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Austin Dixon




Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Joined: 10 May 2013

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: question from first-time sword buyer         Reply with quote

I used to take foil fencing classes in college, and now I've found a new school and I'm starting to get back into it. I'd like to feel what practicing with the real thing feels like, so I'm looking to buy a vintage rapier or smallsword. I'm not concerned with finding a valuable collector's piece or a battle-ready blade. I just want something weighted right and built well enough to go through the motions with. Preferably it will also be pretty enough to hang in my office the rest of the time.

Unfortunately, the dealers I've seen online are way too expensive for my budget, so I'll have to search until I find an unusually good deal, which means I'm wading through fakes. I'm trying to teach myself the differences between cheap fakes, good reproductions, and real antiques, but I'm having a hard time with it.

For instance, this one looks vintage, but I'm guessing it's a modern reproduction that's been artificially aged. Am I right? Any advice or suggestions for me in my search?





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Dan P




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Jun 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

May I suggest, that almost any sword of the type you're looking for you find that is an authentic antique, and still in good enough condition to wave around and such, is going to be extremely expensive. Given your reasons for wanting a sword-

Quote:
" I'd like to feel what practicing with the real thing feels like, so I'm looking to buy a vintage rapier or smallsword. I'm not concerned with finding a valuable collector's piece or a battle-ready blade. I just want something weighted right and built well enough to go through the motions with."


There's nothing "wrong" with a good reproduction when it comes to balance and weight, and you'll get many orders of magnitude more choice in getting a sword that is perfect for you. Not just in length and weight, but also style and historical period. If you'd like a recommendation for a maker, look into Darkwood Armory. I own two of their swords, a sharp and a blunt, and a fencing dagger, and they are very servicable. The great thing is they are made to my preferred length, which is shorter than the historical norm, so if I'd wanted an antique I would have found it almost impossible to find a sword appropriate for myself.
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I use some Darkwood small sword fittings on converted Uhlmann blades for small sword work, you can barely tell the difference between ones you handle in collections. And thats something you need to do if you are considering getting and using something that 'real'. .

Don't forget that even with originals in these classes (and there is a LOT of difference between the feel, weight, heft etc of the two types you want) There is considerable variation of how they feel and work.

That sword you posted looks to be 'original' but a cheap presentation or costume sword, not that functional. Not my period but something like a cadet or very late stepping out item. I'd guess the A on the monogram stands for artillery, given the decoration.

But these types were made up until relatively recently, so when you say 'original' it means many things to many people.
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 619

PostPosted: Sat 11 May, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it in your position. The foil was never intended to approximate a real weapon, but to serve as a tool to teach and enforce good fencing habits. The sharp version of the epee is sometimes referred to as an epee du combat; it's very similar in handling to the sporting blade and was often used for dueling, but both the smallsword and rapier are very different and unique beasts which are probably best appreciated for their own merits rather than their superficial similarity to the foil.

You may wish to first expand your fencing repertoire to include the epee and saber, then use that as a basis for exploring more martially-focused pursuits like Hutton's saber manual or Angelo's smallsword treatise. In any event, just taking up the epee will be a huge step in the direction you seem to want to go, and can be done for a fraction of the cost. There are also heavier bated blades (like the schlager) that could give you the ability to fence safely with something more like a real sword. Here's an example.

I'm primarily an epeeist, so please understand that my opinion is extremely biased in that direction. Wink

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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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 150

PostPosted: Sat 18 May, 2013 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This guy made the best fencing sword with that price range in my opinion. http://regenyei.sg18.net/en_others_others.html
Descanse En Paz
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 2,256

PostPosted: Sat 18 May, 2013 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, Foong! This is a new one on me! Where did you find this maker? Don't mean to steal a thread here...but...Wow. Those are some nice looking swords!............McM
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posts: 619

PostPosted: Sat 18 May, 2013 5:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are also these guys. They offer a point d'arret, which is exceedingly rare. 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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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 150

PostPosted: Sat 18 May, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
Wow, Foong! This is a new one on me! Where did you find this maker? Don't mean to steal a thread here...but...Wow. Those are some nice looking swords!............McM


I am very much interested at HEMA and discover alot of experienced HEMA guy use his sword

Descanse En Paz
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,838

PostPosted: Sat 18 May, 2013 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Austin

Welcome aboard

The sword you picture is the swords worn by the Grand Army of the Republic aka the GAR. A brief history linked.
http://suvcw.org/gar.htm

The sword id based on the US 1860 staff and staff corp for the federals during the American Civil War. A pdf file here on my pages.
Swords for Officers of the Staff and Staff Corps-v1i6.pdf

The US model was in turn copied from the French stylings. The 1860 model was a mainstay in the US Army until the m1902 sword for all officers was adopted.

There are a lot of sound old swords of this type at decent prices and worthwhile if thje type appeals more than modern reproductions. It is also then history in your hand. A very nice GAR with scabbard can usually be found less than $500 and without a scabbard in fair condition for less than you might think. The sword you picture should not list for more than $200. Check around for a GAR sword if that one appeals. They run less in cost than the US Army examples. There are. of course reproductions of this type you might find at less than $150. There is one you may see out there with a white plastic grip and listed as a Ulysses Grant presentation (for instance).

An old file of antique dealer links posted here. some links will be outdated but you get the idea. It should open in IE or another application.
Dealer hyperlinks.doc

I have even more bookmarked in an Ebay folder but a lot of that not very arms specific.

Lots of options out there.

Cheers

GC
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Sun 19 May, 2013 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you're in the Birmingham area you might want to check with the local SCA group (barony of iron mountain?). they used to have a rapier sub-set that seemed interested in historical manuals and practices. i joined ARMA for a number of reasons, but the SCA guys gave me some useful information. i don't practice WMA anymore but i think there's an ARMA group in B'ham now. i'm sure somebody around here can give you a free taste of rapier fencing and show some weapon options. All i have are sharps.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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