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Thread: The changing collection, the changing collector

  1. #1

    The changing collection, the changing collector

    I thought it might be fun to have a discussion about how and why our collections have changed (or haven’t) and how and why we have changed (or haven’t) as collectors. I’ll get the conversation started, and allow me to apologize ahead of time if I put you to sleep...

    The Collection:

    I started collecting when I was 14 years old (summer 1993). Perhaps more accurately, I bought my first sword at age 14—a British Pattern 1796 Infantry Officer’s Sword. Several months later I decided I wanted to start a proper collection and bought an American fraternal sword at a local flea market.

    Soon thereafter my father gave me an early hardcover copy of Neumann’s Swords and Blades of the American Revolution, which exposed me to hundreds a lovely Georgian era British swords. This book, along with the current (for the early to mid 1990s) “Sharpe” television series pushed me towards saving for late 18th century and early 19th century British swords. I tended to make one big purchase a year (for a high school boy), and these were invariably swords from my target era.

    That is not to say that I was a focused collector. On the contrary, I would buy almost any edged weapon I came across and could afford. The internet was not a factor yet, so generalist antiques shows in Wisconsin and Illinois were the sources of my swords. I had a passing interest with American Civil War swords, sword bayonets, African spears, daggers from South East Asia, etc.

    The seeds of my current interests were planted in the Spring of 2000 when I was studying abroad at University College London. I made occasional weekend visits to Portobello Road’s “Admirail Verenon’s Antiques Center” to visit David Parker of Armada Antiques. On one such visit I was smitten by a Victorian sword—a nice named Pattern 1821 Artillery Officer’s Sword. A year later I received as a graduation gift my second Victorian sword, a Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword.

    Sadly my college graduation marked the end of my collecting for 5 years (for a number of reasons). The hiatus from collecting eventually became a hiatus from any deep interest in swords. But in March 2006 I discovered SFI and slowly returned to the fold. One of the valuable lessons I learned here at SFI is that it is possible to part with certain items from my collection in order to improve the overall quality of the collection. With this in mind I sold a few swords that were no longer of great interest to me (i.e., not British) and was able buy a nice Pattern 1854 Guards Officer’s Sword ID’d to an officer who serve din the Boer War and WWI. Through the expert assistance and tutelage of John Hart I was able to learn a great deal about this officer.

    With one exception, all of my subsequent purchases have been researchable Victorian swords. And that is pretty much where I am with my collecting today. I still have the majority of my Georgian swords as well as a few other stragglers from my early days of collecting, but my sword fund monies are solely dedicated to researchable British Victorian era swords (with a current preference for swords ID’d to officers who served in India and the North West Frontier) and related reading materials.

    The Collector:

    I have already touched on this a bit as my changing collecting reflects how I have changed as a collector. But there are a few personal changes that occurred that I would like to address.

    As a young collector I had the luxury of having an income from summer jobs and babysitting with no expenses. I was able to save for specific swords without worrying that an unexpected expense would come up requiring me to re-direct my sword money. As an adult I do not have that luxury and there have been several instances when I have had to fix a car rather than save it for a sword. Through perspective gained through contact with other collectors (mainly here at SFI) as well as out of necessity, I have learned to let go of certain pieces in order to acquire new ones (thanks, Andre!). This has really been the key to learning more as well as keeping me engaged an enthusiastic about collecting.

    Before meeting more collectors here, I did not realize how much I did not know about swords. I maybe even began to think there was not much more to know. My wife tells me that collecting and studying swords is such a small niche, and asks how much more there could be to know. I respond by telling her that this is exactly what makes swords (and many other subjects) so exciting. On the face of it the sword appears to be a simple subject, but there is so much depth to explore and so many exciting tangents one can follow. I know that I cannot learn everything about swords in one lifetime, so I hope that by pursuing a specific niche of a specific niche I can learn as much as one can hope to learn.

    Finally, SFI and other online communities have demonstrated to me that the human element makes collecting swords far more satisfying than collecting in isolation. I have made numerous friends and acquaintances which have enriched my personal life and my knowledge as a collector. Additionally, meeting other collectors face to face and making a better effort to attend sword-related events has proven time and again that books are terrific, but I learn so much more when I am confronted with information in a hands-on learning environment (David C., Richard D., Glen C., Jon p.!).

