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Eric Feder




Location: Alhambra, CA
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 12 Jul, 2015 6:24 pm    Post subject: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

Does anyone here know a Lithuanian antique arms dealer named Mindaugas Simkunas? He operates his own company/website under the name “karabela” (http://www.karabela-arms.com/) and also sells on eBay under the name “karabelaii”.

The reason I ask is to let everyone know that I am currently in the process of hiring a lawyer through the U.S. Consulate in Lithuania and I am also contacting the Lithuanian Heritage Department to seek assistance in forcing Mr. Simkunas to refund nearly $9,500 he owes me for two antique helmets I purchased from him in September 2014, both of which he has failed to deliver. Since November 2014 Mr. Simkunas has been putting me off, telling me repeatedly that shipment of the helmets would be very soon, then saying that he couldn’t obtain the location of the helmets from the shipping company and finally, claiming that he discovered in February that the helmets are being held by the Italian Heritage Authority and that they would be shipped to me in mid-March. He has refused to honor his promise to refund my money if I got tired of waiting despite my extremely emphatic requests since February 6th to him to do so. In the meantime the euro has depreciated against the dollar over the past ten months to the point that if Mr. Simkunas refunds only the 7,200 euros I paid him for the helmets last September, I will suffer a $1,400 loss. After giving him a final chance to make good on his delivery of the helmets by April 30th , which again he did not do, I demanded that he refund me in the dollars I spent in September 2014: $9,449.89. Again, he refused.

To provide some additional insight into Mr. Simkunas lack of character and ethics, I gave Mr. Simkunas approximately $15,500 in business since July 2014 IN ADDITION TO the $9,449.89 refund I have been requesting. So much for appreciation! Moreover, I recently discovered that Mr. Simkunas is knowingly selling fakes through both his e mail site “karabelaii” and also through e mail blasts to a list of clients; the most egregious example being a 19th century copy (described in Landshuter Rustkammer ‘s February 27/28 2015 auction catalog as such) of a 5-6th century spangenhelm-type helmet that Mr. Simkunas has been trying to sell, or in fact already sold, as genuine. Other examples of fakes include a “Medieval Knightly Sword” in fantastic condition offered at no reserve on eBay and sold in April for $2,025 and a 16th century “katzberger type” (his spelling) sword he sold on eBay in May for $660.

Should Mr. Simkunas attempt to argue the truth of what I say about him, I have retained copies of all my e mail correspondence with him that proves I'm not making any of this up.

I am curious as to whether any other collectors here know Mr. Simkunas, and if so, if you have found him to be as dishonest and unethical as I have. Perhaps I “came to the game” too late to know about an existing bad reputation of his?

While I’m on the subject, I sent ArmsandArmourAuctions.com an e mail regarding Mr. Simkunas’ shenanigans since they list him on their website as a dealer with a “Good selection of early edged weapons In Lithuania with contact offices in other European locations.” Of course, I offered them my e mail correspondence with Simkunas to prove the truth of my accusations since I don’t expect anyone to respond to mere innuendo. No reply whatsoever, so I sent them another e mail. Again I was totally ignored, which only leads to the conclusion that ArmsandArmourAuctions.com couldn’t care less about vetting any of the dealers they advertise on their website.
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jul, 2015 6:14 am    Post subject: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

What disappoints me is that Simkunas doesn´t have an eBay site and he doesn´t sell all his swords there. Instead he sells them, some genuine, via his own website.
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Eric Feder




Location: Alhambra, CA
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon 13 Jul, 2015 9:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

Shahril Dzulkifli wrote:
What disappoints me is that Simkunas doesn´t have an eBay site and he doesn´t sell all his swords there. Instead he sells them, some genuine, via his own website.


He does: he sells under the seller name "karabelaii".
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Scott M





Joined: 02 Aug 2015

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun 02 Aug, 2015 3:27 pm    Post subject: RE: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

Good idea contacting the Consutate. This guy sounds like a real crook. I will pass this information along to everyone I know so they will know to stay clear of this guy.
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Mon 10 Aug, 2015 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Eric

I bought a 17th century Polish winged hussars helmet and a 15th century Italian sword from Mindaugas Simkunas back in December 2014. It took until April 2015 for the sword to arrive, and the helmet never did arrive (by the way, I live in England).

There were a lot of emails back and forth over the 4 months or so that I was waiting, trying to find out what was going on with my items- I had sunk about £6,000 on these items and had received nothing. Mindaugas was the master of false hope- when he responded to emails he left me feeling hopeful, and genuinely believing each time that the items would be with me within a week or two..... It was only when the emails started to conflict and tell different stories that I started to have my doubts.

As I say, the sword eventually appeared, and it is a great item. The helmet never showed up, and he gave me a full refund in the end.

My feeling is that he is not dishonest, but is certainly incompetent, muddled and disorganised. He has some great items, but I would be very chary of dealing with him again, simply because the 4 months or so where my £6,000 was in limbo in Eastern Europe was a very stressful time.

