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How To Start and Maintain a Sword Collection

September 19th, 2012 Collectibles

Whether you're a burgeoning hobbyist who's looking for something new to collect or you're transfixed by the decorative glint of a saber, you should consider these useful tips before starting your sword collection.

Know the function

There are thousands of different swords, but there are only a few functions that they serve. Before you make your first purchase, consider the different uses. One of them, according to, is decorative. These kinds of swords may look appealing sitting on your wall and are great conversation starters, but decorative swords are purely aesthetic. Because they can't be used in simulated combat or reenactment, they typically cost less - anywhere between $15 and $300 - and are usually made from untempered carbon steel.

The next type of sword, notes, is a functional or battle-ready sword. These usually exceed $100 dollars. While sword owners won't go into combat with them, they're much more durable and are sometimes used in cutting exercises that show off the handler's prowess. The functional sword's blade is firmly welded to the handle so it doesn't break during exercises or reenactments. The source notes that some of them have pre-sharpened blades while others are dull, so it's a good idea to look at the sword's description before using it.

The third kind of sword is for stage combat. These are what you see in films during fight scenes. They're thicker and heavier so they can withstand contact with other swords, and they have dull blades. Combat swords usually cost anywhere from $90 to $200, and while they are superior quality, they may not look as accurate.

Know the style

After you figure out the function of the sword, think about the style you want. For example, you might want to indulge in your ancestry and purchase swords that your Viking, Celtic or Samurai ancestors may have wielded, or take a historic approach and try to get a sword from a specific time period, like the Crusades or the Revolutionary War.

You may even want to start your collection with a sword from your favorite movie or video game. Some popular options included the weapon that Mel Gibson's character, William Wallace, used in the blockbuster Braveheart, or the saber from Quentin Tarantino's kung fu revival flick, Kill Bill. Other collectors look to video games and animation - notably the swords featured in the Final Fantasy series of games. No matter what your pop culture preferences are, there's bound to be a sword for you.

Know how to preserve

After you purchase your swords, you'll need to practice proper maintenance. notes that oxidization (rust) is a common form of damage. You should avoid touching the blades of the swords with your hands - besides possibly injuring yourself, the oils from your skin can cause rust.

The source reports that when you clean a sword, you shouldn't use abrasive materials such as emery cloth or steel wool, because they'll ruin the steel. You should provide a protective layer of clove oil or mineral oil, too. You can apply a new coat to your weapons every so often, but you should first remove the old layers of oil with a flannel cloth or another soft fabric.

To prevent rusting, make sure that the scabbards are clean and don't have any moisture on them. Depending on whether you have leather or wooden scabbards, recommends using leather conditioner or wood preserver.

Finally, you'll need to display your swords. Don't try to improvise your display with a homemade solution, which won't offer much protection. Purchase professionally made sword stands or sword hangers that'll show off your weapons without damaging the blades.