    If you made it through my ramblings, perhaps you would like to share some of your experiences as a collector. How have your collections changed? How have you changed as a collector?

    All the best,
    Last edited by J.G. Hopkins; 07-21-2008 at 12:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Rhode Island
    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    I started collecting when I was 14 years old (summer 1993).
    Heh...just a pup.

    Came to the US in late teens as a refugee. Swords, or any other kind of collectibles were out of the question.
    Life straightened out, got an education [God bless America!!! No country like it!!!!], started a business. On one of the on-line forums befriended another Russian emigre, a prolific collector of edged weapons, got smitten, started buying indiscriminately, got married, had kids, got out of the hobby for 5 or 6 years, moved to another State, came back to swords a little over a year ago, in full swing this time.
    General interests -
    1.American small arms from the colonial times [with select British swords by proxy] to the Mexican War
    2.American naval small arms of all vintages
    Last edited by Dmitry Z~G; 07-21-2008 at 12:46 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Nipmuc USA
    A collector in another section here summed up getting started quite nicely. Mom. My early home life might best be described as being prompted to a classical education. There was really no escape from literature, stage productions and some pretty classic filmography.

    Skip forward thirty or forty years and although always kind of a knife guy, I found myself becoming more interested in revisiting history and somehow drifted in to various fora while looking at reproductions to satisfy an inner fop. Somewhat parallel and certainly a bulk of my internet bookmarks at the time reflected affordable antiques I might well have pursued more agressively a decade ago. Along the way, various fora alerted my attention and the boards at Viking Sword were my first prolonged visits. From there, I bumped into Highlander (SFI, the early years) and Net Sword. Going through a swords are fun stage, I more than sated my yen for reproductions while still missing out on some really grand old swords "on my list".

    How have your collections changed? How have you changed as a collector?

    My life is often summed up as apparent feast or famine but the collection(s) have only managed to grow. Foremost in that has been collecting information for subjects of interest but I have also managed to fill corners of the old sword niches that have been on a back burner for a long time. What has been apparent for even longer is that there is so much more to visually appreciate and study in context that what is actually the cornerstone of collecting for me is the exchange of information and continued study.

    As to rotating inventory in order to pursue other wants, I never seem to be able to do that. That part of my collecting habits hasn't really changed. I keep thinking to liquidate all my medieval reproductions but they always seem to remind me that they were all purchased with a good amount of forethought and I'd miss any of them. I did pass on a locally made camp knife to an older sister that was very drawn to it but that is the one blade that has left the fold since around 1994.

    I am really on hold for any in at this point but still do have a short list I watch. I'm still liking spadroons as space savers (plus I like them for the feel) and eagle pommels in general.
    my overall collection might be best described as elclectic, or something for nearly everyone. There were a few less planned buys in there but somehow everything meshes.


    Hotspur; the ones that get away bug me but I'll always have the memories

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Sidmouth, in the South-West of the UK
    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    I thought it might be fun to have a discussion about how and why our collections have changed (or haven’t) and how and why we have changed (or haven’t) as collectors.
    Interesting thread, Jonathan! I started collecting swords when I realised it was possible to actually own a piece of military history that might have seen action in some famous campaign. As a boy I was very keen on battles and war stories (mostly WW2), and for a couple of years was also a wargamer with model armies from the Ancient and Late Roman periods. All that fell into abeyance when I turned 18, discovered girls, and went to university! My interest in history has always been strong, but the military side went to sleep until I saw a militaria shop on the Nottinghamshire/Lincolnshire border while staying with in-laws, and went in just out of curiosity. It was a real eye-opener, although many of the pieces were too expensive even then (1997). I was able to afford an 1821 Royal Artillery pattern sword with the early type of Sam Browne scabbard (before the metal chape was lost), for the princely sum of £75. The next year I bought an 1854 Pattern Infantry sword with a great blade, which had been re-hilted in 1895 (also for £75 - I was getting better at haggling ). This one was named and I was able to do a limited amount of research through the internet and the relevant regimental museum. That really got me hooked on named, researchable swords, and though I've always bought swords that are "good examples of the type", it's the personal histories of the owners that are now the real attraction for me.

