really good stuff is all middle eastern or Persian as far as antiques go. My best modern production swords are my albino Viking and Migration stuff (Migration D and Kragehul).

Also do not limit your self in numbers, just in number of what you display. That might sound odd but a home can start to look tacky covered in bladed weapons, one of my friends has about 30 very expensive antique Revolutionary War swords, he has two on display and rotates them out of the safe he keeps them in every month or so.

Do not be afraid to by a used sword, myArmoury market place and SFI Classifieds have provided most of my albinos, the fact is I have only three Albions from the store the others came from other collectors, about seven in all. This will also allow you to buy More swords LOL

Talk it over with your significant other, swords can be art, but not every one appreciates them. Let your significant other in on the decisions of where and when they are displayed. (personally I bribe my wife with very expensive yarn)

Regards
Dave

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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not handled the Vigil, but I have had in hand the Templar/Hospitaller/Oakeshott as well as the Knight.

All of them are great fun, but I have to say they all handle quite differently. Do you plan on cutting with any of these? If so I would not choose the Oakeshott until you have a good amount of experience under your belt. Not to say that the blade isn't as resilient as the others, it is, but it's better in the hands of a more experienced cutter- IMO.

I definitely second David's recommendation to check the classifieds. There is advantages to buying straight from Albion (Guarantee, furniture finish, grip color), but if these don't matter to you then there's nothing wrong with a used blade.

~A

PS- No love for the Norman? WTF?! WTF, I LOVE that sword... Wink
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since it is the only sword I own among those mentioned, I can heartily recommend the Vigil, if you can accept the dating as fitting your period. This is arguable but I tend to accept Oakeshott's dating over any other single source. The sword itself is truly a magnificent piece.
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Mark Hamilton





Joined: 23 Jul 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam S. wrote:


PS- No love for the Norman? WTF?! WTF, I LOVE that sword... Wink


I actually do like it, but prefer the clean, plain look of the straight crossguard. As it also has a disc pommel and a type Xa blade, it's otherwise too similar to the Senlac, which to my eye has the edge. It is, however, one that could squeak into my collection when I have all the primary pieces that I want. That would be a long way off though! I've already planned out how to spend my 'me money' for the next few years on what I've listed already!


Mark
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Hamilton wrote:
Adam S. wrote:


PS- No love for the Norman? WTF?! WTF, I LOVE that sword... Wink


I actually do like it, but prefer the clean, plain look of the straight crossguard. As it also has a disc pommel and a type Xa blade, it's otherwise too similar to the Senlac, which to my eye has the edge. It is, however, one that could squeak into my collection when I have all the primary pieces that I want. That would be a long way off though! I've already planned out how to spend my 'me money' for the next few years on what I've listed already!


Mark


I have built my collection around a similar path as yours i.e. concentrating on a certain period- for me 1000-1300. I have been collecting higher end pieces for six years now- with a small collection going back 12 years. I have never felt called to go beyond this time period- maybe I will one day- I do admire much of earlier and later period weapons but there is only so much money to go around.

I have the Norman, Templar, Reeve, Duke, and Solingen. Regarding the Norman/Sentac they share the same blade and pommel and differ only in the cross-so choose the one that appeals to you. I love the Norman, hence I would likely love the Senlac.

My collecting has slowed down however over the last two years as I am gearing up for paying for my Barta type XI which should be made some time next year. I am VERY excited about this sword!

You should think about a nice kite shield and spear as well, and maybe a seax. . . and. . . . and. . . Wink


Jeremy
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark,
If you're patient, Albion may redo their scabbard line and offer more affordable options. From their Facebook page:

Quote:
Albion Alum Eric McHugh has come out of semi-Albion retirement to help us get a new line of period scabbards up and running. Our goal: period scabbard options that are more affordable and that we can deliver - right when you buy your sword. Watch this page for updates on his progress.

Happy

ChadA

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Mark,
If you're patient, Albion may redo their scabbard line and offer more affordable options. From their Facebook page:

Quote:
Albion Alum Eric McHugh has come out of semi-Albion retirement to help us get a new line of period scabbards up and running. Our goal: period scabbard options that are more affordable and that we can deliver - right when you buy your sword. Watch this page for updates on his progress.


That would be a good thing: I never understood why a good sword shouldn't always be sold with at least an " economy " storage or campaign scabbard.

Funny that most cheap or " cheaper " swords, even walhangers come with a scabbard ( even if a poor one ) while many high end sword don't come with a scabbard ! Well, may be a good thing for the custom scabbard makers. Wink Laughing Out Loud

These Albion scabbard should be of good quality and looks but simple and relatively inexpensive but I don't expect dirt cheap! Although leather scabbards like those made by A & A or Tinker are quite functional and fill the storage/safety scabbard role adequately and one can late upgrade to a full custom scabbard.

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




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Damn I never knew Albion was on facebook!

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
[Although leather scabbards like those made by A & A or Tinker are quite functional and fill the storage/safety scabbard role adequately and one can late upgrade to a full custom scabbard.


That's the more convenient option and I'd love to see more of that. Most of the hard labor when building a scabbard is shapping the core according to the blade profile, especially when you are poorly equiped. Upgrading from an already made wood core is a pleasure cruise really, as you deal only with the pleasant stuff and soft materials (design and leatherwork). That's what I did for the Gen 2 Henry V, and most of the main job was done in an afternoon. Unless I'm mistaken, the A&A base scabbards are plain thick leather though (that's what I read on their website, never own one), and tinker/hanwei 's were originally wood but now I think I've read they are now fiberglass covered in leather?

A simple woodcore made of quality wood (covered in leather or just laquered) at an affordable price would be great incentive to invest in one of Albion's swords for sure. But I'm under the impression that the current trend leans towards more expensive sword and scabbard bundles, such as what's coming from both valiant regal and fletcher/trim prestige.

J
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 11:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julien M wrote:
Damn I never knew Albion was on facebook!

Unless I'm mistaken, the A&A base scabbards are plain thick leather though (that's what I read on their website, never own one), and tinker/hanwei 's were originally wood but now I think I've read they are now fiberglass covered in leather?

J


The A & A scabbards are plain thick leather and the " Tinker " scabbard I have is also just plain leather but it's for a custom
" Tinker " sword and came from his shop: The fibreglass ones covered in leather are Tinke/Hanwei production swords and not the same as what " Tinker " makes for his own in shop swords.

Both the A & A and the " Tinker " leather scabbards use a very thick seams that give the scabbards a bit of stiffness.

The " Tinker " also as a leather locket at the top doubling the thickness of the leather.

If used with a suspension I think they would be very functional and I haven't had any problems with rust with my A & A swords even if I keep them in the leather scabbards and only check them occasionally when I play with them or put a light coat of gun oil or Renaissance Wax on the blades to protect them.

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Nathan Keysor




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the Oakeshott and the Vigil. Both are excellent choices. I also have the Bayeux which has the same blade as the Reeve. It is much nicer then the Albion website pics would lead you to believe. Mine has the antiqued hilt which adds a lot of character. I also recommend the St Maurice and the Gadhjalt and Ritter. Did I mention I love Albions? Once you get that first one it's hard to stop!
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
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