Posted: 05/05/17 (13:37pm)
I'm back. We got back on the afternoon of the 3rd May feeling exhausted, dazed and confused. We had been traveling for almost 48 hours. We began with a 17 hour train journey from Varanasi to Delhi that was 7 hours delayed and left Varanasi at 2.37am, followed five hours after reaching Delhi by a flight to Schiphol which was followed by another from Schiphol to Edinburgh. With the time difference thrown in we felt like we were extras from the Walking Dead!
Two days later and we still feel far from rested. I guess it's going to take a couple of days to get back into the swing of things but I felt I should at least write my blog before carrying on with the "to do" mountain that seems to rise at an alarming rate whenever one goes away for any period.
I have been remiss in writing my blog and feel suitably guilty for it but I didn't really want to write about our holiday - it was after all, our holiday (and we had a fantastic time). I had expected to find plenty of wonderful and interesting items to buy and blog about but as it turned out, finding new stock was considerably harder than I had expected. I was a stranger in a strange land, totally without contacts or local knowledge. My attempts at recruiting local drivers and tour guides to assist in finding items was a waste of time as the vast majority of items I was shown were newly made "antiques" and the few genuine items were in such poor condition and with such high asking prices that I either wasn't interested or was unable to bring the price down low enough to make it worth while buying them. I even resorted to showing vendors my website so that they could see what price I was selling similar items for (and usually mine were in much better condition) in an attempt to reduce their asking price, only to be told on several occasions that I needed to put my prices up! Don't worry, I'm not going to do so.
Another hurdle which I was unaware of prior to going was that exporting antiques of any kind from India requires a license. It's not hard to obtain but is time consuming.
Ultimately I bought very few items. My star buy, the 19th century Zulu Iklwa (which I bought during a 72 hour stop over in Amsterdam) turned out to be my first and biggest purchase and even that had a sting in its tail. The spear itself is absolutely genuine and without doubt a Zulu war bring back but it appears that the tip has been re-pointed. The purists would say it has been fiddled with; others might say that the missing tip was restored/repaired but either way it wasn't quite as I had perceived it to be in my rush to buy it.
To be fair, whoever did the restoration did a very good job as I didn't pick up on it until it was pointed out to me on Wednesday afternoon (after photographing it and recording its dimensions I wrapped it carefully and posted it home so didn't really spend too much time examining it in minute detail). The Iklwa is a fantastic piece and still one of the best I have owned but I'm not quite sure how I feel about the work that was done on it.
Would I have preferred it to have had a missing tip? Part of me says yes - it's part of its history, its story and I enjoy the misty eyed imaginings of how and when that may have happened. But another part of me is very happy with how it looks re-tipped, knowing that it was carried during the Zulu wars... I guess it comes down to individual taste.
Should the dealer in Amsterdam have told me about the restoration? On that front I have no doubt. Of course he should. I would still have bought it - maybe not for quite so much (I would certainly have tried to use the information to bargain the price down) but he didn't tell me and I didn't spot it so we are where we are. I am at least telling you.
In a few days I will get the Iklwa listed with close up images of the tip and you will be able to make an informed choice.
When all is said and done it is a great example of a Zulu War fighting Iklwa, it's age and history are without question and it will make a fine addition to any collection.
Ok, so I have a mountain of mail still to deal with, unpacking to finish and all the other chores that welcome one home from holiday so I'd best get doing. We'll chat again soon...
Posted: 16/04/17 (6:39am)
Bygone Blades would like to wish everyone a very happy and relaxing Easter.
Enjoy the weekend.
Richard & Sue
Posted: 11/04/17 (14:15pm)
Ok, so I've just looked at the pics of the Iklwa that I put on the website this morning. They really don't do it justice so I will redo them when I get home.
I saw some lovely swords today. At least they would have been when they were new. Unfortunately the years and previous owners have not been kind to them so what I actually saw was 17 relic or near relic condition swords ranging in date from the mid eighteenth to late nineteenth century. It was interesting to see them and Sue suffered in silence while i spent a couple of hours going through them. My interest was of course tempered with disappointment at their condition. Needless to say I didn't buy any.
Next time maybe...
Posted: 11/04/17 (5:56am)
Time is racing by! It always does on holiday. I'm not going to bore you with the details, suffice to say we are having a fantastic time and have toured some awe inspiring palaces/fortresses with edged weaponry collections that leave me drooling and green with envy!
So far my only purchase has been the wonderful Iklwa - Zulu stabbing spear which i have just added to the site. I have to be honest and admit that I thought long and hard before doing so. I love it. I have owned and sold a number of Iklwa in the past but this is the best so far.
High quality, period guaranteed Iklwa are getting increasingly hard to find and I was very tempted to keep his one for myself. Have a look at it in the Spears category and you will understand why.
At the moment we're enjoying a coffee before going to view some swords. I'll let you know if I buy anything...
Posted: 30/03/17 (12:07pm)
So after a little research it turns out that the Finnish M27 bayonet which I bought at auction a few weeks ago is actually a Finnish M28. The differences between the two are slight but to us collectors it's important.
The M27 bayonet was the first bayonet produced by the Fins themselves. Prior to that they used mainly Russian bayonets (to go with their Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles).
Shortly after the M27 went into production the Finnish Civil Guard decided to produce a variant for their M28 rifles and so the M28 bayonet was born.
For all intents and purposes the two bayonets are the same but there are a few differences.
The M27 has raised, domed rivets holding the wooden grip scales in place but the M28 has polished rivets which are flush with the wooden scales.
The M27 and M28 have the same fluted steel scabbard but the M27's is painted black and the M28's is painted dark green.
Finally, the M28 was only produced by Hackman & Co and will bear their name on the ricasso and also the Civil Guard inspection stamp "KE" on the cross piece.
The M27 bayonet was quickly modified - the blade was repointed as well as re-mounted in the hilt. It was then designated the M29 so original M27 bayonets are scarce. So too is the M28.
And now a quick reminder. I am off on an extended working holiday from Monday 3rd April and will be away until the 4th May. I will hopefully be finding and buying lots of exciting items and will add them to the website within a few days of getting them. They and all my items will be for sale while I am away but I will not be able to ship them until I return.
If you want to purchase anything and want it shipped before I go you have just three days left.
It goes without saying that I am quite excited and really looking forward to this working holiday. It has been a while since I've had a holiday and it will be the first time that I have gone abroad to source stock. It is going to be a try it and see experience - will I be able to find anything? Will I manage to buy it? What will the auctions be like? How will I ship my purchases home? There are a number of questions that I won't know the answers to until I'm there.
If all goes well I'll do it again. If it proves to be more hassle than it's worth I'll stick to taking a relaxing fortnight in the sun in future.
Posted: 20/03/17 (12:42pm)
I had a great week last week. I went to a couple of very interesting and enjoyable auctions and I bought some superb items.
Two of my purchases were Japanese non-commissioned officer's Type 95 swords. Both of them are 100% genuine and in honest used condition with wear testifying to their use and service. There are so many fakes of these highly sought after swords that it is quite a rarity for genuine examples to come up at auction - these are the first two I have seen for some time.
Both swords came with their blades caked in hard, dried grease which at first glance resembled rust but with nothing other than hot water and washing-up liquid the blades were revealed to be bright and relatively tarnish and rust free.
I am absolutely thrilled to be the custodian of these swords. These early pattern Type 95 Shin Gunto were carried by career soldiers, Corporals and Sergeants, not conscripts. These were brave men who would not have relinquished their swords or viewed surrender as an option and it is a privilege to add one to my collection and to be able to offer the other for sale on Bygone Blades.