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William M




Location: Buckinghamshire , England
Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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Posts: 257

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 12:59 am    Post subject: Sword industry slow down?         Reply with quote

Hi all,

Just wanted to make a quick note on something I feel that has been happening over the last few years... Is it just me or is the the sword industry and number of collectors in decline?

I am wondering this as the number of posts that I have seen on sword forums seems to have declined and I just don't see new reviews or product releases from manufactures anymore.

For example: CAS Hanwei have massively quietened down. I remember they used to be quite innovative and come out with swords that many of us collected in our early years. Albion haven't made any new design in ages and I genuinely thought they had closed down, although I may be thinking of what happened to Albion Europe. Valiant armoury was the new sweetheart, and was producing some really nice (non historical) swords at a cracking price.

Looking at manufactures websites they mostly seem to have long wait times, so perhaps as they are already overburdened with orders they are not actively looking or need to promote or develop new swords.

I say this from my perspective in the UK where sword collectors have been vilified and collecting has been made very hard due to new laws and the difficulty in posting.

Thoughts?
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,814

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see much the opposite in the overall market. Both modern made and antique listings have become over saturated in offerings.

Take ebay as an example and just regarding antiques. A decade ago, one might have seen 400 listings for the 1784-1860 time frame, where now 600-700 listings have been the new norm. Listings of all blades on auction sites, sales are brisk of both modern and antique. It is not just those swords that have been listed forever, as even those are getting sold.

Smaller companies being absorbed and numbers of models indeed being consolidated but take a closer look at Deepeeka on sites like Kult Of Athena. It is not just Deepeeka either. New waves of popularity arise and the inexpensive machete like swords emulating older forms, still a growing industry. Look at Condor, who started with brush swords and now offering more sword like objects. CAS is hardly slowing down and unable to meet some demands while revisiting some discontinued models. Newer sub brands such as Kingston and older brands such as Legacy Arms both under the CAS wing. That just with western types vs Japanese stylings that also continue to sell in a backordered state.

Forum participation indeed dying and passive as more and more move on. That doesn't mean some are not here. However, FB twitter and youtube where many can be found. While I can sympathize with your "why me?", I don't generally agree. While the UK and Europe have become more constrained in some matters, there are many more producers/makers online than there used to be and the half dozen or so UK dealers still in business. With a lot of independents worldwide being backlogged, it doesn't appear overall demand has shrunk. With even Del Tin being in demand, I can't agree with your assessment. If Albion and A&A haven't made more models, consider their staff has increased to meet demand. Gus Trim, doing much better and now winding down in expectations with set limits. There are way too many to list that are busy, while others are scraping by doing fewer commission and cranking out knives for groceries. The big, big world is only getting bigger.

So, imo, I think you might be overlooking what really is going on in the market and the number of collectors/owners. The flavors of the month continues. Myself? Over saturated as well. I see lots of new reproduction models all the time and old pretties surfacing more and more as older collectors liquidate. I am at that point myself with needing to reduce rather than absorb more of the over abundance of choices.

Cheers

GC
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm with Glen. I think it's now a pretty exciting time in the blade collecting community. As stated earlier by Glen, there's quite a few makers putting out new items, like Condor, Ronin Katana, Kingston Arms, etc. I think Hanwei is just trying to keep up with customer demand...especially with their H/T line. Even Windlass has brought some new stuff to the game recently. Albion? No comment there. I'll hold my tongue to avoid angering anyone. Wink .........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,438

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect you're seeing more saturation in listings because many younger would be collectors lack the resourcing to get in the game. I'm seeing resales go at lower price points as often as not. Boomers were big collectors...of everything. They were a significant source of demand. They are starting to unwind collections for a number of reasons and that changes the game. Things that stayed in somebody's vault for 30 years are on the market again in estate sales.

This is not something happening uniquely with swords. My parents run an antique business and they are seeing it across the board. They are enjoying it because they get more for less but within a decade I suspect they will be working hard to dump it all.

Eventually things will get sucked up but there are fewer GenXer's and millennials just aren't buying like boomers. Yet.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,814

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The newer generations are exactly those swelling the sales of modern reproductions. The primary market base for them continues to be young males, ages 18-30. I could add a link to an age thread roll call at SBG that supports that. I hate to admit it but SBG is the current microcosm one might regard as far as the modern made sword market is shown online. Scroll through the cafe section there looking for the latest age thread. I have seen near a couple of generationsgrow online since the usenet groups (knives.rec) appeared and more than a generation since the Highlander board, vikingsword and Netsword. Let alone Blade forums. I think all see forum activity way down but it has been apparent for more than a decade, with the youngsters more attached to their phones.

Antiques are a fickle buy but ripe for plucking with the caveat and understanding that premium will sell better and reap more profit than run of the mill. Even then, and some quite relic condition, 19th century swords are selling well. WWII knives? Premiums skyrocketing and the obscure doubling just in the past half dozen years.