As for your comments about some of his items being a bit fishy- I don't know a lot about that. The items I have bought I have been 100% happy with, but maybe other things he has are not so kosher.

I hope your situation resolves itself. Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence, and keep a timeline of all the promises and "delivery dates" he has given you. I found that issuing an ultimatum to him was the best way of getting my refund (I just said that I would claim it back through my credit card, and have him investigated for fraud. He paid up pretty sharp after that).
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Eric Feder




Location: Alhambra, CA
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2015 9:55 pm    Post subject: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

"My feeling is that he is not dishonest, but is certainly incompetent, muddled and disorganised. He has some great items, but I would be very chary of dealing with him again, simply because the 4 months or so where my £6,000 was in limbo in Eastern Europe was a very stressful time.

As for your comments about some of his items being a bit fishy- I don't know a lot about that. The items I have bought I have been 100% happy with, but maybe other things he has are not so kosher."


Thanks very much for your e mail Tom.

In addition to the three fake items I mentioned in my initial post (by the way, I copied-and-pasted the eBay ads and photos into Word documents for those three items and will be happy to PM them to you), please check out the "Rare European Gothic Sallet Helmet, 15th c." that Simkunas is currently offering on eBay as a genuine item for $4,999 "Buy It Now". An antique arms dealer friend of mine says that this sort of helmet, in this terrific condition, if genuine, could sell for over $40,000.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-Rare-European-Gothi...3aaeec38bb
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu 13 Aug, 2015 6:48 am    Post subject: Re: Warning about antique arms dealer Mindaugas Simkunas         Reply with quote

Eric Feder wrote:
"My feeling is that he is not dishonest, but is certainly incompetent, muddled and disorganised. He has some great items, but I would be very chary of dealing with him again, simply because the 4 months or so where my £6,000 was in limbo in Eastern Europe was a very stressful time.

As for your comments about some of his items being a bit fishy- I don't know a lot about that. The items I have bought I have been 100% happy with, but maybe other things he has are not so kosher."


Thanks very much for your e mail Tom.

In addition to the three fake items I mentioned in my initial post (by the way, I copied-and-pasted the eBay ads and photos into Word documents for those three items and will be happy to PM them to you), please check out the "Rare European Gothic Sallet Helmet, 15th c." that Simkunas is currently offering on eBay as a genuine item for $4,999 "Buy It Now". An antique arms dealer friend of mine says that this sort of helmet, in this terrific condition, if genuine, could sell for over $40,000.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/A-Rare-European-Gothi...3aaeec38bb


Hi Eric- yep, I've been watching that sallet myself. I was always taught that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! My thought is precisely the same as you- if it's such a great item why is it priced at bargain-basement price?

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Thu 13 Aug, 2015 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm seconding the suggestion of a chargeback -- hiring a lawyer (even in Lithuania) might end up being more expensive than the loss you'd take because of the difference in exchange rates.

Chargebacks are one of the few effective ways to deal with fraud or malfeasance in international transactions.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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Eric Feder




Location: Alhambra, CA
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri 14 Aug, 2015 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Goff wrote:
I'm seconding the suggestion of a chargeback -- hiring a lawyer (even in Lithuania) might end up being more expensive than the loss you'd take because of the difference in exchange rates.

Chargebacks are one of the few effective ways to deal with fraud or malfeasance in international transactions.


I already sent a retainer to the lawyer in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not sure how a chargeback works. I did contact Paypal months ago to help me to get a refund since I paid Simkunas through Paypal. Paypal did nothing, merely suggesting I negotiate with the seller.
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Mon 17 Aug, 2015 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Feder wrote:
Carl Goff wrote:
I'm seconding the suggestion of a chargeback -- hiring a lawyer (even in Lithuania) might end up being more expensive than the loss you'd take because of the difference in exchange rates.

Chargebacks are one of the few effective ways to deal with fraud or malfeasance in international transactions.


I already sent a retainer to the lawyer in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago.

I'm not sure how a chargeback works. I did contact Paypal months ago to help me to get a refund since I paid Simkunas through Paypal. Paypal did nothing, merely suggesting I negotiate with the seller.


When I was looking at getting my money refunded from this guy I also spoke to Paypal about it. They were utterly useless. I had paid through Paypal with a credit card, so I would have been able to claim my money back anyway.

When I told Simkunas that I had waited long enough and that I was going to (1) claim my money back through my credit card company and (2) instigate an investigation for fraud against him, he paid up in full, in a matter of days.

My suggestion is that you give him this ultimatum, and that you stick rigidly to it. Also, I assume you have his email address and are not dealing with him through eBay messenger or similar? If you want his email address I'll PM it to you.