    The collection was originally very eclectic, although always British (they're the easiest swords to find in the UK, of course). The next distinct phase was when I tried to acquire fewer, better swords, then I went through a period concentrating on First World War P1897s, then a switch to Scottish cross-hilts, and another when I realised my collection was virtually devoid of cavalry patterns. The last phase before the current one was a fruitless foray into Georgian pieces, but I was defeated by high prices and the comparative difficulty of finding out anything about the original owners' careers. At present it's all about Victorian, Edwardian and WW1 fighting swords, with a particular interest in swords of the British Raj.

    Each shift in emphasis has been accompanied by a bout of selling - the collection now seems to have stabilised at around 40 swords although the composition is ever-changing. The trend over time has been towards more "interesting", and therefore usually more expensive pieces. I've noticed too that recently the rank of the officer owners seems to be on the rise (mainly because of the better research potential they tend to offer), and I have fewer swords now to 2nd Lieutenants and Lieutenants, and more to Majors and Lieutenant-Colonels, than I used to. One feature that I'm very pleased about is that I have photographs or paintings of the owners of around a third of the swords in the collection - for me this makes the final link between the inanimate items we all collect and the flesh and blood they were designed to protect!

    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  5. #5
    At the age of 6 I was dragged out of an antiques shop complaining bitterly that my father wouldn't buy me the French briquet I'd seen hanging up, but I didn't start collecting until well into my 30s.

    I'd visited the National Maritime museum a few days before buying my first sword and I wondered into an antiques shop and saw a spadroon similar to one in the NMM, so on impulse I bought it (£95)

    After a few months of borrowing books from the local library and making myself a nuisance at the British Library I discovered that Wallis & Wallis was only 20 miles from my house, I went to a couple of auctions and soon found myself the proud owner of a 1796 Inf and an 1796 LC by Wooley. It all just carried on from there. I enjoy the research at least as much as owning a sword, and since I mostly buy at auction its necessary too. I'm less interested in the owner than John and Jonathan, but am facinated about how the decoration changes over the period and what the stylistic influences are, Classical Greek, Egyptian, Indian etc.

    I have bought swords from earlier periods 1680 being the earliest and from later periods but I always end up selling them for Georgian pieces, mainly because I'm interested as much by the period as by the sword itself. Like John I love owning swords from a period of history that facinates me.

    Currently I have 30 swords all dating from about 1776 to 1815, I have most (but not all) of the patterns I want now, so I mainly look for variants and for better examples of what I already have.

    Last edited by David Critchley; 07-22-2008 at 02:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Started as a fascination of everything WW2. Then comes a 1914 EK2, the a sub badge all at age 11 from an old antique store. Interest then goes dormant.

    Age 23, pick up bits and pieces..german tinnies, US pilot wings...then goes dormant.

    Age a few more misc small dollar pieces. Dormant. Find out sub badge and imperial EK2 are fakes.

    Age mid-30, relative finds an SA and a Heer dagger at dirt prices. Buys and sends to me. Sparks interest in edged weapons...and that fact my old man was a Naval Aviation guy who has a nice officer saber that has always fascinated me since childhoold.

    A number of years go by, add a few more daggers to the mix. Then a German Heer saber, then another then another. Then dormant.

    Come upon a nice Luft fliegerschwert and it was all over from there. Backed away from daggers, went all out into swords, moved into US swords, M1902s, then totally focused on German Imperial, Weimar, and TR era...still adding US pieces here and there. Then flags, badges, wings, headgear, EKs, sake cups/bottles...the list goes on.

    Now today, have to have an insurance policy for the collectibles...mostly the swords.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Perth Scotland
    I was 7 when my father gave me my first horn and brass handled sgian to tuck in my sock when I wore the kilt. That started it for me, still have that knife. He had an in at the local auction house so got some good deals, never concentrated on swords, I liked all weapons. Whatever was a good price and looked good, I had no rules or plan. Nothings changed really except I got rid of all my beautiful guns and a few swords years ago. Now I have a son and heir so no need to sell anything ever again. Now I collect sharp weapons only or dull but they must be old, it's not worth messing with Canadian gun laws.
    Last edited by David gray; 07-22-2008 at 06:32 PM.
    David Gray

  8. #8

    About me.

