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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
If I were using the same mark up as you do on your locally built fixtures (perhaps most closely comparable to a custom sword smith shop?), my most basic swords would start at around 16 000 USD, not including a scabbard. That is also not including taxes, VAT or social security fees. With those included the price would more than double.

Eek!

Wow Peter....

You know though, it might be beneficial in the long run for the sword community if the best smiths earned a much better return for the hours they spend learning, since it would keep them in the industry, as well as give the lower to mid range smiths the incentive to get better. I dunno, I'm not an expert on this sort of thing. Happy

BTW, you've got mail. Happy
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My Wild Guesses
(Disclaimer: Author Is A Pessimist Who Knows Nothing About Economics)

To quote my brother: "This is a bad time to be selling anything".

• Newer professional manufacturers and maybe some long-established-but-struggling ones will drop back to hobby manufacturing or simply go out of business in the next couple of years , leaving a mass-production market of declining quality (there are those cheaper swords!) and very lean but still viable high-end manufacturers.

• Folks who are on the edge, financially, won't buy anything, but they probably aren't the market for premium arms and armour anyway. Their departure would probably leave a big hole in the entry-level and mid-range market, which might go away or adapt by cutting more corners in design research, materials, construction and finish. I expect to see fewer $250 swords inspired by documented originals, more $150 swords inspired by role playing games, fantasy novels, movies, etc. WIldcard: Indians and Chinese aren't going to slave away forever making stuff for the West as their own standards of living increase. Wildcard: Last week I bought oranges at the Gardendale, Alabama, Food World store and later noticed that they were from South Africa (note that Alabama borders the state of Florida). The decline of the petroleum economy will make that unsustainable, whether we're talking about oranges or SLOs. In the long term, I think the bargain basement of the third world and emerging economies will be closed, which I hope will be good news for American and European arms and armour manufacturers. It should also mean higher prices.

• Folks who could truly afford to spend $1,000+ per year on arms and armour probably will still be able to afford quality products, just not as many. I don't see them dropping down to Windlass, et al..

• We'll see a buyer's market for pre-owned arms and armour as economic pressure pushes people away from this interest altogether or forces them to sell parts of their collection to fund new purchases/pay down debt/bury cash in Mason jars.

As for me, I'm trying to improve the quality of my collection through trade, sale and DIY projects. No new cash, in other words. For now, the best I can do for any manufacturer is praise what they do well and encourage those with the means to reward them. If the stars align perfectly I might sell part of my collection and buy something new in the $600-$800 range. But after that my collection would be so small and new that I'd be out of room to maneuver for awhile.

Worried

-Sean

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


Last edited by Sean Flynt on Thu 09 Oct, 2008 9:30 am; edited 10 times in total
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 9:00 am    Post subject: Thank you Vassili         Reply with quote

Thank you for your response. I think we are dealing with some very different parts of the market place. In the terminology you use I would describe the custom and small shop sword industry in these terms, a very low volume marginal markup industry. Sad but true.

As Peter so aptly described swords made in country or by small shops in Europe would probably start in the range of 4000.00 US and up using that kind of pricing structure. The medium to high quality items easily going into the 8000.00 to 15000.00 range, then the custom items would start about that level and move up from there.

This of course begs the question why the hell are we doing what we are doing? Good question. Most makers ask themselves this a couple times a week. No one goes into swords to get rich. The money to support such an endeavor is just not there. Our pricing is a struggle to ride a knife’s edge of making enough to keep going and still sell in a market place that is dominated by foreign producers (both for the US and Europe). If some one can get a relatively sword like object for what I have to spend on just materials it is difficult to compete against that type of environment. You cut out as much as you can, leverage yourself to the eyeballs and hope to open your doors in the morning.

Even in the cases of bringing in imports to resell. You are marking up 100%, which is very average for most imports, some more some less (don’t even look at what garments wholesale for it will drive you nuts) I would guess that most sword resellers are doing a markup of 40% at best. I know some are working on much, much less for certain items.

Now add the additional costs of marketing, customer service and admin, which most sword makers do not put into their pricing formulas, they just do it around the edges and hope it does not become to big a toll on the system.

Now I know some out there will not believe what I have written above. That is their choice. But I would suggest you query any crafts people you know and ask them about these types of issues. My guess is you will be surprised by their answers and may even aquire a greater appreciation for those that have chosen a different path than those who so recently worked at investment banks. Happy

To quote Peter again

Quote:
Making swords in this time and age is an anachronism. It is about making available in physical form something that is the stuff of dream and myth. It will always be as much an art form as it is a business, even if you go about it very seriously and professionally.


This is something one does inspite of modern day structures, we do it for something other than monetary gain. Most would probably have a specific point they can point to when they were first struck with the love for the past but it is something more important to us than even profit. Happy

One of the most important things to think about in this conversation as a consumer is to realize the great deal that many swords have been up to this point. What the economy will do to this I do not know but I doubt it will continue in the same way it has.

Best
Craig
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

Historic arms and arrmour are niche markets today, not major industry as they were in period. We sometimes forget that. Only the most wealthy patrons would've owned an assortment of a dozen high-end swords in the 15th century. Today, middle-class people can do it.

A decent full harness of plate armour will run anywhere from $8000 and up. That means you can buy an armour for less than the price of a even a crummy car. Not so in period. Buying a full harness was more like buying your first Porsche.

Armourers work today at hourly rates that put them at little more than minimum wage. No one's getting rich on this, that's for sure.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I for one think high end production swords are an absolute bargain.