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Nathan Morgan




Location: New York
Joined: 20 Aug 2015

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu 20 Aug, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi , I m a very old client of Mindaugas . I read good all this page and I m very disappointed Sad . I known him from years and is one of the most honest dealer I known . I bought really much pieces from him and I think usually quality is great ....
To be honest yes one time he delay 3 month for ship a medieval sword to my home but I received all documents of authority , exportation papers etc . Sometime authority I known blocked item to verify the cultural interest of them !
In this case I was very disappointed but then after received I see my sword and my papers ! I bought a sword and with legal provenence ! sometimes ebay and auction house too dont respect country low and propiety of the item is not really legal !

I think in full this is not a case of fraud etc .... and not for be friendly with Mindaugas but regarding fake items I really dont agree ! Auction house sometimes list genuine items like copy ! copy like genuine ! So I think this is a very problematic theme for all antique dealers. I see in London in a Top gallery and one of the most pumped seller olso in this forum much items like helmets and swords come from other auction and listed like victorian in auction but in his site and catalogue genuine and from 1000 sterling of catalogue request was 90000 sterling , And better let go all replicas artificially aged listed in the major auction house in UK USA and Italy .

This is all . I m not in this field, I m a banker and I have my experts I trust for buy objects for my collection and from Karabela I bought usual fine pieces .

Hope for Mr.Feder situation can be resolved ... I m sure Mindaugas refund money and I m really curius to speack with him tomorrow but I do not the case to trasform a business problem in a fraud and ruin the reputation of a onest person !

Nathan Morgan
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Eric Feder




Location: Alhambra, CA
Joined: 31 Oct 2011
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 20 Aug, 2015 9:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Morgan wrote:
Hi , I m a very old client of Mindaugas . I read good all this page and I m very disappointed Sad . I known him from years and is one of the most honest dealer I known . I bought really much pieces from him and I think usually quality is great ....
To be honest yes one time he delay 3 month for ship a medieval sword to my home but I received all documents of authority , exportation papers etc . Sometime authority I known blocked item to verify the cultural interest of them !
In this case I was very disappointed but then after received I see my sword and my papers ! I bought a sword and with legal provenence ! sometimes ebay and auction house too dont respect country low and propiety of the item is not really legal !

I think in full this is not a case of fraud etc .... and not for be friendly with Mindaugas but regarding fake items I really dont agree ! Auction house sometimes list genuine items like copy ! copy like genuine ! So I think this is a very problematic theme for all antique dealers. I see in London in a Top gallery and one of the most pumped seller olso in this forum much items like helmets and swords come from other auction and listed like victorian in auction but in his site and catalogue genuine and from 1000 sterling of catalogue request was 90000 sterling , And better let go all replicas artificially aged listed in the major auction house in UK USA and Italy .

This is all . I m not in this field, I m a banker and I have my experts I trust for buy objects for my collection and from Karabela I bought usual fine pieces .

Hope for Mr.Feder situation can be resolved ... I m sure Mindaugas refund money and I m really curius to speack with him tomorrow but I do not the case to trasform a business problem in a fraud and ruin the reputation of a onest person !


I see you just joined myArmoury.com today, Nathan. Welcome! I'm curious about your background. You have such a typically Anglo name and yet it is obvious that English is not your first language. No insult intended here: this is just stating the obvious (my own French stinks despite three years of study in high school). Did you recently arrive in the US, and if so, did you originally become a client of Mindaugas while living in Europe?

Please do not accuse me of transforming a business problem into a fraud problem and ruining the reputation of an honest person. Mr. Simkunas has ruined his own reputation. My experience with him; the four items I mentioned in my original thread and follow up message; and the similar experiences of at least two other collectors who have spoken up since I started this thread provide ample proof of that. Are you saying that Simkunas is so unknowledgeable that the fakes/repros/pastiches he is selling he actually believes to be genuine? His own website "karabela" has the following description: "The passion of collecting from childhood allowed gaining a big experience and knowledge. Therefore we have a possibility to offer to our clients high quality genuine items at reasonable prices." Nathan, do you think you can really buy a genuine 16th century "katzberger" sword for $660? Or a genuine medieval sword in fantastic condition for $2,025? The old adage "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" is particularly apt when it comes to collecting antique arms. And I do not mean to imply that price alone is the sole determinant of authenticity. I would wager that none of the items I mentioned would stand up to scrutiny by a knowledgeable collector/museum curator/auction house expert as being genuine. The spangenhelm was originally described as a repro in Landshut's auction catalog which was why the estimate was set so low! I heard it failed to sell until the after sale (of this I'm not entirely sure).
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Andrzej P




Location: Minneapolis
Joined: 09 Sep 2016

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri 09 Sep, 2016 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric, if you do not mind me asking, have you resolved your issue with Mindaugas Simkunas?
zdzich
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Andy K.




Location: San Diego
Joined: 18 Apr 2013

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri 09 Sep, 2016 9:26 pm    Post subject: Trolls         Reply with quote

Nathan Morgan is likely neither Nathan, nor Morgan. That's just crude trolling, completely out of line on this site.
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