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Sam Haverkamp
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:17 pm    Post subject: Old Vs New         Reply with quote

Hi all,
I have this nagging question that keeps coming back to me as I read postings on this site. I am a pretty serious collector of Antique weapons and Armour and I'm a little confused why there seems to be a shift towards buying Historically correct modern made Arms. It seems like the higher end products being sold are not too far off from what you can buy a Genuine Antique for. (I do realize in many cases genuine Antique swords are just not available in all the flavors being produced today.)
I understand that there are alot of Martial Arts groups and cutting competitions that may be using these Modern Swords, makes sense, nobody would use a 300 year old sword in this way (at least I wouldnt think so).
So my question simply is, do most people think that Antiques are so much more expensive than High end modern swords so they dont even search them out, or is it something else?
Regards
Sam


Last edited by Sam Haverkamp on Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
So my question simply is, do most people think that Antiques are more expensive than High end modern swords, or is it something else?


For the types of things that interest me, antiques are considerably more expensive than modern-made replicas. Take, for example, the Schiavona Collection I've acquired. To have the same group of swords, as antiques, would cost considerably more than my investment has been in the replicas. Each antique would cost $1500-$5000. The replicas are each literally only a fraction of this. Sure, I've come across inexpensive authentic/antique schiavone, but the quality and condition of these were quite poor.

Quote:
It seems like the higher end products being sold are not too far off from what you can buy a Genuine Antique for.


It all depends on the item. Your statement is absolutely true for many non-European items such as examples from Persia, Iran, India, etc. This is also true for later-period examples such as many items from the late 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. But when you start moving into Early Renaissance and Medieval European arms, the prices move into the many thousands of dollars. A good quality Oakeshott Type XV sword might cost $5,000-$30,000 when a replica can be had for less than $1,000.

For many replica collectors, the $1,000 price point is far too high for them. Most replica collectors in our community hover closer to the $500-$600 range. It's quite difficult to get a quality antique for that price. Even at a good top-dollar price point of $2000-$2500 for a higher-end replica, it's still not an easy matter to get a comparable antique of quality.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes indeed. I'm an armour collector. For any piece that I might be interested in I'm looking at a minimum of $20,000. I've decided to get accurate reconstructions made of the things I'm interested in. My first purchase of a full suit was the Dendra Panoply you see in my Avatar. It would have been impossible to purchase an antique since there is only one complete sample in the world.

Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sam Haverkamp
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Old Vs New         Reply with quote

Nathan,
Your points are all valid. It all depends what interests a person and that will dictate price point. I started out collecting anything Antique I could get my hands on, not caring what Country it was from as long as it was at least 100 years old. I ended up with allot of junk at first, but careful searching produced more gems than junk as I went along. It is not uncommon to see 18th Century European small swords in excellent condition go for under 500.00 at auction. I guess I am more curious to the fact that most people dont think of looking for old when there are so many beautiful shiny new swords to choose from. ( Im only guessing at this of course)
S
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam;

Also there is wanting a sword that is a good example of what a historical sword would have looked like when new.

Using a period sword could also damage it and a thousand year old sword might be just a bit fragile or simply much too valuable to risk damaging both from a financial point of view and destroying a historical artifact is vandalism. Eek!

As for me I like having modern versions of historical swords that I mostly just admire and the focus of my interest is design and aesthetic more than collecting originals: That is almost a separate hobby or interest I think.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 3:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess I am more curious to the fact that most people dont think of looking for old when there are so many beautiful shiny new swords to choose from. ( Im only guessing at this of course)


You are guessing as well as grossly oversimplifying the issue, and quite frankly this statement is a bit insulting. Please don't judge the needs and desires of the entire community based solely upon your own needs and desires. If I simply wanted to collect old "stuff" then yes, I could find many smallswords, Indian tulwars, persian shamshirs, Indonesian dao, etc. for very reasonable prices. However, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that my primary interest lies anywhere from the iron age to the later middle ages. Could I find swords in good condition from these periods that any of us could afford? Very unlikely to impossible. If my interest lies in the viking age and I happen to find a viking sword in very good condition and can actually obtain it, can I then engage in a bit of experimental archeology by using that sword in cutting exercises in an attempt to educate myself about the swords properties? If I could actually obtain the sword in the first place using it in that kind of exercise would be extremely unwise.

