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D. Phillip Caron




Location: Arcadia, FL
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 4:00 pm    Post subject: $ Value         Reply with quote

Albion has "The Dane" for $1800.00. Darksword has "The two Handed Danish Sword" for $310.00.
Being new to the world of swords; What will that $1490.00 buy for me? From the pictures they both appear to be A plus pieces.

The first casualty of battle is bravado, the second is macho.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

$1490 buys you peace of mind that you're buying a great product from great people. It buys you the benefits of an extensive research and development program. It buys you the benefits of the hands-on experience of one of the world's greatest sword makers and designers, Peter Johnsson. It buys you truth in advertising. It buys you a sword that looks like, acts like, and will be as durable as a historic sword.

In short, it buys you a lot.

The DSA 2-handed Danish sword looks nothing like a historical sword of the type.

Tell me: what do you want out of a sword? Maybe you and I want different things and you'd rather buy a less expensive sword that lacks so many of the things I consider important.

For me, I don't mind paying for some of the above. But we're not all the same. Happy

Please do some homework on both companies and on historical swords. Then you'll have a better idea how the marketplace stacks up.

Happy

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D. Phillip Caron




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With additional thought, this topic might be in the wrong place. It is not that I am interested in one of those swords. Each of those makers have a Viking as do most others. Many have a variety of Roman swords. What are the differences which make an Albion or Atrim a "better" sword? Those aspects you have mentioned mean a great deal to you and to others with your level of experience. Three weeks ago I decided that I want a sword.
The first casualty of battle is bravado, the second is macho.
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T.F. McCraken




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Other than some slight differences, I'd say there is no apparant difference between them except for Albion being a bigger name.

But, that is only MY opinion.

If you JUST decided to get into the genre swords are in, start with the $310.00 DSA one and if it catches your fancy, think about the Albion.

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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T.F. McCraken wrote:
Other than some slight differences, I'd say there is no apparant difference between them except for Albion being a bigger name.

But, that is only MY opinion.


Well having owned products from both companies I'll have to respectfully disagree. From a standpoint of aesthetics the Albion will win if you pay attention to the blade geometry. Handling like an original of it's type? Albion again. Preforming like an original of it's type? You guessed it. Most DSA's don't even have distill tapering and the ones that do are done in an odd way. They end up feeling either too blade heavy or just dead in the hand. You can really only notice this after you have some experience though. It's hard to judge without a point of reference or some research in to the type of swords your interested in. There's a reason why so many experienced people on here prefer Albion and it's not the name I can assure you.

With that being said it's not that DSA is a bad company. I had a bad experience years ago but they've come a long way since then. They may not preform or have the subtile differences that make a sword feel like an original but at a $300 price point you shouldn't expect them to. It's a ton of work researching and perfecting your grinding to get a proper distill tapering and that is reflected in the price as you can't expect these guys to work for free. DSA build tanks, plain and simple. Even the light swords feel like tanks. There focus is stage combat so that's really as it should be. For my purposes (Western Martial Arts) that simply won't do. If however your looking for a very durable sword with somewhat historical looks that is made WAY better than a windlass you won't be disappointed.

At the end of the day it's all about what your looking for and what your budget is. Seeing as your new Mr McCracken gives some very sound advice when he says
Quote:
If you JUST decided to get into the genre swords are in, start with the $310.00 DSA one and if it catches your fancy, think about the Albion.
That to me is sound advice. It may seem penny wise and pound foolish but really if your new to this it'll take a while before you have a clear picture of what a sword should be to YOU. Good luck on your hunt and don't forget to share some pictures of your new sword.
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blade geometry and handling are huge characteristic differences between less expensive and high end swords. Blade geometry on historic examples is very complex and subtle. This is where the handling differences are made. The 'feel' of the weapon is different when the maker has crafted the blade properly. Albion is known for getting this right. For example, distal taper, that is the blade getting thinner as you get further from the hilt, is often overlooked by the more inexpensive makers and can result in a tremendous difference in feel and handling. It's not easy to do properly and you'll pay for that to be done right.

