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Marc Ridgeway




Location: Atlanta , Gawga
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Mar, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Albion Mark Hallmark Series Sword of Svante Nilsson         Reply with quote

Albion Mark Hallmark Series Sword of Svante Nilsson

Marc Kaden Ridgeway
Atlanta , GA
6 March 2012






There comes a time when every man must draw a line and say, "I go this far, and no further." Now that I have acquired this "totem of opulence" as a friend put it, that time has come in my collecting. After this review I will resign from the forum, retire from public life, withdraw and appreciate my collection in its completed state. So this is a farewell review.

Got you Fillipo!!! Just kidding of course. This sword is not mine, just another purchase winding it's way to Italy into the arms of that god-like collector, Fillipo.

I was happy to get a chance to handle and experience this sword.

Historical Overview

For the sake of simplicity , the entire historical overview is courtesy of Albion Mark.

Svante Nilsson was born somewhere around 1460 from parents Nils Bosson Sture and Birgitta Karlsdotter Bonde, both members of the most prominent nobility. He was related to Karl Knutsson Bonde, a man who was elected King of Sweden no less than three times.

This was a time of shifting loyalties and fragile alliances.
During the years of the union between Denmark, Sweden and Norway, many battles were waged and towns and strongholds burned. The seat of power wavered between the Danish court and strong noble families in Sweden who preferred a Swedish regent on the throne in opposition to the union.

Svante Nilsson Sture became a major player in this struggle and fought on both sides of the conflict, sometimes supporting sometimes opposing the Danish claim of the Swedish throne.

Being a member of the high council from 1482 he was finally elected Regent of Sweden at the death of his old adversary, the powerful and dynamic Sten Sture the Elder in the year 1504.

Svante Nilsson Sture is enigmatic and fascinating: shrewd politician, bold warrior and struggling diplomat. From him we have a legacy of one of the finest late medieval fighting swords in existance in Sweden today.

The original rests in the museum of Västerås Cathedral, where Svante Nilsson Sture was buried in January, 1512.


The sword of the viceroy is unique.

When Svante Sture's grave was opened in 1958, during a restoration of the cathedral, this sword was discovered with his body.

It is one of very few swords that have been found in Swedish medieval graves, let alone that of a prominent historical person.

It is also an important find from an international perspective, in particular because of the unusual shape of its blade. Even though the sword is now in part badly corroded, it is clearly a high-quality weapon of war.

It has a total length of 117.5 cm and weighs around 1.8 kg. The grip is long, giving ample space for both hands. However, with a point of balance some 9 cm from the cross, it handles well with one hand only.

Though the Svante sword looks almost delicate in photographs, it is actually a very large and imposing sword, carrying a lot of authority -- a true warrior's sword of the period, made for fighting, not display. The sword has an unusually powerful blade, and yet is surprisingly maneuverable and quick for its size

Stylistically-related swords are most frequently depicted in art from the 1490s to the mid-1520s.

One close parallel might be the sword of St. George in a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder, from 1506.

In The Disputation of Saints Erasmus and Maurice by Matthias Grünewald from around 1520, a crossbowman in the background is girded with a hand-and-a-half sword, which shows interesting similarities with the sword of Svante Nilsson.

A woodcut by Altdorfer from the first decade of the 16th century shows Emperor Maximilian I girded with a very similar sword.

A few preserved weapons in various collections display similar features, making a dating of the sword to the years around 1500 probable.

(paraphrased from the article in Warrior Magazine -- for full on-line text go to Svante Article )













Specifications

Blade : 33.5 in
Grip : 10 in of leather
Pommel : 2in
Weight : 4 lbs .02 oz.
Width at cross : 1 5/8 in.
Width past ricasso: 2 in
Width at COP : 1.5 in
Width 2 in from tip: 1 in
Ricasso : 2 in
Thickness : .4 in
COP : @ 21 in
POB : 3.4 in

Albion and I disgree on some of the specs. Lacking calipers, I defer to them on thickness but stand by the rest of my specs to a tolerance of 1/8 of an inch or so. I did find a review by Russ Ellis with specs closer to mine than Albion's.