    What a fascinating thread.

    I am probably a bit unusual in that I don’t really collect many swords.

    I have always been interested in history and military history in particular and when visiting the in-law in the late 90’s I picked up and started to read a Lyles price guide they had on a shelf. What fascinated me was the fact that you could pick up swords with a direct link to the history I had read about for a relatively low price. From here I visited a few auctions and started to study more and more about the various patterns and development of swords over the centuries.

    At first I was drawn to the Napoleonic period as this was a period of history that fascinated me the most and this is probably the time period that still is my main interest. However the more I read, the more I became fascinated with the whole development of the sword and the changes in design caused by user experience, fashion and manufacturing techniques.

    The pieces that interest me the most are those from the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th century. Although I would love to have a room full of examples I realized early on that my available funds wouldn’t stretch that far. There is however a large number of museums, fairs and auctions in the UK where I can go to view, handle and discuss swords with fellow enthusiasts.

    It’s really the development of the sword and the variations in national patterns that fascinates me the most and so I guess I am now a collector of information on this subject. Most of my money goes on reference books and acquiring out of print publications, articles etc.

    Living near Birmingham in the UK I have recently become very interested in the Birmingham sword trade and this has really taken over in the past couple of years. I work about 200yds away from the City archives and this has given me a great opportunity for further study. For the past 18 months I have been boring everyone with my research on Thomas Gill and have found this great fun. As a reward to myself for this study I have recently purchased a very early and a very late example of the Gill family’s wares. I guess this is probably how my sword collecting will progress with few purchases based on research topics.

    Obviously my website does take up a lot of my spare time and was created because I found it was a great way to meat fellow enthusiasts, store and easily access information I had acquired and also develop some additional IT skills (I work in IT). It’s turned into almost a fulltime activity but I really enjoy it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    I guess I have had an interest in edged weapons since my college years when I had a dabble with sport fencing in the mid 70s. I had collected a few pieces in the 80s, all crap that have long since been purged. In the late 90s I got involved with the Westen Martial Arts (WMA) and was finally able to realize the dream of actually learning how to properly fight with various kinds of swords and daggers. That is when my collection really began.

    It started more on a practical note with the need of owning high quality training weapons and simulators. It then progressed to acquiring some higher end replicas, once again to aid in training helping with more accurate balance and dynamics. My current phase is searching out the real thing. As good as some replicas are, there is nothing else that quite compares to handling a real sword. What makes all of this a bit more difficult is that the area of my training and interest is the 16th, 17th and early to mid 18th century.

    My collection reflects this pattern of shift as approximately 1/3 are originals, 1/3 high quality replicas, with the rest being training blunts.

    This is a photo of my armory, actually our TV room . Quite a few of them are here, but I have others spread about the house here and there, and in the trunk of my car.

    Last edited by Dave Housteau; 07-23-2008 at 12:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Housteau View Post

    A very impressive display sir!

    Just one suggestion:
    Ask the wife if you can ditch the throw pillows.
    It detracts a bit from the awesomeness.

    “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
    -Alan Watts

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Dehn View Post
    A very impressive display sir!
    Just one suggestion:
    Ask the wife if you can ditch the throw pillows. It detracts a bit from the awesomeness. lol
    Thank you, but remove the few items that actually belong in a TV room ? That would be pushing it for someone already so fortunate as to have such an understanding wife, that has accepted my different and somewhat unusual directions in life .

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Housteau View Post
    Thank you, but remove the few items that actually belong in a TV room ? That would be pushing it for someone already so fortunate as to have such an understanding wife, that has accepted my different and somewhat unusual directions in life .
    They are often are wonderfully understanding that way.
    Then again, we do have to put up with frilled bathtowels that we are not allowed to use.
    “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
    -Alan Watts

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Excellent discussion topic!!
    I could go on and on with this one but will summarize briefly. For me, for some reason the moment i set my eyes on my first sword (an authentic 1865 Wilkinson Baskethilt broadsword) i knew that such an item, that walked directly out of history, would pull out that dormant true collector that had been inside me..... and affect me forever. Once a collector always a collector for me. It is that one feeling that is unexplainable to any other 'third person observer' but is the very feeling that any sword collector would rightfully understand....that excitement one feels when holding a sword in the hand, the joy of discovering the several fascinating variations that exist and the shear beauty of construction and ornamentation of such a utilitarian weapon.