When I was studying JSA in the nineties, particularly the early nineties, getting a proper sword was an multi-thousand dollar endeavour...before I stumbled on a WWII era gendai I was looking at 5K at least for a low end custom from Japan. Even the gendai (WWII era swords were a bargain back then, even if traditionally forged) cost me 2K after proper mounts, that was in 1993 before all the recent inflation, when you could buy a house in NYC for 125,000.

Today, studying HEMA, I can get an absolutely gorgeous longsword for under 1000? That's fantastic! Even the high end swords rarely break 2K. And sure, the selfish "I must own them all" side of me wishes they were cheaper, I realize that we're enjoying a golden age of quality sword availability that may not last.

I can only think of one high end longsword that I consider overpriced, and only because there is another in the same line that is in no way worse that costs a lot less. I think we all know what that is... Razz

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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Thu 09 Oct, 2008 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
I can only think of one high end longsword that I consider overpriced, and only because there is another in the same line that is in no way worse that costs a lot less. I think we all know what that is... Razz


Umm, I don't know what your speaking of sir. To get back on topic though I have to agree with Michael, if for no other reason than us Michaels need to stick together. For the use and enjoyment I get out of my swords, when compared to the price I paid and the amount of research and development that went in to them, well I feel we're getting more then a bargain even with the current price increases we've seen. Maybe I'm biased as I make my living as an artist but even I raised my prices this year for private and group classes. My session prices have to go up after new year as well to match the increased cost of living. In short there's just no way to apply a large corporate business model to what is in essence a small niche market of artisans. What works for Wall Street doesn't always work for main street.

Winter is coming
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Oct, 2008 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe they want a stronger dollar. Take a look at this chart comparing the Euro to the Dollar. When the it hits 1.25 or 1.20 I think they will free up some money. Until then its all lip service.

http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=EURUSD=X#c...=undefined

What we are seeing here is managed deflation in action. Commodity futures fell another 10% since I made first made this post.

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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see I was right.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

Just like physics are the same everywhere in the universe, so are economics.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 7:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Because Albion never had a sale before until now... Wink
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos stated:

What we are seeing here is managed deflation in action. Commodity futures fell another 10% since I made first made this post.[/quote]

I think the fall of the commodity futures may have more to do with speculators selling out long contracts at higher prices than managed deflation. When hard red spring wheat was selling for around $21.00 per bushel, Australia, South America, and many countries in the Middle East had suffered poor production causing historical demands on stocks available. This prompted a lot of speculative investing that was not normal for this market which just isn't present now. I think we're seeing the commdity market returning to normal. Just my humble opinion.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206010...refer=home

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2316/storie...904300.htm

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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
I see I was right.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...mp;start=0

Just like physics are the same everywhere in the universe, so are economics.

Oh honestly. So apparently, people like Craig Johnson, who actually run a company that manufactures historical arms don't know what they are talking about when they post here about why the mere reduction in the prices of raw commodities won't affect prices much, don't know what they are talking about?

This isn't proof of anything except that Albion is having a sale. All manufacturers have sales now and again. However, I won't be holding my breath or pressuring any of my main suppliers of historical arms to drop their prices just because of a fluctuation in commodities. I know what sorts of margins they operate under. While the manufacturers of quality "crowbars" might be closely tied to the price of raw materials, the products of purveyors of quality arms offer so much more than just steel--I pay for their expertise and experience more than I pay for the material they work. After all, it doesn't take much skill to grind a hunk of metal into a sword-like object. However, having the experience and knowledge to know and recreate something that is historically accurate is something more...

Steve

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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

RD More, speculators selling their long positions definitely plays a roll. I think we are also seeing pressure from speculators buying short positions now that will push the prices further down to some extent. I don't think they will fall much further because factories can always downsize and cut back production. In anycase, the original point stands that with lower cash liquidity in the overall economy, deflationary pressures should be pushing prices down across the whole economy. No one is exempt, from this unless the are semi-retired and don't have to work if they don't want to.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's safe to say that Albion's sale is a result of the poor economic state and not the supposed upturn of the economy.
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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Oct, 2008 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
RD More, speculators selling their long positions definitely plays a roll. I think we are also seeing pressure from speculators buying short positions now that will push the prices further down to some extent. I don't think they will fall much further because factories can always downsize and cut back production. In any case, the original point stands that with lower cash liquidity in the overall economy, deflationary pressures should be pushing prices down across the whole economy. No one is exempt, from this unless the are semi-retired and don't have to work if they don't want to.

We have already heard from two manufacturers on this list--both of whom have said that it is about far more than the price of raw steel. Re-read their posts.

Steve

Founder of NoVA-Assalto, an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance


Last edited by Steven Reich on Tue 21 Oct, 2008 6:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Oct, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven

I agree with you. Vasillis was directing his response to my post. Howy stated in an earlier post that every sword shipped from Albion was subsidized, Craig has also, on numerous occasions, exlained to us the costs involved in bringing us our beloved arms. Making these arms and armor is most definately a labor of love and certainly not a business in which to become wealthy. "Our" makers are wrapped in the throws of this recession (perhaps more so than most of the rest of us) just as we are. They need to do what they have to in order to survive this crunch, and we need to help when we are able to do so. I cringe at the thought of loosing any of them. It's going to be a very interesting year.

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Oct, 2008 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R D Moore wrote:
[...] Vasillis was directing his response to my post. [...]

Oops--that's what I get for going online before coffee...

Steve

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R D Moore




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Oct, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had 4 cups so far. A couple more andIthinkIcanget throughtherestoftoday!
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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