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Do you feel that Albion swords are priced higher than they should be?
Yes, they should be cheaper.
36%
 36%  [ 64 ]
No, they are priced accordingly.
63%
 63%  [ 112 ]
Total Votes : 176

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Antonio Lamadrid




PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix R. wrote:
The second Albion I ordered, a Sheriff, had its fuller out of center by about 5mm on both sides, this was very odd looking. I e-mailed Soren, sent him pictures, sent the sword back. A few weeks later I had a Yeoman that was sent from the USA via Express. This is what customer service is about.



I had a very similar problem with them, and Soren's way to handle it could not have been more generous. Albion Europe's customer service is second to none, and trust has no price.
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Kenton Spaulding




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think, though I don't know by any stretch of the imagination, that having such a huge production line ( I counted 61 next gens that are currently in production) may be a factor in their pricing. Being a low volume business, with a product line that extensive, might cause their prices to be higher than one might think that they "should" be. Personally, this expansive product line is one of my favorite parts of Albion, (which is my favorite maker, though I've only seen a couple Arms & Armor blunts, no sharps) and I am more than happy to put up with the costs for this feature.

Think of it this way. Any given month, Albion might sell a lot of lowered detailed models (Knud, Gaddhjalt, Knight for example) but few of the higher researched and detailed models (Valkyrja, Doge, Svante etc). This could create a major disparity in income month to month should these "lower end" models be priced at or around $500, but would it lower their overall overhead? I do not know, but I suspect not. The salaries, insurance, tools, research costs, utilities, and such still need to be paid, the same as any other month. This is speculatory, and I do not know if it has merit. What do you all think?

Kenton
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Darrin Hughes




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've often wondered whether I was the only person to have had problems with Albion, given the glowing reviews that appear on here so often. Obviously not. When I ordered a scabbard from Albion for my Thegn it didn't fit properly. One trip back across the Atlantic later it still didn't fit properly and they blade had a small amount of surface damage where it had been forced down into the scabbard. I had hoped that on seeing how poor the scabbard was that a new one would be made, this didn't happen.
I only continued to buy Albion's because the opening of Albion Europe made it easier to do so. However after more problems with the delivery of another sword where they couldn't get the combination of grip and finish right I'd pretty much given up. I eventually ended up going for a standard version of the same sword that Albion Europe actually had in stock. It is only because of Soren's excellent and generous attitude that I am buying one more Albion before the November price rise. That will be the last. As far as I am concerned, after sales is one of the things that should be factored into pricing, and so from my experience they are definitely too expensive.

Just one other thing. People have mentioned the price of Albion swords and how they compare with custom work. I recently received a sword and scabbard from Rob Miller which I've posted pictures of on this web-site. It is a type XII high medieval sword and the scabbard is what Albion would call period not campaign. The closest I could have got from Albion would have been a Knight with period scabbard. Taking the prices as they were a year ago the Albion with scabbard would have cost me over £1000 and that is taking the lowest starting price for the scabbard. The Miller sword and scabbard came in at just under £1000 and it is exactly what I asked for, hand-forged guard, engraving and all. Please feel free to check out the thread that I started here about the sword and then tell me whether I should have gone for the Albion.

Cheers,
Darrin.
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Christopher Gregg




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have made five orders from Albion (three Jody Samsons, two Albions) and have had stellar service, quality control and prompt shipping. Mike has always been great to deal with, and has always been happy to help expedite my purchases in the most professional manner. I've not had any issue with any of the products I have received. I'm sure that during the thousands of transctions Albion has made, a few have been less than perfect, but I'd be willing to bet their service and quality is better than most other comparable companies out there. I'm happy to remain a loyal customer, and I understand the prices increases are just par for the course at this level of craftsmanship.
Christopher Gregg

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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My experiences have also been good and the only problem was that the first Albion I bought around 2002 or 2003 had the point slightly burred during shipping but was something I could fix myself with just a few minutes of using a hand held grinding stone.

The problem with these thing are worse for people who are in other countries than the U.S. as the issue of sending stuff back for repair is made more complicated or expensive when one has to clear Customs back and forth and have to deal with the paperwork needed to not have to pay taxes or duty on it more than once if the sword or scabbard has to travel back and forth.

