Why aren't there quality repros of 18th/19th c. swords?

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Why aren't there quality repros of 18th/19th c. swords?

Postby MEversbergII » 25 Apr 2016 19:42

Exactly what it says on the tin: Why doesn't the market have someone making quality reproductions of 18th and 19th century swords?

While the antique market is definitely making originals available, there isn't anyone who seems to be making good quality repros of 18th and 19th century swords. This is strange, as there is definitely a collectors market for them. We have some people making gross approximations of them, but nothing great, on the level of Albion, etc. For the most part, anyways.

What exacting repros would get you would be factory-new looking blades, with a level of availability that may not really be there in the antique market from my limited exploration (Matt could -definitely- provide real information on this that I simply do not have). I'd also feel better about actually using them, over an antique, I'd admit.

Since these swords are still around on the antique market (and, now as we saw, some of the original casting Masters), and existed in an era with design documentation, you'd think it would be easier to make top notch versions of these.

So why aren't they reproduced? Is the antique market still too strong? Is the demand just not as good as I'd think?

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Re: Why aren't there quality repros of 18th/19th c. swords?

Postby tea » 26 Apr 2016 00:25

My general assumption has normally been that the price of entry is too high compared to antiques.

Producing reproductions on the Albion level is an expensive proposition. Many of the originals have quite subtle blade geometry, and reproducing that is expensive in materials, time or both (in particular, accurately reproducing blades which are very thick at the shoulder by stock removal leads to horrendous wastage).

Assuming you can charge the same prices as Albion, the cheaper end of Albion's Next Gen line is still north of £500 per sword. Originals are regularly well under that.

Hence, for the cost of a good reproduction, you can simply buy an original outright. This isn't remotely true for renaissance or medieval weapons.
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Re: Why aren't there quality repros of 18th/19th c. swords?

Postby MattS » 26 Apr 2016 10:29

My assumption's always been that collectors are happier collecting an antique than a modern one, and most collectors don't want to actually use the sword.

There are the swords made for modern day British officers, which are based on C19th and early C20th patterns. They're made in India, I think by Windlass, and I'm not sure exactly how accurate they are to the originals. I did once think 'oh a shiny modern one, I'll get one', closely followed by 'how much!? I'll get another antique instead'.

I just has a look on Cold Steel's UK site and I could give them £320.40 for a tulwar, or I could buy a really nice antique one for that.

Another point is also the condition, as tea mentioned renaissance weapons; you’re very unlikely to find an original in a nice pretty condition which still looks like it originally did, and if you do I dread to think what it would cost! I’ve seen original longswords at antique arms fairs for tens of thousands and are incredibly rusted and degraded and I personally would be too scared to touch one if I owned one. With the C18th and C19th stuff, you can get them in close to original condition and even a poor condition piece will restore pretty well.

Oddly though, bronze age weapons don’t seem to be very expensive. I’ve seen a few of them in antiques shops in London (so not the cheapest place) and a short sword or spear head seems to run for about £300.
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Re: Why aren't there quality repros of 18th/19th c. swords?

Postby admin » 25 May 2016 10:52

1) There isn't a big enough market for them (vastly fewer people than medieval) and what most 19th century martial artists want are fencing weapons
2) Antiques are relatively cheap - you can get a real top quality original sword for £350 - less than an Albion
3) To make really good quality repros would be expensive and difficult - 19th century swords are generally more complex in construction than medieval swords

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