Modern made reproductions fare less well on the secondary market because buying new isn't that prohibitive to a large sector of the market. Sadly though, many outgrow those early purchases and are left wanting better toys.

Cheers

GC
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Preben B




Location: Norway
Joined: 02 May 2017

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can only speak for myself in this regard, and I have not been around long.
I am a low income, 28 year old and I have always had a strong interest and love for swords, medieval times and what have you.

Bought a few stainless steel wallhangers as a kid not knowing anything about proper blades, then the interest tapered off as I became a young adult.

Only recently as I have been able to start saving a bit and have gotten other things I feel are essential to my happiness has the interest in these things blossomed again, and strongly so, I bought my first "real" sword in 2016, an Albion Crecy and have made a few purchases since, including two more albions and scabbards for all of them, along with two Katana.

I think the thing with sword and armor collecting alike is it can take time to mature ones taste, to settle in between all the choices and vendors....Especially for those of us with a medium to lower income have to weigh every purchase.

I find myself wanting things now that I 6 months ago looked and and went "Nah, not my thing I dont like that"
Examples being a sallet helmet and a sabre from Tomek Kowmal, I used to think Sallets looked silly and Sabres were of no interest to me, but I am growing as a collector and find myself wanting more varieties of things.

I personally have always been of the opinion of quality above quantity, so even if I am on a low income I try to get the best I can when I decide to get something, so my collection will never be big but I will love and cherish every piece.

I am positive that if I was not the type who does laborious research before buying something to make sure my money is not wasted, I would have made a wasteful one time purchase and dropped out of the sword collecting game entirely from the disappointment.

I think it can sometimes be a big and confusing world for a lot of collectors, especially young and new..Many may have the interest and then do a few uninformed purchases and that is a good way to waste $500 or more and lose interest.

I personally love using forums and reading the information I can find both here and on SBG, but I feel so young in the game that i can not give much insight or solid information, causing me to read more than I post.

I think the posters above me are right, it's not a dying hobby, there is just less young people using forums and keeping their collections and interests personal, there is also the cost and time it takes to own and maintain a collection and many don't have the disposable income, lets face it if you ask most people my age or younger if they want a sword or a new graphics card we all know which it will be.

I think the fact Albion and most top custom makers have a 1 year+ wait time, and even the popular mass produced swords struggle staying in stock speaks for itself.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Somebody is buying swords. Maybe not so much high-enders like Albion and A&A or custom jobs, but lower-end swords are pretty much flying off the shelves. Just scroll through Kult of Athena and look at all the back-ordered Deepeeka swords. Every time I see one I would consider buying, I procrastinate. Then, I see it's no longer in stock. Worried I tend to think I could do better, but still....even these cheaper swords are becoming hard to get. WTF?!
I guess the younger generation is just starting out with budget stuff, and will hopefully work their way up the ladder. (And I am NOT in the younger generation! Laughing Out Loud )........McM

''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
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Posts: 493

PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've promised myself to stop buying the less expensive swords not because there is anything wrong with them but because I have run out of space to display everything I have. My orders for 2018 have already been placed at Albion, A&A, & two of the European custom smiths. It will be another year before I order anything but scabbards. Maybe the tax breaks bestowed on Americans will convince more people to place at least one or two orders.

Swords are like guns when it comes to buying. There are a lot more people who are interested in owning one than can afford to buy one on short notice. So I would not assume that actual sales directly reflect the popularity of the hobby.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Feb, 2018 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wasn't *assuming* anything....only looking at a matter of fact. Wink With the popularity of sword/combat movies and video games these days, it seems only a natural social trend that people would want a sword hanging on the wall, be it a $3000 custom or a $25 wall-hanger. I personally prefer lower cost functional swords(Hanwei, Windlass, Cold Steel, etc) as opposed to high-end swords that would be hard(and expensive) to replace, should something happen to them. That's just me though. Blush ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
Joined: 02 Dec 2015

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 3:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Preben B wrote:
I can only speak for myself in this regard, and I have not been around long.
I am a low income, 28 year old and I have always had a strong interest and love for swords, medieval times and what have you.

Bought a few stainless steel wallhangers as a kid not knowing anything about proper blades, then the interest tapered off as I became a young adult.

Only recently as I have been able to start saving a bit and have gotten other things I feel are essential to my happiness has the interest in these things blossomed again, and strongly so, I bought my first "real" sword in 2016, an Albion Crecy and have made a few purchases since, including two more albions and scabbards for all of them, along with two Katana.

I think the thing with sword and armor collecting alike is it can take time to mature ones taste, to settle in between all the choices and vendors....Especially for those of us with a medium to lower income have to weigh every purchase.

I find myself wanting things now that I 6 months ago looked and and went "Nah, not my thing I dont like that"
Examples being a sallet helmet and a sabre from Tomek Kowmal, I used to think Sallets looked silly and Sabres were of no interest to me, but I am growing as a collector and find myself wanting more varieties of things.

I personally have always been of the opinion of quality above quantity, so even if I am on a low income I try to get the best I can when I decide to get something, so my collection will never be big but I will love and cherish every piece.