Aesthetics , Fit & Finish

The 33.5 inch blade is milled from 1075 steel in the XVIIIb fashion, and is deeply hollowground and polished to a high satin. The blade has a mid-rib thickness of .5 in at the base and exhibits a nice dfistal taper. The blade measures 1 5/8 in wide at the ricasso, flaring to 2 in after the ricasso, then tapers in profile to 1 inch, just before the point...

The blade exhibits rather complex geometry, considering the taper, the ricasso, the deep hollow-grind... and is executed very cleanly. The edges are formed with a primary bevel, rather than the secondary bevel as on the Regent. This puzzles me a bit, as I hear that a hollow-ground sword should have a secondary bevel, yet neither the Earl, nor Svante do. The edge is as sharp as I have ever seen on a Euro sword, and the blade cuts through paper under its own weight.

The tapered handle is wrapped with 10 inches of leather over particularly heavy cord. The leather is dyed to a nice oxblood, and the rain guards top off a very nice hilt treatment. The fittings are investment cast from Peter Johnsson's wax originals, and fitted to the sword prior to the handle being fitted. The cross is a style 12 and its octagonal quillons bend into a pronounced "S" shape. The fluted pommel is a tpye T variant , and is 2 inches long as well as having an eneding diameter of 2 inches. On what would be the "public" side on a Japanese sword, the front three facets have hollows, probably originall intended to hold carved totems of faith... or perhaps not...

The entire thing is finsihed off with a permanent peen , that is lobed in a floral design. The assembly is tight and solid and the level of fit & finish is impeccable.






Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway




Location: Atlanta , Gawga
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Mar, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote










Handling Characteristics

At 4 pounds and a fraction of an ounce, the Svante is by no means a light sword. In fact, for the length of the blade it is a very heavy sword.The handling , however, definitely belies this fact.

The long grip, and large pommel , together with the taper make this a sword that when swung with both hands, handles like a dream. When I say handles like a dream, I mean starts , stops and changes direrction like an iaito . The balance has been pulled back to just under 3.5 inches, and this fact makes this heavy sword capable of even one-handed use , with decent control. In fact, the only time this sword seems to feel its weight is when held one-handed, tip downward.

The long handle gives plenty of room to grip, and the heavy cord wrap under the leather provides plenty of grip.
















Cutting

Despite the insistence of Fillipo, I did not try cutting bamboo , or any heavier target with the Svante. I have no doubt it would have performed markedly, however it isn't mine to risk. As such, I cut a few milk jugs and bottles. The sword is just stupid sharp, and despite its extreme thickness performs great on these light targets.

I have a video, however on many swings my shirt pulled up over my firm, perfectly rounded belly. To save you folks the trauma , and me the embarassment, youre going to have to wait until tonight after work, so I can edit the offending partial nudity from the video.












Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Marc Ridgeway




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PostPosted: Wed 07 Mar, 2012 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote





The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Hmmm, it is hard to get critical when there is really nothing to criticise. Albion's usual high level of fit & finish is taken to the next step on the Svante. Nowhere does the geometry waver, nor anywhere is the finish marred, nor can I find any asymmetries. There are a couple of minor casting inclusions , but nothing to complain about. This sword is pretty near perfectly done. The only thing that I can really think to mention is that the seam on the handle wrap meanders a bit, but its really not an issue... the issue is that I've been spoiled by John Lundemo's perfect seams.

All in all its safe to say on the Svante, its all good.














Conclusion

The Albion Mark PeterJohnsson Museum Collection Hallmark Series Limited Edition Svante Nilsson Sture Sword (wow that is a LOT of names) is a well designed ,well executed , well built sword. It is sharp as hell, cuts well, handles terrific , looks great and is pretty unique.

So does it justify its pricetag?. Well that depends what kind of buyer you are, to my mind.

To me , The Svante is a beautiful, unique sword that is a cut above the other Albions I've owned and handled. To me , I would say the fit and finish and quality easily justifies a price of $2k to $2.5k. Of course the Svante costs more... over a thousand more. This is where the buyer comes into play.

The cost (and worth) of the Svante also includes many hours of painstaking research and documentation of the museum original by the master Peter Johnsson. Then those hours of research and documentation are put to work creating a replica of exhausting detail, and exacting historical standards.

