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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Nov, 2015 6:33 pm    Post subject: Price Inflation--Still worth it to collect?         Reply with quote

Hello,

Many of you are longtime collectors, some are well on their way and others are still dreaming and plotting.

I myself moved from the last category to the middle in the last few years. I haven't had enough disposable income until recently to actually purchase some things I have really wanted for a long time. I've gotten a bit spoiled on the fine quality of reproductions out there and have learned a lot from this and other forums. I've said it elsewhere, so forgive the repetition, but I bought my first dagger from A&A in the mid 90s for about 90 dollars. It set the bar high I think. Then I went to college and had no money for the next 15 years...

Now a similar dagger would be around 300 dollars, but I think it would also be slightly better or at least more historically made. It's got a threaded pommel and a leather spacer that is worn out from handling. Otherwise it's quite nice though and fits in well with more recent purchases from A&A and others.

My rambling leads to this: I'll keep buying the things I want and can afford to buy. But it is interesting to go back through old posts to see how prices have risen. Longtime collectors, do you think the prices are worth it? What do you think of a dagger that has inflated in price, not necessarily value?Mid types like me, are you choosy to spend sensibly? Do you even notice this? Dreamers, do the prices prevent you from collecting?

I sincerely believe this phenomenon is in many areas of collecting, it is a terrible thing that can hamper new collectors from beginning their dreams, and finally it's quite inevitable.

More thoughts: Even though I see prices of Albion, A&A, Del Tin and custom makers have risen in the last ten, twenty years, I don't think anyone is getting rich from making this stuff. I personally don't think there is a way to make a great living from being an artist, craftsman, what have you. So I'm not complaining about the prices as they are. I am wondering what people make of these prices and their own income and collecting habits, or if it seems like the inflation is outpacing other things to buy out there. I see inflation in things like trucks, tires, pistols, various and sundry things, so it isn't shocking it's in the historical reproduction or antique market. But is it just simply part of all that, do you think?

Thanks for reading and hopefully responding. Its been brought up before no doubt, but not in 2015 I guess.
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Nov, 2015 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
-Still worth it to collect?


The question is far too subjective to definitively answer. That has to be answered by the individual.

Costs of everything have risen dramatically over the last 10-15 years, materials, employees, etc. Unfortunately it all has to be transferred to the customer. I will say that some of my favorite makers, both production and custom, have moved beyond my comfort zone. These days I don't think in terms of "Is it worth it?" but rather, "should I spend that much?" I don't begrudge a craftsman a living wage, but it gets to a point where I have trouble justifying the expense on something that's, as much as I may love it, ultimately unnecessary to my daily life. Some of my old faves are now on the "once in a while" list while others are unfortunately on the, "just can't do it" list. This is why I've been looking at makers from abroad, particularly eastern europe. They have a real tradition in the craft and your money often seems to buy more. I've also been adding smaller items to the collection, like daggers, etc. They can scratch the itch at a lower cost.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Theo Squires





Joined: 23 Jul 2012

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Fri 06 Nov, 2015 11:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Price Inflation--Still worth it to collect?         Reply with quote

J. Nicolaysen wrote:
....snip... (emphasis mine)

Even though I see prices of Albion, A&A, Del Tin and custom makers have risen in the last ten, twenty years, I don't think anyone is getting rich from making this stuff. I personally don't think there is a way to make a great living from being an artist, craftsman, what have you. So I'm not complaining about the prices as they are. I am wondering what people make of these prices and their own income and collecting habits, or if it seems like the inflation is outpacing other things to buy out there. I see inflation in things like trucks, tires, pistols, various and sundry things, so it isn't shocking it's in the historical reproduction or antique market. But is it just simply part of all that, do you think?

Thanks for reading and hopefully responding. Its been brought up before no doubt, but not in 2015 I guess[/b][/b].


As you point out, reproduction arms and armour isn't alone in experiencing substantial price inflation. In fact, I'd wager that it hasn't experienced more price inflation than average for a luxury (collectible) good or, indeed, most goods. There are many contributory factors -- cost of labour increases, increases in VAT etc. However, I haven't been in the game long enough to say this with any certainty.

For an Australian, the most significant factor to price is probably exchange rates. The USD/AUD rate peaked at USD1.10 per AUD in 2012 and is now back to USD0.70 per AUD (almost a 10 year low). Likewise, the Euro. That's a big difference!
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Robert Morgan




Location: Sunny SoCal
Joined: 10 Sep 2012

Posts: 83

PostPosted: Fri 06 Nov, 2015 11:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The size of the market is also a big factor. When you're a small producer, many of your costs and overhead are far higher proportionally compared to larger makers. They often have to charge more because they produce fewer pieces per year, and therefore have to make a decent profit per piece to remain in business. Its the same in the custom bicycle business, my other great love. You'll pay over 5K for a custom or even semi-custom bicycle from a smaller producer nowadays, especially a handmade frame. Again, they have to charge more per unit and increase their marginal revenue.

Having said this, I tend to see price inflation in pretty much all areas. That gallon of milk that was $2.50 a year or two ago is now over $4. That can of cat food for She Who Demands Chin Scratches has risen from .79 cents to 1.09. I could go on. Don't even get me started on my utility bills.