    I started collecting the second year i was in college. My wage at the time was right in line with being able to pay my rent, car insurance etc. and almost all the other expenses necessary to survive on my own and get an education....which really only left enough money to buy one or two swords a year. The authentic swords were of the more inexpensive style/design (fraternal, late 1800's century and the such...even those that i knew i could restore to a better state) and because i was on a tight budget it actually taught me to develop an eye for uniqueness and be able to filter out the good buys from the bad. Prior to the internet resources now available, almost all of my spare time i had, i would find myself in antique shops looking for these unique bladed treasures...with excitement and anticipation of what i might find next. Many i had to turn away in dissappointment because i could not afford the price due to thier historical value, design and ornateness. I would spend an entire day to visit any and all antique shops, even if they were 50 miles away.

    I was bitten by the sword collector bug and my interest in swords will never falter. I experienced a new feeling just recently when i forced myself to 'let go' of some of the unique, not often seen, pieces that took some time to discover....this was difficult as one tends to develop a connection with thier pieces over time. I sold them to a very kind collector who is a member of the sword forum site and am glad to see him be able to enjoy them for reasons of his own. I still have some pieces left in my collection and am now trying to convince myself to let go of more of them.....all for the reason of upgrading my collection to better pieces. As i get older i realize that, even though each sword i own or have owned i thouroughly enjoyed, but now i would rather own a few higher quality/unique pieces than have a volume of swords that would eventually be too much work for me to maintain in thier current condition.

    To conclude, i find myself back on a budget again with a family, with a wonderful understanding wife, a 6yr old son and 3 1/2 yr old daughter. I still try to find ways to put aside collector takes awhile...but, drawing from my previous experience when i was collecting on a budget when i was in college...i am that much the wiser and efficient.

    "Once a collector always a collector" that i am sure of till the day they nail my coffin shut.

    I wish 'Godspeed' to every collector out there who strives to find thier own treasure sword. It is amazing that one can actually own such an awesome piece of history for a modest price if one is persistant in their searches/approach.

    Oh, and i cannot end without saying that the members of this forum who share their knowledge and experiences for others to learn from are simply amazing. Thanks to all those who share.

    Kind Regards,

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Kansas City Metro (USA)
    I agree that this is a very good topic. It tends to let each of us sort our where we are and how we got here in our own mind.

    My collection has changed over the last 50 years or so and so have I. I started collecting as a kid picking up pop bottles for the deposit to fund my collection and I am now retired and only work for sword money anymore. I started out as a generalist military collector as a kid. I scrounged stuff from my father, uncles, neighborhood vets, and anyone else who might have drug something back from any war. Of course I also haunted antique shops and Army surplus stores. I then bought stuff by mail when I discovered Shotgun News and dealers who sold by mail order. After a period of time I realized that I had an accumulation of militaria so I tended to specialize and purge stuff that did not fit into specific categories that interested me.

    I have always collected edged weapons but I also tended to collect militaria of all kinds from the US Civil War and WWII. I still do, but now it is more specialized into identified groupings. So, over time I have refined and re-directed my efforts on occasion. I think most of us probably do that.

    After I collected and upgraded almost all of the regulation CW swords, I picked up variations on a theme. For instance, I collect CW period iron/steel hilt sword variations as well as 1902 Army Officer presentations and variations. I also collect German etched blade swords and police swords of all nations. So, I made mid-course corrections as we say in education. That seems to be where I sit today... until the next mid-course correction.

    Last edited by George Wheeler; 07-24-2008 at 10:41 AM.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  15. #15
    As for me, the interest started with a movie called Star Wars. Then later there was seeing fencing on TV in the 1984 olympics. Then seeing my great-grandfather's masonic sword when my family moved (it was always kept in storage). Then moving to Germany and getting an interest in castles, armor, museums, etc. Then came moving back to the states, and the first purchase (1989). An M1913 Patton saber. Still have the serial number written down--I parted with it some time ago. Then Civil War sabers (remember back when replicas cost $200 and so did the real ones?), and whatever odds and ends appealed. I don't so much have a direction in my collection, as a few general areas that interest me.

