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Hadrian Coffin
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Location: Oxford, England
Joined: 03 Apr 2008

Posts: 383

PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2015 6:51 pm    Post subject: Original 'Viking' Sword, Horrifying freak accident         Reply with quote

Hello all,

Forewarning, this is about severe damage to an original viking sword.

I am writing this with the deepest sadness in my heart. Some may recall, about a year ago my house (and many antique arms and armour) burned down after an electrical fire. I wound up getting an insurance payoff, and with it purchased some new additions to my collection. The biggest purchase, and most expensive item I have owned in my life, is an original Norwegian Single-Edged 'Viking' sword of the 8th-9th century with a pattern-welded blade and two piece pommel.

I moved houses, and am renting an apartment near the American university where I am currently finishing my thesis on Viking Clothing. The sword got in a few days ago, I put it on a couch in my living room, and was trying to get insurance on it.... when.. of course. THE CEILING COLLAPSED IN MY HOUSE. Directly on top of the sword. The blade was bent on a ~45º angle. (the collapsed ceiling also damaged an early 18th century Cuttoe, also bending the blade severely).

I am seeking advice as to how much this damage will affect value (to get pre-damage value, see https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19796/lot/55/), if there is any way to possibly straighten the sword without further damaging it (keep in mind it is pattern-welded).

The damage was caused by the rental house, but I am not sure how to go about forcing them to pay... especially as I have to leave the country when my degree ends in May. Any thoughts?

Pics of before and after are included. I am heartbroken Sad This sword lasted 1,200 years... to go out in such a disgraceful manner. Cry
I honestly think something must be wrong with my luck on these things.


Thank you,
Hadrian



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Hadrian Coffin
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, England
Joined: 03 Apr 2008

Posts: 383

PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2015 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Post ceiling collapse.


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Einar Drønnesund





Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh wow, you really have had some terrible luck, my friend, I am so sorry.

I imagine the owner of the building would be responsible for damages caused by a ceiling collapse.
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Lukas MG
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Location: Germany
Joined: 23 Feb 2010

Posts: 317

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh God, I can understand your pain Eek! Cry

I have straightened an original french 1822 cavalry saber just the way I straighten new blades, with careful heating of the bent area to around 200°C and a vice. I've also seen some 16th century swords that still flexed like a new blade so to me it seems a heat treat doesn't deteriorate over time (and why would it. Unless of course some idiot heats the blade up to remove rust or so...). Since your blade bent and didn't break, I would assume it can be straightened just fine but I would strongly suggest you ask a professional arms curator.

Custom sword maker:

http://www.lukasmaestlegoer.com
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Talk to David Edge at The Wallace collection or Bob Savage at Royal Armouries Leeds. Both conserve and curate weapons at the highest level. They will be able to advise, don't touch it until then. I'm sure the blade will appreciate the efforts you are making somehow!
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 5:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lukas MG wrote:
I would assume it can be straightened just fine but I would strongly suggest you ask a professional arms curator.


Failing that a lawyer might be the kind of professional you want to seek out.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Only if the individuals, then the insurers cant sort it.

My wife's family motto is never involve insurers and lawyers. And they are insurers and lawyers!

Before all that happens Hadrian needs a quote from a professional conservator/restorer.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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David Lewis Smith




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not going to speculate on the sword, however:

Go to your local Government Housing Commision they can often times mediate your case for free. You also will have the added benefit of your realtor being reported for maintaining unsafe housing for rent.

Get a lawyer. This will turn in to a legal matter very quickly.

David L Smith
MSG (RET)
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

He's in England David so things are a little different. At least that's my understanding of where he is.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Lewis Smith wrote:
I am not going to speculate on the sword, however:

Go to your local Government Housing Commision they can often times mediate your case for free. You also will have the added benefit of your realtor being reported for maintaining unsafe housing for rent.

Get a lawyer. This will turn in to a legal matter very quickly.


What can kind costs can Hadrian expect? Not that UK lawyers are cheap but I heard US lawyers are on the pricey side.
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At least you weren't in the house when the ceiling fell in!
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David Lewis Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

E.B. Erickson wrote:
At least you weren't in the house when the ceiling fell in!


Indeed!

David L Smith
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David Lewis Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:

What can kind costs can Hadrian expect? Not that UK lawyers are cheap but I heard US lawyers are on the pricey side.


Depends on where he lives, ect. a New York City Lawyer is going to be more then a lawyer in the City of Buffalo which is also in New York State. That is why he should go to the local housing commission first. The housing commission will be a government agency that will not charge a fee.

