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Thread: Advice needed re buying online.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    35

    Advice needed re buying online.

    Hi everyone.

    I have always wanted to collect antique swords but never had the cash. This summer I am hoping to pick up some extra work and use some of the cash to buy an antique sword, something with a modest price tag that wont brake the bank. I live near York in the UK which has many antique centres in which you pay a premium for items not worth anywhere near their price tags so I have been looking online but realise this carries an element of risk for the inexperienced purchaser.
    What online antique retailers have people used and would recommend that are based in or ship to the UK? I'm just looking for peoples positive experiences, I don't what any sort negative comments about retailers.

    Any advice is welcome. I am not looking for any specific type of sword but I am looking for something no older than about 1840 and preferably European or Japanese. Ideally I would like something from the 18th century.

    Adam

  2. #2
    Hi Adam
    personally I always go the auction route or Junk shops route
    reasons being
    1) generally a good bit cheaper than antique centers and the like
    2) I alway like the trill of the hunt, something i don't get buying in an antique centre
    3) On line generally is expensive, although the clasified on this site can have good prices
    4) at house clearance auctions there can be diamonds in the rough for you to rescue
    5) descriptions at auctions can be vague so there is an opertunity to research

    my advice would be to use fairs and antique centres to view swords, get to know the smell and feel of the real deal and also find out yourself what you actually want

    problems with all the above is time, it took over 2 years for me to get a 1796 LC sabre, however, cost me 110 euro

    if it takes time to get the cash together take time to spend it
    enjoy what you get either way
    regards
    ken

  3. #3
    Hi Adam,
    Another avenue to consider is the [non business] classified section of our own forum. I have made some fine purchases from this source, generally at a price below dealer level and all conducted in a friendly cooperative manner. My only caution would be to study photographs closely and if in doubt ask for more detail so that condition of the item can be confirmed.
    Good luck,
    Alan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    260
    Hi Adam,
    Recommending a good dealer is difficult as it depends on the type of sword you are buying, as many dealers seem to focus on certain types of swords. Having bought most of my swords online I can give you a little advice. Once you have found a sword you are interested in make sure you know if there are any reproductions/fakes of it made and find out how to tell the difference. This is important if you are making a purchased based only on pictures. And don't forget to ask seemingly obvious questions like "Is the blade straight?"
    Cheers,
    Mike
    Last edited by MikeShowers; 06-28-2013 at 07:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    91
    After years of buying knives and swords without complaint over the web, three of my most recent sword purchases have not gone well. All have been bought from traders with good reputations and good feedback. The first is a M1940 Klewang bought on ebay. It has been over two months and it still hasn't arrived. The dealer said it would take 4 to 6 weeks. Hopefully it will turn up. The second was also bought on ebay. It was a British 1987 NCO infantry sword with an included rough broken scabbard. It turned up but without the rough scabbard. When questioned, the trader said he had recently moved and the scabbard must have got lost in the move. I received a $40 refund but I wanted the scabbard. Both ebay dealers have good feedback. I have to admit I haven't as yet got back to the Klewang trader but will in the next week to let him know it still hasn't arrived. The third I have just received today from a well known sword trader on the internet. It is a British Officers 1897 infantry sword. I couldn't believe it when it arrived with a bend in it. The dealer has admitted he didn't see it and suggested it must have been damaged in transit. I was well packed with nil damage to the packing. Negotiations are still continuing with this one. I live in the bush in Australia which is beautiful but unfortunately opportunities to actually handle a sword are extremely limited. If I could though, I would recommend handling a sword where possible before purchasing, but of course, for many of us, that's not going to happen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Guildford, Surrey, England.
    Posts
    13,880
    The best piece of advice I can offer is to get to some antique arms fairs - we have several all over the UK and at those you get lots of dealers all in one place, where you can see and handle lots of swords, decide what you want and possibly get a good deal, because you can always barter with dealers most effectively face to face. Never be afraid to offer a price well below the tag price. If something is marked £250, don't be afraid to offer £175 and work from there. Remember all prices on antiques, even on the internet, are asking prices, not absolute prices like in regular shop.
    And as mentioned above, if you want a nice solid sword always ask two questions: 1) is the blade straight, without bends/kinks? and 2) is the hilt solid on the tang?
    I have bought from every source possible (online, auction, shop, arms fair, ebay etc) and I have had bargains through all and in some cases some real disappointments. The key is to know as much as possible about swords before buying - the more you know, the more likely you are to get the best end of the deal.
    Good luck,
    Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    35
    thanks for the good advice guys, there's a lot to work with there. I guess I have to make my mind up first! I have always wanted a nice Katana but can't afford one and will have to wait. I'm quite interested in 18th century swords particularly British and American spadroons but also personal side arms, non military, I will start researching and keeping an eye out for bargains. Also visiting Amsterdam soon and there are a few shops I want to check out.

    Any recommended reading material for the broad area i'm interested in?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    422
    If you're buying just to have one, choose a common model not worth faking and spend the time finding a nice example.

    If you're buying to start a collection, spend some time online to find out *precisely* what interests you, try to handle actual examples to see if you find them as interesting in-person. Then buy (and study) the reference books. Post questions on forums like this one to find others with an interest in the same area combined with experience. Then go looking for your sword.

    This way is longer, but your chances of getting taken are far smaller, you'll spend less money floundering around trying to find something you really like, and your enjoyment is greater when you actually understand what you're looking at when you "hunt"...
    Motivated buyer of US Cavalry sabers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    L'abbaye de Theleme
    Posts
    748
    If you like swords, get some fencing lessons. Even sport fencing would be interesting, historical would be ideal. A sword is a tool. Possesion does not give knowledge, documentaries often missguide, and books only a small part of it.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    35
    Again, thanks for the advice. One of the problems at the moment is i like almost everything except the more recent mass issue military swords which i appreciate are very collectable but have never appealed to me. I always wanted swords since a young age much to my parents confusion and dispair and i have always wanted 'proper" swords, not showy bits of non functional metal covered in chrome. I will narrow it down and when i eventually get one i will post it up on here. I do own a WW2 japanese mass produced tanto i purchased from http://www.kurayahashimoto.com/ when i was in Japan a few years ago. I also owned but sold a 18th century (i think) hunting dagger on here over a year ago.

    I have practiced a little fencing before mostly with medieval reenactors but chronic sciatica at pre 30 have knacked most hopes of physical activity at the moment.

    anyway, my long term obsession will see fruition. Keep any advice coming, its only helping!

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