As was mentioned by Chad above, the looks are also drastically different. To the untrained eye, an inexpensive sword looks like a sword. To folks who study historical pieces, there are huge glaring discrepancies in shape and choices of furniture (the pommel, cross guard etc that would never be found together, or that affect handling), quality of materials (i.e. temper and heat treatment of the blade)... the list goes on

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D. Phillip Caron




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, I did that very thing. I have a Godfred Viking from Hanwei. I am happy with it, and I got the "get a sword" out of my system. Other than low end items because I want them I do not want to buy another sword, and two years later realize that I do not yet have a "good" sword. My objective would be to get a sword of a quality that a medievil person, at least at a minimum leval, would be willing to take into combat. If the response is; Then get an Albion or Atrim" that is fine, but why? It seems to be a "Sword 101" question in a "Sword 618" world.
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Christopher VaughnStrever




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally suggest you wait and save your money and buy an albion. I wanted a sword for a long time and I could have spend hundreds of dollars and I would not have been as happy as I am now.

I waited about 5 years in total to buy a sword from Albion. I did my research and was determined to buy a sharp sword they offer. Which can easily hit the $800 ~~1200 range. And then I looked into scabbards... there's another $400~1,000 for a decent scabbard. So your looking at $2,000. Well I decided to buy from the maestro line (the blunted training swords) And after having two different swords from albion, that I can train with and not worry about cutting anyone... is exactly what I wanted. I have handled other swords and didn't care too much for them. An Albion is like driving a high end luxury car, you dont know the feeling to you experience it for yourself.

I echo the others remarks, do research, find out what you intend to use the sword for. If you just want a piece to hang on the wall, to train, or to perform text cuts... And then you will know what to buy.

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T.F. McCraken




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Make NO mistake about my post. Albion quality is head and heels above DSA and that's why you pay what you do. I own an Albion myself and it is SERIOUSLY tops. But, for someone just starting out enjoying the genre, I have to say, buying a $300.00 DSA before an $1800.00 Albion showplace piece is the best bet. Heck, if you weren't sure at all, I'd say look through Kult of Athena's Deepeeka selection first. That price range is in the $120.00 range and if you don't think swords are your thing, you can ebay it and never think twice about it.

If you're thinking of learning to drive, do you really want to start with a Ferarri?

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D. Phillip Caron




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am gathering information from each and all of these comments. Christopher, I spent my life in the military. I would love nothing better than to get into a worthy training program. However, at 63, in the middle of Florida, I am not confident of what may be available to me. I do know that you will never find me in armor on horseback. It's hard to dig a foxhole up there.
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll offer an analogy: when I was very young, my father wanted me to learn guitar, so he bought a cheap acoustic for me to start out on. It wasn't a bad guitar, but it was nothing special - it had six strings and made some sound. After me struggling for a year on the thing, he saw I was determined to learn to play, and he bought me a really nice electric/acoustic jazz model Guild - it cost about ten times what the cheapo I had been plucking on. My abilities blossomed after using the professional quality Guild, and I eventually began playing in a band, making money, videos, and really enjoying the experience. Nearly forty years later, I still have that Guild jazz guitar, and it still plays wonderfully. I could never go back to the junky thing I started out playing.

My first purchased sword was a Marto wall-hanger my parents bought for me from Disney World. It was not meant for cutting or actual sword play, and did not represent what a real sword is supposed to do or is actually capable of. Years later, I bought a Del Tin sword, and learned the difference between a wall hanger and an actual reproduction sword meant for sparring. Today, I own better replicas, including some Albions. They are the most accurate handling, best tracking, historically balanced swords I own, and the equal to even some custom pieces that cost double the price. So for me, I learned through experience that it's better to pay the price for a properly made sword, particularly if your goal is to handle, cut with or experience what historical swords are all about. Otherwise, a shiny stainless steel wall-hanger is just as nice on the wall as a badly balanced, overly heavy, incorrectly ground replica sword costing a few hundred bucks. They both serve equally in this role, but as far as being capable of what a real sword is supposed to do, these cannot compare to saving up for a great piece like an Albion (or other similar make).