For many of us it has nothing to do with a desire for "many beautiful shiny new swords".
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Sam Haverkamp
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,
WOW, now thats an expensive Hobby! I have taken the cheaper route and bought alot of Antique copies of Armours. I dont think I have spent 20k on them all together. I see your point nonetheless and realize the real deal is out of reach for most collectors.
Thanks for your reply
Sam
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sam,

My replica cost me around $4000. The original is priceless.
More info here.
http://z8.invisionfree.com/Bronze_Age_Center/...wtopic=347


Last edited by Dan Howard on Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sam Haverkamp
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick and Jean,
Very good valid points. I do in no way mean to insult anyone, thats why Im asking the question. I honestly dont know what the feeling is out there or the reasons. I have been thinking of purchasing a High End "shiny new sword" and when I see how much it could cost me I have a hard time with it. I totally get that a ton of pieces of interest are just not available at a reasonable price. Its obvious I am thinking about this is too narrow a mindset. I guess when it comes to actually putting my money down I cant help but want something with a story, some history, even if its unknown.
S
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Haverkamp wrote:
Patrick and Jean,
Very good valid points. I do in no way mean to insult anyone, thats why Im asking the question. I honestly dont know what the feeling is out there or the reasons. I have been thinking of purchasing a High End "shiny new sword" and when I see how much it could cost me I have a hard time with it. I totally get that a ton of pieces of interest are just not available at a reasonable price. Its obvious I am thinking about this is too narrow a mindset. I guess when it comes to actually putting my money down I cant help but want something with a story, some history, even if its unknown.
S


Well, those are totally valid reasons to collect and I took your question at face value and explained my mindset which is different as basically your question was about different mindsets I think.

As an example I have no interest in stamp collecting but even with minus zero interest in stamps I can understand the passion of someone who does: One can respect the passion and not share the interest but I could enjoy a conversation were a stamp collector tried to explain what he sees in stamp collecting. This doesn't mean I would start having an interest in stamps after the conversation Wink Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Tue 16 Jan, 2007 4:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an interesting question. As the son of an antiques dealer I was used to hearing "why buy new when you could have a nice antique?" I think that Nathan and others have done a nice job of outlining why people collect replicas/re-creations of swords instead of antiques. I also collect antique swords, mainly British swords from the 18th and 19th centuries. I would love to collect swords from an earlier period, but prices prohibit my ambitions from reaching fruition.

The prices on swords within my area of collecting are increasing in price (which is nice from the point of view of an owner, but not a buyer). My last antique purchase was a British 1854 Pattern Scots Guards Officer's sword with am 1897 Pattern blade. It is fantastic, and less common than other British swords of the Victorian era, but the price was comparable to that of an Albion Museum Line sword. That's fine if the campaigns of Queen Victoria suit your fancy, but not if your passion is for an earlier time period. That's where replicas/re-creations are a fantastic alternative.

Since finding this and other related forums, I have realized that there is also a growing community of people who practice Western Martial Arts. I would never use any of my antiques for such a pursuit for the reasons outlined by previous posts. I agree that with antiques one can feel truly connected to the past. Replicas offer this feeling as well, just in a different way. As Patrick said, the experimental (and experiential?) archaeology offers insights into the lives of the men of the past.

myArmoury has played a big role in changing my opinion of "modern" swords, and in 10-12 weeks, I'll have one of my own!

Best,
Jonathan
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Adam Simmonds




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi there,
Although some took exception to your remarks about "many...new swords" - I believe there is some truth to this observation about the "many" factor. Nathan noted in his post that he couldn't have afforded a collection of the same quantity as his current one, composed entirely of antiques. However, I would suggest that it is possible to purchase, instead of a large number of replicas, a small number of antiques. It becomes a matter of personal preference.
Personally, I prefer to have one antique in good condition then numerous replicas. This is entirely my preference, and is achievable as my chief period of interest is 16th - 17th century europe - from which time a number of good condition pieces are still available. My 'collection' consists of 1 sword and as such, is for me (at least until I become wealthier Wink ), entirely satisfactory. Others perhaps would find this insufficient and would prefer spending the same money on numerous pieces in numerous styles. Each to their own, I quess.

cheers, Adam
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another consideration, is that most of us know what we have when it comes to modern replicas but more than a few of us (especially me) would not know our nose from our feet when looking at a group of alleged antiques. I have the impression that there are a fair number of fakes and antique (victorian) reproductions floating around that can really trash an investment if you're looking for something original and not sure what you are getting into. As my parents are in the antique business (not swords), I know this holds true for just about any type of antique imaginable where a collector community will spend meanful money.