Will this deter newer collectors? Perhaps, but perhaps it will make them take more time and care, buying what they truly want and desire instead of a lot of everything. Maybe it will force them to look for bargains more often, becoming smarter shoppers not just for historical arms, but in all areas. That's another way of looking at it.

Bob
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William Swiger




Location: Reston, VA
Joined: 23 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It always depends on the market. Custom swords are risky for resale as what you think is a great sword might not click with buyers. The major brands hold their value pretty well. I know Albion and A&A have had price increases and I always get a kick out of people selling one of those models they purchased years ago and try to get what they paid or make a profit. They always point out what a "new" one costs. A little research often lets buyers know when they bought the sword.

The market will support what people are willing to pay. I have personally got a few great custom swords made for 1/2 off what the maker used to charge because the economy was bad.

I agree that custom or high end production makers are not getting rich in this business. We have lost quite a few craftsman in this hobby due to inflation.

Non Timebo Mala
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,438

PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm inclined to say yes, its still worth it, the cost changes are just a function of the time value of money in action. A dollar today is almost always worth more than a dollar tomorrow.

That said, I'm not rally buying much of anything anymore.

So my actions speak differently than my words! Big Grin

"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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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
Joined: 03 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 11:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm just depressed when I see some Albions or ATrims or custom work from ten, fifteen years ago I'd love to have at those prices. But then I didn't have that money! So I really just need a time machine.

What do you guys think, have the products from custom smiths or mass produced makers increased in quality and historical accuracy in addition to the prices?

And who do we talk to to get a wage increase for more sword money???

Running a business whose main product is a commodity, very susceptible to increases in expenses, I can't stand inflation. Truck tires for example have increased unbelievably. Trucks are the worst.
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Ronald M




Location: vancouver bc canada
Joined: 06 Oct 2015

Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

very close to making me give up, but ill probably still get some
smiley face 123? no? lol yeah well im here cause i like...swords and weapons and stuff obv
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I actually think the inflation on weapon replicas has been pretty modest compared to houses and food, at least where I live.

You can pretty much get the time machine you want by patiently and frequently watching the second-hand market. Sure some people are unrealistic about their initial re-sale ask ("I just bought it for $1000 and would like to sell it for $1000), but the prices drop when the seller is motivated. And sometimes there are real bargains from the get-go (I see one pending sale here right now) or sudden drops when sellers get impatient. Most people take good care of high-end products so you can really do well on this market. And I don't feel bad for the makers when I pick up a used one, since often we are selling one to raise funds for a new purchase.
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Gordon Alexander




Location: Eagan, MN & Dubois, WY
Joined: 24 Dec 2012

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All value is subjective. If you are buying for personal enjoyment, you are the only one that needs to think the price is worth it. If you want to invest in swords with the possibility of profit you had better stick to antiques. For my part I prefer reproductions, and I am okay with the fact that I will not likely profit in any other way than enjoyment from them.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You must also keep inflation in mind when you consider the price of a sword now, and say 15 years ago. Around 2000, the price of a typical Del Tin Medieval singlehander like DT212 was in the low 300 dollar range. Per inflation, a 2000 dollar buys what $1.38 does now. Say that sword in 2000 cost $320.00. That is the equivalent of $441.60 in 2015. Looked at this way, the prices have not gone up in real value as much as you might think. Unfortunately, many salaries have not gone up and kept pace with the cost of living increases.
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Sat 07 Nov, 2015 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been in the game for quite a while, and I think I'm in more or less in the same boat as the rest who have posted so far. A few points made here strike true for me in combination, and I won't bother with the details which echo what all but a select few blind to reality living in their ivory towers understand the way of today's world to be.

As I continue to - by a little choice and a lot of necessity - downsize my life and spend more and more hours of work to maintain as little decline in status quo as I can, I've slowly been shedding possessions across all of my hobby pursuits, mostly to keep up with streamlining moves into increasingly smaller living spaces as I try to keep living costs down. Having to spend vacation time or lose it, I have a comfortable few months right now in which to purge even more in preparation for what will likely be another move this coming spring. I shouldn't complain, really, as at least this is better than last year when I had roughly four weeks and no time off to prepare for the move I made alone on Christmas day.

Where I'm at with the value in collecting today, is that I have a few more odds and ends to clear out, but otherwise I'm down to a few antiques kept for sentimental reasons, and two modern pieces I'm holding on to as I know I will never be able to replace them at any price, as they are no longer made. Still, there is even one of those I'm thinking long and hard about moving along, as with my current professional working time commitment I just don't have time to make use of any of this stuff.

Other than that sentiment hanging me on like a thread to "collecting", it is just more stuff to have to move. Actually, in this last move, I sacrificed a significant cost savings in a potential place to live for sake of my collection. I would not have been allowed to keep my stuff with the proposed rental agreement, so I chose to keep a sword instead of lower my rent. I'm hopeful but realistic in mentally preparing for the possibility that the next time I am faced with the same choice, I might not be able to afford the luxury of that choice.