Caveat Emptor, there's lots of swords and sword-like objects out there. This site is place place to learn about the differences without wasting good money. You cannot go wrong buying an Albion. Most everything else priced at or below them is inferior, or not as good a value. If performance in a historical context is not important, then buy what you wish.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Phillip Caron wrote:
Then get an Albion or Atrim" that is fine, but why? It seems to be a "Sword 101" question in a "Sword 618" world.


Fortunately, we've created a hell of a primer in the form of this site to answer your questions. Happy Look at as many historical examples as you can find (start with some of the 150 articles on our Features page). Then look at as many pics and reviews of replica swords as you can (the Collections and Reviews pages have over 500 pieces between them). Read the informal reviews in our forums. Read other sites' reviews as well (If you're curious what makes our reviews different than most, read our Review FAQ).

If you want to pass sword 101, expect a little homework. Happy

The bottom line is that for many people on this site, historical accuracy is key. Every page on the site says "A Resource for Historic Arms and Armour Collectors" (emphasis mine), so that will be a prime focus. Go to SBG where they focus more on price or other places and you'll see different sets of standards. Decide which set is closest to yours.

For me, DSA items don't look enough like historical swords. And if the looks--shapings of components, including blade geometry--are off, the handling will be, too, because those things work together. On top of that, they are sloppy with the copy on their website. For me, attention to all the details is of supreme importance.

When I was less experienced, I did just want cool sword-looking objects and I was on a budget. And I bought a lot of stuff I later sold. But I learned from it all.

So it comes down to your needs and budget. If you can afford to experiment and buy things you may or may not regret later, get a DSA or a Windlass or whatever. There's value in owning those things and they are exactly what some collectors want. My needs are different these days and I buy accordingly. My collection is smaller now than it used to be, but I'm happier with the quality.

Happy

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T.F. McCraken wrote:
Other than some slight differences, I'd say there is no apparant difference between them except for Albion being a bigger name.


I guess what is apparent to one person is not to another, eh?

The two swords are drastically different from one another. There are very, very few things in common between them.

When I look at the DSA sword, I see a sword that is nothing like anything history has left us. This matters to me, but does not necessarily have to matter to anyone else. We are, however, discussing differences, not personal tastes. The differences from the DSA sword to something from history are drastic and include proportion, line, shape, mass, weight distribution, materials, etc. etc. etc.

You can see some photos I took of my own Dane in this topic or in my collection gallery. I hope that these photos reveal shape, volume, proportion and detail that simply cannot be found on the lower priced sword. I suppose you have to trust me when I say that these differences are not merely cosmetic, but are in fact greatly influential to the functionality and dynamics of the piece as well. These things go hand in hand in creating the whole of the piece and end up creating a wholly different piece in the end.

Quote:
But, that is only MY opinion.


My own opinion is that the DSA sword is not only extremely non-historical, it looks extremely inelegant and lacking of any pleasing proportions to my eye. I find it to be downright ugly.

Quote:
If you JUST decided to get into the genre swords are in, start with the $310.00 DSA one and if it catches your fancy, think about the Albion.


I disagree with this advice greatly. That isn't to say I'd suggest buying an expensive top-dollar Albion off the starting line (in fact, let me categorically say that I do not suggest that). I would, however, suggest avoiding ugly, lower-quality swords for many, many reasons.

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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Phillip Caron wrote:
Actually, I did that very thing. I have a Godfred Viking from Hanwei. I am happy with it, and I got the "get a sword" out of my system.


Others may disagree, but I think you made a good choice for your first sword.