I am positive that if I was not the type who does laborious research before buying something to make sure my money is not wasted, I would have made a wasteful one time purchase and dropped out of the sword collecting game entirely from the disappointment.

I think it can sometimes be a big and confusing world for a lot of collectors, especially young and new..Many may have the interest and then do a few uninformed purchases and that is a good way to waste $500 or more and lose interest.

I personally love using forums and reading the information I can find both here and on SBG, but I feel so young in the game that i can not give much insight or solid information, causing me to read more than I post.

I think the posters above me are right, it's not a dying hobby, there is just less young people using forums and keeping their collections and interests personal, there is also the cost and time it takes to own and maintain a collection and many don't have the disposable income, lets face it if you ask most people my age or younger if they want a sword or a new graphics card we all know which it will be.

I think the fact Albion and most top custom makers have a 1 year+ wait time, and even the popular mass produced swords struggle staying in stock speaks for itself.
Hahaha my story is almost the exact same as yours, including age, income and early experience will wallhangers. I started collecting functional swords in 2011 (I think) but I didn't pull the pin on my first Albion until last year when the wait time got really long. So I still have a few months of waiting to go.

That being said, I have bought 12 functional swords by this point but almost all if them were middle-of-the-range brands. The only low-end sword I bought was from Legacy Arms and piece of junk taught me never to waste my time or money with low-end swords again.
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Preben B




Location: Norway
Joined: 02 May 2017

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Arwas wrote:
Hahaha my story is almost the exact same as yours, including age, income and early experience will wallhangers. I started collecting functional swords in 2011 (I think) but I didn't pull the pin on my first Albion until last year when the wait time got really long. So I still have a few months of waiting to go.

That being said, I have bought 12 functional swords by this point but almost all if them were middle-of-the-range brands. The only low-end sword I bought was from Legacy Arms and piece of junk taught me never to waste my time or money with low-end swords again.


Nice to hear I am not alone, and congrats on your first Albion order, man, you won't regret it they are stunning blades.

Which one is it?
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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
Joined: 02 Dec 2015

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Thu 22 Feb, 2018 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Preben B wrote:
Sam Arwas wrote:
Hahaha my story is almost the exact same as yours, including age, income and early experience will wallhangers. I started collecting functional swords in 2011 (I think) but I didn't pull the pin on my first Albion until last year when the wait time got really long. So I still have a few months of waiting to go.

That being said, I have bought 12 functional swords by this point but almost all if them were middle-of-the-range brands. The only low-end sword I bought was from Legacy Arms and piece of junk taught me never to waste my time or money with low-end swords again.


Nice to hear I am not alone, and congrats on your first Albion order, man, you won't regret it they are stunning blades.

Which one is it?
Knight
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Ron Franks




Location: Prattville, AL, USA
Joined: 14 Jan 2018

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun 25 Feb, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: Sword Availability         Reply with quote

Iím new to sword collecting but have purchased one and have another on order with Arms & Armor, which I wonít see for another three months or so. Iím ready to buy and have my eye on another five or six. Every time I find something of interest itís backordered. Itís extremely frustrating! Frankly, I donít understand how places like Kult of Athena can stay in business when they donít have product to sell. They sure donít make any money when a sword is backordered. Several posts seem to infer the market is somewhat robust and I certainly hope thatís true. However, from this newcomerís perspective, it appears the market is dying a slow agonizing death. . .
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Christian Short




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 21 Jan 2017

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Sun 25 Feb, 2018 4:53 pm    Post subject: Sword industry slowdown         Reply with quote

I donít think participation had waned at all. Queues are as long as theyíve ever been with Albion maybe being the exception. I think theyíve caught up comparatively speaking. Down from 13 months to about 10. Barta is about 3 years. Maybe people arenít talking about it as much. Could be that simple.
Christian
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sat 03 Mar, 2018 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing I've notices is that since myArmoury tends to mostly cater to the sharp-sword collecting crowd these days, it doesn't reflect the massive explosion in the number of makers and product variety for HEMA swords in the last few years. And I really mean explosion -- I wouldn't be surprised if there has been more than 500% growth in the market in the past five years. This is a pretty important influence too since people who get involved in the HEMA community tend to prioritise blunt training swords (whether feders or non-feder blunts) as their first steel purchases and this drives some of the demand away from the sharp sword market. But then it's not as if the sharps market isn't thriving in its own right either!

As for things not being posted here, I guess it's because forum software has a steeper learning curve and maybe new users are less inclined to negotiate that curve even for the promise of better control over the formatting, markup, and other features of their posts. Forums like these are also more difficult to adapt to mobile technology.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Mar, 2018 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:


As for things not being posted here, I guess it's because forum software has a steeper learning curve and maybe new users are less inclined to negotiate that curve even for the promise of better control over the formatting, markup, and other features of their posts. Forums like these are also more difficult to adapt to mobile technology.


A lot of traffic has moved over to Facebook where pages like All Swords are very busy.
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