Issue # 180 | June 1st 2023

From the Desk of Paul Southren

It's definitely getting hard to write anything positive about any new swords or developments in the sword world in the digest this month. The sword industry as we know it is now in danger of more or less collapsing under its own weight and because most sellers are unable to move their current inventories like the could in previous years, prototyping budgets for new designs have more or less run dry. So there is very, very little to report right now - and odds are it will get worse before it gets better..

Behind the scenes we are desperately working with the forges, manufacturers and retailers to try and find at least a temporary solution to this 'Swordmageddon' - though as the broader world economy is also rather messed up, it feels like a losing battle and is certainly very demoralizing..

But battle on we must - and while previous plans have been scuttled or put on hold, new plans must and are being drawn up to ride out the storm and navigate one of the most difficult and challenging times our tiny industry has ever had to face.

In the meantime, let's report on the broader sword world with our usual mix of informative and entertaining articles, videos and forum posts that is the Sword Buyers Digest in June 2023.

Swords in the News

Most Expensive Sword Ever Sold

As the entry and mid level sword market more or less collapses, high end swords and antique sword sales are largely unaffected. And what could illustrate this better than the sale of the most expensive sword every sold, the Wootz steel sword of Tipu Sultan broke all previous records selling at auction for a whopping $17.5 million dollars..

Workouts and Painkillers as training to hold the bearing sword at Kings Coronation

Making history, the first woman to bear both the 17th century Sword of State trained for 6 months in the gym and took painkillers to hold aloft the 8lb, 3' long bearing sword at the Coronation of King Charles last month. Unfortunately the article does not make it clear that bearing swords like this were NOT designed to be used in actual swordfighting, which helps to perpetuate the myth that medieval European swords were overly heavy blades that required brute force to wield.. But nice to see the old tradition preserved even in this Topsy-turvy modern world..

"It's good to be King" - what the daily routine of a medieval King was really like

Even medieval monarchs had a daily routine - and you might be surprised to find out it wasn't all ordering people's heads to be chopped off or feasting on legs of mutton.. This article explores what a day in the life of a King was REALLY like..

Best Laser Swords in Fiction (that aren't lightsabers)

There is little doubt that the Lightsaber from Star Wars is the most iconic 'future sword' in fiction. But the concept has been explored in many different ways over the years. Here are the top 8 laser swords from various video games over the years that are not associated directly with the Star Wars Franchise..

Medieval Mythbusting - common (but wrong) tropes in movies

Was there really such a thing as 'Prima Nocta', 'Chastity belts' and open warfare in fields as seen in countless 'historical' medieval movies? Get the real scoop on just how far Hollywood takes liberties with historical accuracy on the big screen.

William Wallace Sword Back on Display after vandal attack

While it's providence has been called into question, the William Wallace sword has been returned to display at the National Wallace Monument in Scotland after anti-oil protestors attacked it in March.. Good to see it back - less said about the misguided 'protestors' the better..

Video of the Month

These days most sword collectors are used to, and expect, perfectly made, highly symmetrical blades. But is this actually historically accurate?

Popular YouTuber Skallagrim walks along the beach as he ruminates and contrasts actual antiques versus modern reproductions to see if modern reproductions are too 'cosmetically perfect' to such a degree that they are actually 'historically inaccurate' and how swords with slightly wonky crossguards, hammer marks on the blade or other things that are frequently seen on entry level replicas are more accurate than the high end stuff!

Interesting and slightly controversial take on modern sword reproductions - check out a long form live stream reply and deep dive into the argument on the Shadiversity channel here

Best Forum Posts

New Proposed 'anti-zombie' weapon ban in the UK

Things seem to be getting worse for blade collectors in the UK with a new proposed ban on 'zombie' style machetes, swords and blades is forming in the pipeline. When will the madness end?

Shipping horror stories

Sometimes despite the best (and expensive) packaging, the various carriers find a way to damage, break or otherwise mess up a new sword during delivery. Forumites share some of their horror stories.

DIY Blade Bluing

Want to change your blade from steel to a blackened finish? This post will show you a very interesting and easy method to achieve it on any blade at home!

Sharpening fail (and the solutions)

Sharpening is a skill, but what should you do if you have tried (and failed) to sharpen a sword? One of our brave forumites posted his difficult experiences, and forumites chime in with their own tried and tested tips and techniques.

Hope you enjoyed the June issue of the digest. Wish we had more to report, but the situation is what it is and as anyone who has been following the digest will know, is not at all unexpected..

While we cannot know what form the sword industry will take once the dust from the ongoing 'Swordmageddon' takes, we will do our best to keep you updated in real time as it all unfolds..

Take care and Happy Swordening folks.

  • Paul
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