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D. Phillip Caron




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Nathan. The deciding factor was the folded forging pattern in the fuller. I am not at all sure that a Dane would have a woven leather grip. In short, "I ain't buyin' that part". But then, my wife's forfathers may have arrived on these shores in a longship. In new adventures allies are good to have.
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William P




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 8:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i can echo the forums general opinion, ive handled pretty much only blunts, but ive handled blunts of two main makers, hanwe and manning imperial, the hanwei swords are their practical line, meant for reenactment and stage, their hand and a half sword has a giant pommel which means all the appreciable weight is n the handle, and the practical norman sword,
conversely when i got a chance to handle the basic model 3 lobed pommel swords from manning imperial, they were, easily better handling and more lively swordsbut they cost a LOT more, the viking sword cost about 3-4 times as much as my practical norman sword costs.
but overall if you have the money to spend, buy a sword from arms and armour, del tin, albion,or even manning imperial (though he is arguably more on the same plane as custom makers like michael piluka and owen bush
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, welcome to the site, and I hope you understand that we are trying to be helpful in giving you some opinions about the different qualities that make a good sword that would look and perform similarly to a period sword.

Fortunately even some of the lower end quality swords have improved considerably compared to what they where many years ago: Look at some of the mid level makers like Windlass, Valiant Armoury, Hanwei/Paul Chen that have some " decent handling swords in their product lines ( Not all of them are great but some are fairly good aesthetically, in handling and in general historical look ).

Then you have progressively better makers like Del Tin which are a little heavy in general but look " right " for the most part.

Then you have the performance makers who put more emphasis on function than aesthetics like Angus Trim but are changing their design philosophy to improve appearance and historic plausibility.

Then you have Albion, A&A and a few others at the top end of the production makers. ( Note: A&A does also do custom work ).

After this you are in custom makers, a few of which are still priced close to an Albion for custom work like Michael Pikula followed by more established makers with much higher prices and often long wait times to get into their production cues.

I think one can find satisfactory swords in the mid-price range that will at least give you the qualities of a real sword but not the best you can have.

Just as an example: You go into a new sport like golf ( By the way I know little or nothing about golf myself ) and you buy your first clubs. Will you appreciate the subtleties or be able to make best use the most expensive equipment out there ? Maybe not, but you need at least good equipment to learn how to play because if you buy really bad golf clubs you will probably be unable to learn to play well.

So looking at a display of golf clubs the really good ones will look pretty much the same to you as the really bad ones and you might not even be able to feel the difference handling them before you at least get good enough at the game to know what you are looking for in a good club ....... so thrust us an Albion is among the top of the line of production swords. Wink Big Grin Cool If I had to really fight with a sword, in period, I would feel confident in using an Albion or one from the other top makers

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Tom King




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being one of the few on this forum that actually own a DSA sword, i think i may be able to help you out. Overall they are very good for the price point. The problem is that so many people group them as the worst of the high end production swords instead of the best of the munitions grade training weapons. The Darksword 2 handed danish sword costs 17% of the price tag for an Albion Dane, but it isn't 17% the sword. Its like challenging a jeep to drag race a Lamborghini. Both are good but in a one dimensional test there is always a clear victor. As far as the actual handling of Darksword weapons, i find it to be rather good. My von Eglofstein war sword has a POB of about five inches from the cross guard and when used two handed has very good recovery time. The stats (including weight) are similar to an albion "baron" war sword, but for 30% of the price tag. At the price point some shortcuts are definitely made and some more attention could be placed into the blade, but it looks nice and has good handling characteristics. The scabbards are also very good. wood cored with decent leather. The steel quality (1060 high carbon) is great in these and they can take a lot of abuse.

As far as your purposes, if you need a backyard cutter almost anything can be sharpened enough to cut through a water bottle or tatami mat. Hanwie tinkers have bad stock sharpening but good steel quality, so with some work could suit that purpose. the practical Hanwie tinkers are decent sparring swords, but are rather light. They handle great however. (they are also all on closeout at Kultofathena.com right now and can be picked up cheap)
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Phillip Caron wrote:
My objective would be to get a sword of a quality that a medievil person, at least at a minimum leval, would be willing to take into combat. If the response is; Then get an Albion or Atrim" that is fine, but why? It seems to be a "Sword 101" question in a "Sword 618" world.