David L Smith
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
At least you weren't in the house when the ceiling fell in!


Second that 'indeed' from David.

I'm going to stay out of this (says he, about to finish off with a long stream of advice anyway...) as its between Hadrian, his landlord and their respective insurers.

If he's in the UK we have a different system to the US and lawyers are the very last port of call. We don't have Housing commissions or similar, its between the tenant and the landlord and the respective insurers. You'd never be able to get the agent that let it either, again we have a different legal system, its totally down to the landlord. I'm a tenant and a landlord plus have strong family legal and insurance connections.

Costs? I've sorted things out with a letter from a lawyer that cost fifty bucks and cases that needed tens of thousands. It wont come to that so the scale of lawyers fees is a bit pointless. It makes a difference as to which bit of the country he's in too. Some lawyers in London are on £500 an hour, others £35.

Hoping the sword is made right again soon and its as painless as possible to all.

Best to all,

Griff

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First: My condolences. That is really bad and I truly hope you can get that sorted out quickly. It's terrible that a millennia-old sword has to suffer yet more indignities.

Secondly: Advice-wise, again, I am not a lawyer. However, I did have to deal with a similar circumstance; the ceiling in an apartment that I was living in at the time fell down due to a bad water leak. And then it happened again a few months later!

What happened was that the landlord cleaned it up for us and gave us a break on our rent for a month or two (it was a long time ago so I don't remember the exact details), but in our case, there was no serious financial damage other than a few wet books and some photos stuck together. It wasn't worth fussing about. That said, had the damages been more severe, we were told that we would have to take it up with the upstairs residents, who had caused the first leak by stressing their washing machine out. The second one was a mechanical failure in the toilet upstairs, so that was on the landlord, but there was no damage in that case (other than a couple of drop-ceiling tiles and a wet carpet).

In your case, obviously there is a serious financial and historical investment that's been bent 45 degrees. Presumably you have paperwork to accompany the piece. Establish responsibility for the damage (upstairs residents? landlord? builder? etc), and send a strongly worded but polite note requesting compensation. You are a renter, so you have certain rights that the landlord has to stand by.

Either way, absolutely speak to your local housing commission and to a lawyer. The housing commission may be available through your local government, so check in at the courthouse or wherever they handle such things. I don't know that they're necessarily going to care about a $33K sword but if you can prove the investment (really it should be no different from, say, a collection of rare stamps or cars) they will probably back you up on general principles. Also examine your rental contract in minute detail.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know I said I'd butt out but:

Hadrian Coffin

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Nothing I'm reading in the very useful US based advice is applicable in Hadrian's case if he is in the UK. Maybe we should have Housing Commissions, they sound useful, but we don't, nothing like them whatsoever.

Unless his property is local authority owned, and he's mentioned a landlord so I dont think that's the case, then his only recourse first of all is to them, the landlord. Then the insurers, then the insurance ombudsman (our insurance industry referees) , then, and only then, lawyers but they have no jurisdiction at this level over insurers unless the breach of commercial law is catastrophic or a very bad judgement made by a company.

Maybe I'm a bit more legally focused at the moment as I'm deep in contract law over events concerning Magna Catra events, liability insurance and other start of the business year paperwork.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I moved houses, and am renting an apartment near the American university where I am currently finishing my thesis on Viking Clothing. The sword got in a few days ago, I put it on a couch in my living room, and was trying to get insurance on it.... when.. of course. THE CEILING COLLAPSED IN MY HOUSE. Directly on top of the sword. The blade was bent on a ~45º angle. (the collapsed ceiling also damaged an early 18th century Cuttoe, also bending the blade severely).



Maybe I misread his original post but I believe this means he is currently residing in the US and that it is where the damage was caused. In the grand scope of things Oxford is near the US when compared to: say China but it's still a rather long commute.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Apologies, I've read it wrong! D'oh!

But if anyone wants to have a ceiling fall on their stuff in the UK, the info is there.

I'll get me cloak/bonnet..... Best of luck with the housing commission!

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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James Moore





Joined: 27 Jan 2011

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would absolutely second Mark's comments. Contact Bob at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, or David Edge and Alan Williams in the Wallace collection as the first ports of call, and till then DO NOTHING to it.

Modern conservators can do incredible stuff, turn rusted conglomerates into beautiful swords, repair all sorts of damage. This is exactly the sort of thing they're trained in. And if not the RA and Wallace collections, they will know who to point you to.
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Mark Griffin




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

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 30 Mar, 2015 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

But if in the States (hangs head...) Dirk Breiding at Philladelphia will be able to help.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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