    Here's my big display case. It currently has 26 swords in it. The good stuff is all in the safe, though.

    Ok, the computer is refusing the attachment right now. I'll try from a different computer in a few minutes.


  16. #16

    Here's that pic

    Here's the pic. Smallswords, IOD89s, espada anchas, an eagle pommel, a firengi, a militia officer's sword, US cavalry and aritllery swords, French armor, and some stuff up top that isn't visible (US M1832 arty, 1846 Brunswick bayonet, Eickhorn printing blocks, SA dagger).
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Mississippi, U.S.A.
    Those who really know me know that my collecting interests change as the wind blows.

    I am the youngest of 4 children. My older brothers were into hunting and fishing. Not me, I read about military history, played with army men and played army in the woods. I got my first sword at about age 12. It was a ratty, beaten up US 1860 sabre made by Emerson & Silver. I got my first musket about a year later from an antique store in Vicksburg, MS after repeatedly begging my father to buy it for me for my birthday. Well, this occurred in the summer and my birthday is in February. I guess it pays to be the youngest sometimes.

    When I got into my teen years, I purchased a few more swords, but mainly WWII rifles, bayonets and helmets. There were not the gun laws back then that we have now. In college, I picked up a few things here and there, but I delved more into WWII medals and insignia (just easier to move around). I picked up a couple of swords, but nothing major. When I graduated law school, I treated myself to a US 1850 foot sword. From there, collecting took off. Since then, I have had British swords from the 17th century to the 20th century, French swords and US swords. I have had flintlock muskets and pistols, percussion muskets and pistols and 19th century centerfire cartridge rifles. I have also collected British uniforms and accountrements from the Victorian era through WWI. Lately, I have returned to WWII collecting.

    No, I don't have a museum. I don't have significant space to keep all of this stuff. I tend to collect one genre for a while and sell off pieces when I go to another genre. I guess my collection is a revolving door and you may consider me flighty. I see it in a different light. There are so many areas of history that I enjoy and I like to study them all. When I acquire swords, guns etc., from one era I also obtain reference books. I study these items for a while and them move to the next era. The bulk of the items I have obtained will likely be sold to finance new acquisitions. However, I never sell the reference books. To me, its not about owning something, but rather about learning.

    There is certainly a downside to what I do. There are items that I have had in my collection that I wish that I still had. There are patterns of swords that I have bought on more than one occasion. There are lessons that I have learned as well. What to buy, what not to buy. What is worth the risk and what is not. Whether or not it is best to have one very expensive item from an era or several less expensive items.

    I have two little girls. Neither they, nor my wife, have any interest in "my stuff." So, there is no one at my house who laments when they see me with box in hand carrying out a sword to be shipped. Then again, there is no one there who gets excited when a box arrives on the doorstep. Well, except me. Perhaps I'm grooming myself to be an antique militaria dealer. We shall see . . . .

    Last edited by A.Ducote; 07-31-2008 at 07:35 AM.
    Andre F. Ducote

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Sonoran Desert
    I started with my first sword in 1976, a late victorian baskethilt broadsword by Thurkle. I purchased it via an antique shop near Dundee where my sister was living at the time by working for an entire summer, doing rennovations on a property just outside of town that was owned by the shopkeeper. he paid me in sword, so to speak. interestingly, when my parents came to claim me at end of summer and we flew back to the states, i hand carried the sword all the way back to denver. although the jfk to chicago part the captain took the sword away from me and stashed it up front with him. but on all the other legs of the journey the sword went up into the overhead bin. ah, those were the days......

    what i have noticed in my collecting as time has gone by is that i have become focused on the blade more and more and the hilts less and less. the hilt is still important, its orginality, its condition etc, like everyone else i want a nice hilt, but i tend to focus more and more on the blade. not just for stamps and inscriptions etc, but the geometry and weight, and tapers and just the steel itself. i just like a good blade. tr


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