If you can't already tell the difference and if you don't already know the answer to the question you are asking about value, get the Darksword because you're just not ready to appreciate an Albion yet. You have to put some time into learning different swords (not just about them). You need to actually feel the details and examine the nuances of products from a variety of vendors to appreciate the more elegant differences between them. Just as you must do with any other fine thing. Try to find some opportunities to spend time with the upscale product (or ideally with as many products as you can) without buying. There are ways to do this. Go to some blade shows. Host a cutting party. Find a game con or fair frequented by some vendors. Approach this any other way you're just going to end up unsatisfied because it sounds like you're still exploring what you like.

Honestly this is one of those "if you have to ask you can't <insert whatever you want to here>" moments. The answer sucks but its also the blunt truth of things. If you don't know the answer you will be best served to go get more experience.

In the meantime if anybody tries to tell you the the Darksword is in the same league as the Albion in any way at all I'd recommend that you carefully consider whether you should trust anything that person tells you about swords. The Darksword can be a good value and the Albion can be a bad value depending on the perspective of the buyer but that only means the buyer has needs that define the perception of value more than the sword does. Put another way my Honda is a good value for me but that does not mean its as good a performance car as an Audi R8, Ferarri California, Austin Martin DB9, BMW, Mercedes, or Tesla (which all appear to exhibit the same ~6:1 cost ratio as the Albion and Darksword in question). It just means that I don't need that high performance. I probably won't appreciate that high performance. I likely can't pay to repair or maintain that high performance. I certainly can't afford that high performance and I won't be happy sacrificing everything else I'll have to sacrifice to have an incredible ride. The Honda is just the better value for me which really tells you nothing about any of the cars even if I think that Honda is the greatest (and tell you) unless I include enough information about me for you to appreciate the context and limitations of my answer. Unfortunately in the world of cars and swords this is something that people rarely do.

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Last edited by Joe Fults on Sat 31 Dec, 2011 11:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Sat 31 Dec, 2011 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a large collection which includes custom, A&A, Albion, Windlass, ATRIM, Del Tin, VA, Gen2 and DSA. I started with the lower end swords and eventually worked my way into the higher end. Had I the knowledge when I started, I would have not purchased the majority of the lower end swords.

The worst handling and functional swords I have are DSA. The reason being is DSA markets their swords to new collectors with a sharpening option and blunt for reenactment groups for blade-on-blade use. There are not 2-different lines of swords and they use the same blades. So - the bottom line is you get a sharpened sparring sword. If they had 2-different lines of blades, it would make more sense.

Windlass has some diamonds in their inventory and while not perfect, are well made and handle quite well.

VA has nice swords for the price and their scabbards and fittings are usually nicer than their swords. Their prices which include the scabbards are great for a new collector.

Del Tin has some good models but you need to check the stats on each model to determine if it will handle right for the sword type.

Gen2 swords are great for backyard beaters and to use for training. I like their blades,

ATRIMs are great cutting swords and that is their function.

A&A makes very nice swords and do excellent custom work. You really cannot go wrong with any of their models.

Albion makes IMO the best production swords. I have custom swords that cost more than the Albion ones I own but are not better in comparision. I can pick up one of my customs and the same type sword made by Albion and just shake my head for buying the custom. The custom may be nice but not any better made and the Albion looks and handles just as nice.

Bottom line is to buy what makes you happy. I have learned that quanity over quality only works for so long. The more you handle and research different swords, the more you will understand the differences in the different companies. If price is a major factor - buy a used A&A or Albion as they come up for sale on all 3-forums for good deals.

It is really up to each individual to determine what they want out of a sword purchase. Forums exist to cater to that individuals personal tastes and allow them to interact with like-minded people. I belong to all 3 major forums but do not mix apples and oranges as I know the overall atmosphere of each.
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