In some very significant ways, investing in a reproduction seems to represent less risk. At least less percieved risk to some of us. Especially to the novice might be antique investor like me.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The bottom line is that we all collect for different reasons. Budget, time period(s) of interest, intended usage, and many other factors go into our decisions. I've said it before: we're not all in this for the same reasons or with the same goals. Vive le difference... Happy

For me, my budget and other factors preclude buying antiques. I like being able to handle my swords without gloves without worrying about destroying their value. Happy If they patinate, I can take scotchbrite or sandpaper to them without fear of mucking them up. I like taking them out in the backyard and wacking pool noodles and pumpkins with them. I like the occasional customization option or the choice of grip colors when ordering. Etc., etc.

I've been fortunate to handle several antiques, and the feeling was awe-inspiring, but also fear-inspiring. I was holding something of great monetary value that was also irreplaceable and perhaps fragile. I was loathe to even swing them around at all. Having a weapon with a history is great, but properly caring for it and preserving it for future generations is more of a responsibility than I sometimes want.

I know a collector of antiques with a very fine collection who had never done any cutting with a sharp medieval style sword. Watching him be able to cut (with a repro, of course) for the first time was a joy. Being allowed to handle his antiques was a joy. My collection and goals and budget differ from his in so many ways, but I think we each found value in experiencing the other's collection.

As to quantity, I certainly could have saved up all my money and bought an antique or two instead of 7 swords, 6 daggers (soon), a pair of gauntlets, and a helm. I just chose not to. Happy I wanted a variety of things in my collection, a variety which necessitated certain quantities. Again, we don't all have to have the same goals to appreciate someone else's. I think that's what makes this so fun.

Happy

ChadA

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Tue 16 Jan, 2007 7:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Jan, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I personally would respect a historic antique, with or without any significant known history, too much to subject it to abuses of test cutting.

Part of the fun of buying the new "historically correct" replicas is seeing what we can actually do with them. Busting a $600 sword is a bummer, but not a crime as I feel abusing an antique would be.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Jan, 2007 3:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In addition to all the good points others have raised...

As someone more interested in the martial aspects of the weapons, I never really looked into buying antiques, as I know I wouldn't dare train with them. But there are at least two other reasons I can see for going into reproductions:

First, I consider that antiques should be accessible to the greatest part of the public, and thus are better placed in a museum than in a private collection. Of course, private collectors can be very open minded about someone visiting their collection, but obviously they won't be able to handle the same number of visitors (or the same security for the objects), as museums do. I can't help being a little sad thinking of all the great pieces that can be hidden somewhere... This is not restricted to swords, note. This is my opinion about most antique objects. Seeing some part of history disappear in private collections not available to the public is a pity, really. Of course, this is a greater problem for the most ancient or unique objects, so there is a correlation with price.

Second, I'm personally very excited about the fact that the knowledge about making swords is not getting lost, and that there are craftsman out there that are able to reproduce better and better swords. I think these efforts should be valued, almost as much as "getting the real thing", because they contribute to our understanding of what this "real thing" is truly about. In other words, I think the only way we can have a notion of the value of the object is by trying to reproduce it now. I'm not sure everyone around would be so respectful of things like profile and distal taper, hollow grinding and such, without the practical experience of modern swordsmiths. And I'm glad to encourage that Happy

So to sum up, I see antiques more as references, that should be as public as possible, and thus allow people to understand and reconstruct, rather than objects I would just own for the sake of owning, without daring to even handle them...

Regards

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Vincent
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Tue 16 Jan, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad and Vincent both touched on my feelings about antiques.

