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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Antique sword fraud, quite common I think         Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYycjAYEODc

I think I quite possibly came across one of these frauds recently. I was in the renaissance faire in Texas about a month ago and there was this one shop, a sword manufacturer that I will not name which had an upstairs with rows of what looks like historical swords. The styles were from the late viking age up to the 19th century, from many different nations, European, Asian, Indian, all kinds. There were definitely some interesting blades, I will say.

However, one caught my eye, because it was the type I like. It resembled the albion reeve greatly and the price tag on this sword was astronomical at 100,000 dollars. The salesman told me it was an anglo saxon sword, I believe during the time of the norman invasion and then gleefully handed it to me. There was no way I could tell if it was real but I found it kind of suspicious that I could so easily hold a probably brittle antique sword that was as expensive as a house.
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is wise to be very cautious.
The market is ripe with fake swords and many are so well made that it can be extremely difficult to distinct them from genuine swords.
Fakes are to be found not only on internet auctions and with antique dealers, they can also form part of the permanent collections of well established museums.

Whenever a sword is to be focus for research or if it is a piece that is up for sale, it is wise to always start assuming it is a fake and then try to find reason for this not being the case, rather than assuming an ancient looking sword is in fact ancient. (the self proclaimed integrity of a dealer is not enough to go on. You need to check the facts put forward).

Producing a patina on a newly made sword does not take very long time. A sword that seems to date from anglo-saxon times may in fact only be a few weeks old.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,302

PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are also plenty of fakes that are being made from cheap Made-in-India reproductions. A little "battle damage" and a bath in acid or oven cleaner, maybe some carefully added crud to cover modern bolts or welds, and a $150 wall-hanger turns into a $50,000 museum piece. These are glaringly obvious to anyone who is familiar with Indian-made repros, but even museums have bought these things, thinking they are real antiques.

There's a whole series of "Roman" weapons that have identical red-brown patina on the blades and green brass hilts, all in exactly the same state of preservation, and all unlike anything you'll find in a real excavation report. Fakes!

Gotta say, with my own collection of relatively accurate repros, it's a temptation to quit my job and turn into an antiquities dealer! At those prices, I'd only need to find one or two suckers a year to live pretty well...

Matthew
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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's an example of 'excavation condition' swords that Darksword Armoury was selling at one point:



Not quite as decrepit as a proper 'antique' would be-- most likely this was just buried in someone's backyard for a few months-- but this could easily be sold as such by an unscrupulous retailer. Some extra work with a little acid etching or a little careful abuse, and it would be nearly indistinguishable without careful inspection by an expert. The art of falsifying antiques has been around for a very long time...

EDIT to add: I will say, that sword the guy got is pretty nice looking, I have no idea how it handles obviously but if that was mine I'd just clean it up, re-handle it and enjoy it. For a modern sword, and 1000 dollars, I'd say that's pretty decent.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 25 Nov, 2015 4:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ha, yeah, a lot of real artifacts in "excavation condition" are just brown stains with a little attitude! Actually, I've always wanted to pick up an original bronze blade in decent condition, clean it up and rehilt it. That's heresy in the antiquities world, of course, but I don't see much sin in restoring an old weapon to its former glory. If I bought it and it's mine, what do I care about the resale value?

Matthew
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Don Stanko




Location: ohio
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Nov, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Ha, yeah, a lot of real artifacts in "excavation condition" are just brown stains with a little attitude! Actually, I've always wanted to pick up an original bronze blade in decent condition, clean it up and rehilt it. That's heresy in the antiquities world, of course, but I don't see much sin in restoring an old weapon to its former glory. If I bought it and it's mine, what do I care about the resale value?

Matthew


That reminds me of a story Ewart Oakeshott once told in his book "Records of the Medieval Sword". It was regarding his first medieval sword purchase (page 107 in the book). He described cleaning the rust and patina from the sword, returning it to its former glory. He went on to add "Seldom have I regretted any act of mine so much."

Sometimes, when I try to improve the look of something, it doesn't turn out the way I envisioned...
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Nov, 2015 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Stanko wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Ha, yeah, a lot of real artifacts in "excavation condition" are just brown stains with a little attitude! Actually, I've always wanted to pick up an original bronze blade in decent condition, clean it up and rehilt it. That's heresy in the antiquities world, of course, but I don't see much sin in restoring an old weapon to its former glory. If I bought it and it's mine, what do I care about the resale value?

Matthew


That reminds me of a story Ewart Oakeshott once told in his book "Records of the Medieval Sword". It was regarding his first medieval sword purchase (page 107 in the book). He described cleaning the rust and patina from the sword, returning it to its former glory. He went on to add "Seldom have I regretted any act of mine so much."

Sometimes, when I try to improve the look of something, it doesn't turn out the way I envisioned...


Oh, I wouldn't try it on just anything! Iron or steel I likely wouldn't touch. But a bronze piece in decent condition is less likely to be riddled or deeply pitted with corrosion. There are a lot of Bronze Age blades available that are unidentified or misidentified, unstratified, and really of no historical value. Some could be from practically anywhere! (Though obviously many are more distinctive.) So it would have to be something I acquired with the intent of cleaning. And of course the idea of encouraging looting is a major impediment to the plan!

Matthew
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Dec, 2015 4:38 pm    Post subject: Antique sword fraud, quite common I think         Reply with quote

Fake antique swords are quite common today, not just at flea markets and Renaissance faires but also on eBay.
Sickening! Mad

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Alexander Ehlers




Location: Utah
Joined: 21 Jul 2015
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Dec, 2015 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don Stanko wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Ha, yeah, a lot of real artifacts in "excavation condition" are just brown stains with a little attitude! Actually, I've always wanted to pick up an original bronze blade in decent condition, clean it up and rehilt it. That's heresy in the antiquities world, of course, but I don't see much sin in restoring an old weapon to its former glory. If I bought it and it's mine, what do I care about the resale value?

Matthew


That reminds me of a story Ewart Oakeshott once told in his book "Records of the Medieval Sword". It was regarding his first medieval sword purchase (page 107 in the book). He described cleaning the rust and patina from the sword, returning it to its former glory. He went on to add "Seldom have I regretted any act of mine so much."

Sometimes, when I try to improve the look of something, it doesn't turn out the way I envisioned...


Well, this one man got a old original Civil War sword during the late 20th century (time period is important). He took it home, and polished the brass to be as nice as it was originally issued. He cleaned the blade, made it shine. And then he made the scabbard look nicer than was it was when issued. He essentially restored this sword to brand new condition. He took it to a notorious Civil War antiques dealer to show off his "great work." The antique dealer told him, " You took a $450 dollar sword and turned it into a $250 dollar sword overnight."

It seems many people in the 70s, 80s and 90s where collectors interest in these old 19th pieces was high, got these weapons and treated them like decades old cars. Therefore we see many firearms with ugly, artificially cleaned appearances.

Like this revolver here.



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Colt 1851 Navy with Sling Swivel attachment [ Download ]

Never give up without giving a fight, fighting is an opportunity for victory.
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