Last, because my time is as short as it is for any sort of hobbies, and I have been downsizing so much, I've taken a more practical approach to just about anything I own than I may have in the past. If I don't have need for a thing, if having that thing will not allow me to DO something worthwhile that I could not do without it, it simply isn't worth the space, time, or treasure to own. When I was in a rush of collecting swords, I was in a place and time in which having a large collection was of use to me and others. Now, not so much, but if I would have need of a sword (or whatever else for that matter), I wouldn't hesitate to go looking for one - because I would need it, not simply because I would want it.
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2015 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the replies. Good words of wisdom. Roger Hooper especially puts it in perspective. I'm glad Ronald M will not give up, keep saving bud and choose wisely!

One thing is that even though some makers have needed to adjust prices, most are still in line with reality. For what I get for the money, in most cases I don't feel prices are too high. Only a couple of pieces I feel I overspent, and I guess that is part of the learning process.

Another is that there is a great variety of price points and offerings. People should be able to find something for them at a lot of various price points
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2015 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathon Janusz wrote:
I won't bother with the details which echo what all but a select few blind to reality living in their ivory towers understand the way of today's world to be.


You might call me one of those guys, since I have a steady well-paying job at a university with automatic salary increases. But everyone has a story.

Mine started with 7 years of post-graduate training while raising two kids on poverty-level salary. Buying a sword or even a dagger in those days? Forget it, we could barely afford food. Then, getting a job and finding out that it did not cover rent, daycare and food in an expensive city. At that time, I remember secretly splurging on a CD. Woo-hoo! Followed by 10 years on the pointy end of a litigation, with almost every penny going to support payments and lawyers. Those were the days when I started buying a Windlass every few months just to keep my sanity. (And how it would irk me when people would tell me to save up for an Albion!). Finally that ends, and despite the starting over phenomenon with big, long mortgage running till I'm 70, I can then budget part of my salary for custom swords and the like. But then along come two more kids so now I'm aiming for zero sum with selling and buying - at least till they go to school.

The point? Life has its phases, and you adjust your hobbies to suit them. To me its all worth it.
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Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2015 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Jonathon Janusz wrote:
I won't bother with the details which echo what all but a select few blind to reality living in their ivory towers understand the way of today's world to be.


You might call me one of those guys, since I have a steady well-paying job at a university with automatic salary increases. But everyone has a story.


Just to cut this one off right here, there is a vast difference between someone in a good place in life, with a broad enough point of view to see and comprehend just as broad a picture of what is going on around them, and those so far out of touch with the realities of nearly the entire world that they just don't have the perspective to understand the rest of the world doesn't turn as easily as their own relative utopia. Yes, I know that one man's struggle can always be another's paradise, but that neither was nor is my point, specifically in regards to the topic at hand.

I said what I said to elaborate on my personal answer to the originally posted question, nothing more. I know now that it was perhaps more dangerous than wise on an Internet forum to write in even a casually pointed tone, and apologize for any sensibilities that may take those words out of their original context. My intent was simply to as delicately as possible clearly describe my viewpoint of the socioeconomic factors influencing my current interaction with this hobby.

With that, I will withdraw and ask that the conversation return to original topic, as to keep this conversation cordial and welcome to everyone. Only through hearing viewpoints from many points of view - and I very much hope many are far brighter than mine - can we all find a proper gauge of the pulse of the hobby as it is today.
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Henry R. Gower




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Nov, 2015 5:13 pm    Post subject: Inflation: Still worth it to collect?         Reply with quote

When I was a boy a good newspaper cost 10 cents, a hamburger BLT at a lunch counter 45 cents, and a subway ride 15 cents. Sounds like my boyhood was a bargain, no? Thing is, people's salaries were in line with these prices. My allowance from dad was 1 dollar a week, that I well remember. Collectible swords were always "expensive" relative to my earnings at any chronological stage. As my salary improved as an adult, prices of such collectibles increased on a roughly commensurate basis, but at times, even more. I remember when the collecting bug nipped me, I was curious enough to consult old catalogues and saying to myself "gosh how many neat things I could buy if only those old prices were still good." I remember refraining from buying some things because I thought they were "too expensive." Judging by today's inflated prices, I could have picked up numerous hugely attractive "bargains." For me, the moral of the story is that one can always talk himself out of buying something based on the price being "too high." I have learned however, that a price is only "too high" if it is high in ralationship to comparable items in its own time and place. A stark reminder is that two cents in 1913 terms (that's when my dad arrived on these shores) is worth about 1 dollar today, in purchasing power. Shocking! Finally, buying a collectible involves a certain amount of risk. Some things go up arithmetically, while some things go up exponentially, as any close observer of antiques prices could tell you. But, some collectibles go in and out of favor. Also, prices of collector items can fluctuate down, if you buy something at the top of the market which then recedes, or if there are suddenly less collectors interested in that class of items, a collectible can actually fall ! (Horrors). Regarding, more specifically antique arms and quality replica swords, the overall trend over the long haul has been, to this observer, largely upward. That is one man's experience, my own two cents, so to speak, oops, I mean my dollar.
Cheers.
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