1) I don't want the responsibility. What if I damaged the thing? If I damage my Arms and Armor claymore beyond repair no big deal, for less then 1000 dollars each you can get as many of them as you want. If I damage a sword that is the only one of its kind in the world and irreplaceable how to I make it right? The short answer is I can't.

2) Truly valuable antiques do a greater benefit being available to the public then they would being stuffed in my safe.

The bottom line is (and I've noted it before) if somehow a truly valuable antique somehow came into my possession I would sell it and use the proceeds to buy another modern made sword.

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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Jan, 2007 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: Old Vs New         Reply with quote

Sam Haverkamp wrote:

...I'm a little confused why there seems to be a shift towards buying Historically correct modern made Arms...
So my question simply is, do most people think that Antiques are so much more expensive than High end modern swords so they dont even search them out, or is it something else?
Regards
Sam


Hi Sam...

I would agree that I don't have the money to invest in originals of the older forms of swords I am interested in... and even if I did have the money, I would not want to try to keep an original secure and conserved.

However, my main reason is that I think that antiques are a little to antique for what I like. But modern replicas are often too "modern," not just in design but in weight, balance, etc. And they are too shiny for my tastes. As I have said in other post, while I enjoy the very fine, right -out- of- the- cutlery- shop look of many high end replicas and while I find great worth in the experience of seeing or handling original finds, I want my collection to try and display what the sword looked and felt like at its prime. After a lifetime or two of service... worn but not worn out. To get that look I would either have to refurbish antiques or modify and age replicas. The latter is more economical...

ks

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 16 Jan, 2007 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am all for making antique arms and armor available to the public. I share my collection with pretty much anyone who is interested. Sadly, many museums that feature arms and armor only have space to display a portion of their collection. I was fortunate enough to delve into the bowels of the British Museum when I was in college. The class that brought me there was "Early Christian and Viking Period Ireland" taught by Prof. Graham-Campbell. We had the privilege of handling swords, brooches, etc. from the defined era. There were drawers upon drawers full of artifacts that may never be displayed!

Also, many antiques on the market, excluding perhaps those sold by Peter Finer, are not "museum quality". By that I mean that they are not "important" enough, or pretty enough to take up display space. Perhaps some of my pieces would be fit for a "mom and pop" type of museum, or maybe a small historical society museum. A number of private collectors that maintain important museum quality pieces contribute to the advancement of knowledge of arms and armor. For example, there are a few such collectors that frequent the Antique & Military Swords forum on SFI, one of whom has a world-class collection of British swords from the Napoleonic era. He has been an important academic figure in this field for at least two decades, maybe more.

To summarize, not all antiques belong in a museum, and everyone need not collect antiques. Each person has his or her own goals and reasons for studying arms and armor, and each approach to this study has its merits.

Jonathan
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Jan, 2007 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan,

My writings came out more clear cut than my thoughts, I'm afraid... I'm fully aware that many private collectors contribute a great deal to the advances of our knowledge. Even, it's possible that some private collectors do a better job at preservation than some museum on seemingly unimportant pieces. I was speaking from my point of view, and I know that I would not be too good at preserving an antique.

I also know that what is displayed in museums is only a fraction of what is stored there. I admit that I'm not sure of the conditions under which you are allowed to study pieces there (but I will start a thread about that later). What I like, still, is the idea that those pieces are somewhat grouped, and not dispersed among many collectors, some of whom could be hard to get in touch with. To me, it is paramount that an antique does not get lost, and it could be lost by losing contact with the owner just as well as through destruction as far as the general public is concerned. It seems to me that this is less likely in museums, but I could be totally wrong about that as it's not really my field of expertise...

There is an exception that I make to this sort of "rule" personally, and it's linked to what Russ said:

Russ Ellis wrote:
The bottom line is (and I've noted it before) if somehow a truly valuable antique somehow came into my possession I would sell it and use the proceeds to buy another modern made sword.


I would do the same I believe. The exception I'd make is if this item is linked to me or my family. For example, I have this old foil from around 1880 (not a piece of history by any stretch), that I could probably sell if I wanted money badly, or even give to a museum, if there were any that wanted it. But it came almost directly to me from my great-great-grandfather (assuming I'm not getting lost in the "great"s Wink ) and as such I tend to consider it as a kind of heirloom... and will try to keep it as long as possible.


Regards

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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