Is that worth the extra scratch? Well , yeah ... I think it is , to the right buyer. You see , I'm not so much concerned with histrocity myself, but even I think it is pretty damn cool that the Svante is such an exacting replica of a single exemplary historic original... damn cool. Holding this sword , the feeling is pretty darn close to what the sword felt like in the hands of the Viceroy of Sweden, centuries ago. That is definitely worth paying the extra bit for research and development, if you are in that position.

Myself, I just don't have the disposable income to be able to drop $3700 on a sword no matter how cool it is and how true to the original... but if I had the means too, I would in a heartbeat.

As it is, I guess I'll keep an eye out for another , like this one, on the secondary market.

Well done Albion .

Thanks to Fillipo for the chance to handle this great sword.














Marc Kaden Ridgeway
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own this sword since a few years now and I have used it heavily, resharpened it quite some times, done test cutting and test thrusting with it to the point where it got abusive.
I even managed to snap of the last 3mm of the point in test thrusting.

So far the sword performed flawlessly and was more than expected.

The best description of this sword was given to me by his father, Peter Johnsson.
He aptly described it as "a tank in ballet shoes". Since then I usually refer to it as the "tank".

Great sword, great work!

Herbert

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Historical European Martial Arts
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2012 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another nice review Marc. Thanks for posting.
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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

MarcThanks for the review and the photos too! Given that my lifestyle has taken a bit of a turn, is it worth it? You bet, if I had that disposable income knowing what I do owning mine for I forget how many years now, I would jump all over one of these again...! But the problem I have found that once you own the grail of swords where do you go from there in collecting...?

Herbert not to take away from Marc's posting... can you post up photos of your user Albion Svante? Mine has been a wall hanger so I'm super curious to see photos of yours after what you posted!
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of course I can.... just give me a day.

until then - have a good time!

Herbert

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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 1:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are the requested pictures.
The sword was used in a lot of test cutting sessions and demonstrations.
Several people have cut with it and even more have handled it.
The point war reground after having broken off (due to intended abuse).
The scratch marks are due to cutting different materials, some not thoroughly cleaned like pumpkin with bits of mud etc.
The stains are purely pumpkin. Pumpkin is a great cutting medium but it stains the blade extremely. The stains can only be ground (polished) off - I tried almost all other cleaning methods.

Without further ado....



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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 1:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pristine swords are nice, but it's always another thing when seeing swords that have been used. It has a different story to tell! Thanks for sharing your pics with us, and thanks for using your expensive swords extensively! This makes the sword become ALIVE!
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Filippo Fantini





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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Herbert I am Filippo, the Svante's owner (that is, when it will arrive in Italy).. have you ever considered refurbishment for your Svante from the guys at Albion? I bet they could fix it for good!
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I also have the viewpoint that a sword grows as you use it. The more use it has seen, the more stories there are to it and the more it grows on you. I also own the Solingen and I really - I mean really - have used it. My Solingen has seen probably hundreds of cuts, has been resharpened various times, made contact with bucklers and in one occasion a rock.

I understand people who put their beloved weapon on the wall. These swords are also pieces of art and craftsmanship like a statue or a painting. Having them as a display makes as much sense as a beautiful statue. But to use them is something different. They loose the pristine beauty but grow character.

So I use my swords - even the Johnsson ones (although these I am the only one to use - and it shows).

I don't see why I should send them to Albion. They would bring the sword back to perfect, but after a summer, it would be the same again. As you can see, the sword is well cared for and far from neglected. It just shows the signs of usage. The broken point is perfectly reground and so far nobody spotted it not being original.

Thanks for your input and appreciation!
If you want/need any more information or picture, just let me know. I'm happy to help.

Herbert

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Kirill R




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great pictures Herbert! I also share your view and hope to put my Albion Crecy to the test as thoroughly.

How does your edge hold up after all that cutting and how often do you resharpen? Any chance you could share pictures/video of the blade in action against targets?

Just curious, do you resharpen your blades yourself or you send them back to Albion?

Perhaps this should be in another thread, but I would really also like to see your pictures of the Solingen! Happy
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I do a lot of practices with my expensive swords too and I repair them myself.... and the marks that remained there gave the swords a unique life. There was no single other sword that was like any of them. Big Grin
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Ben Sweet




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Mar, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Herbert thanks for posting up your photos! Very cool!
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had mine for a number of years and it's one of my favorites. An exceptional sword.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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