This makes me very reluctant to send anything back unless the problem is serious or not something I can easily fix competently myself: So getting it right the first time for " foreign " customers should mean that the usual quality control, which is usually O.K., should maybe get a second look at before shipping ?

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Chris Artman




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I would, in all honesty, like to see Albion move beyond just swords


I certainly hope so as well. In addition to rapiers, I would like to see Albion do some percussive weapons, axes, and pole weapons. Not to mention daggers. I certainly hope they would pick museum grade examples and details as well.

I absolutely love maces, flails, hammers, axes, and the great variety of pole weapons. I don't see why they should limit themselves to just swords and perhaps a rapier or two... Would love to see them offer more, as stated above.
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Artman wrote:
Quote:
I would, in all honesty, like to see Albion move beyond just swords


I certainly hope so as well. In addition to rapiers, I would like to see Albion do some percussive weapons, axes, and pole weapons. Not to mention daggers. I certainly hope they would pick museum grade examples and details as well.

I absolutely love maces, flails, hammers, axes, and the great variety of pole weapons. I don't see why they should limit themselves to just swords and perhaps a rapier or two... Would love to see them offer more, as stated above.


I agree for the longterm and maybe the option of buying pole weapons heads and hafting them ourselves to save on price and shipping costs: Might not be practical or desirable for polearms using languettes or pole sections other can circular.

But in the nearterm and with the instabilities of the World economy the priority is for Albion to just stay in business and not overextend themselves trying to do to much.

If some of the " other " weapons could be of lower prices for us than the swords and still give Albion larger margins of profit per item it might be a good idea ?

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Chris Artman




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daggers would fill that criteria.

In any case, we can always talk gloom and doom about the economy. Whatever the case, I hope Albion exands it offerings and talent to include all categories mentoned above. The more offered, the more sales. Certainly one would just have to be careful at first to select highly desired pieces in each repective category.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Artman wrote:
Daggers would fill that criteria.

In any case, we can always talk gloom and doom about the economy. Whatever the case, I hope Albion exands it offerings and talent to include all categories mentoned above. The more offered, the more sales. Certainly one would just have to be careful at first to select highly desired pieces in each repective category.


Chris,
Albion has stated before on these forums why they've been reluctant to do daggers. According to them, they don't require much less work than swords, so they would be priced accordingly.

The only dagger they make, the Arn Dagger, is $500. While some of that price may be a licensig fee or something, that's still pretty high for a cross-hilted dagger. I could go full custom on a more complex piece for less than that and get scabbard included.

From Peter Johnsson in this thread (bolding emphasis is mine):

Quote:
Hey Guys,

There are some mindreaders out there I think....
Risking the danger of spoiling the surprice, I dare to say there has been talk about making daggers as an expansion of the NG line. Perhaps Howy can fill you in more on this at some later time.

These ideas are still very much on the planning stage but the idea with these knives/daggers are the same as the rest of the NG line: models based on research and documentation of originals, but not copying one single specimen, rather merging data from several examples to come up with a good representative of a type. There are some obvious candidates (mentioned already in this thread), but it is to early to say what types are possible to produce.

It is important to realize that there is almost as much work in fitting and mounting a dagger as there is in a sword. There is no real difference in the complexity of the cutlery work. (this means about the same work time has to be spent= similar cost) Some daggers are even more demanding than a sword. Worktime will be less when it comes to the blade (but this also depends on the complexity of the grind).
I do not think it is reasonable to think an accurate and detailed quality dagger could be made for around 200 USD. (Compare how much a quality production "tactical fighting knife" costs...And these are just a slabs of steel and para cord wrapped arount the tang. Not much handwork or fitting there.)


At this time I think no one can say anything more definite than that regarding price level. Sorry.

It all depends on complexity and detail. This will vary between different types and styles. Remember that the dagger often was the male dress embellishment par excellance and an important status symbol. When the wearing of a sword was not always practical or even lawful, the dagger could always be brought along. This led to the dagger or knife getting attention as status symbol. The carving of the hilt, tooling of the leather and other craft aspects were often on a level to inspire admiration and envy.

Personally, I am fascianted by these weapons. There is a rich variation in blade types and blade geometries. Somtething you seldom see put to use in production or even custom work.
The same goes for hilt styles.
Rondells or a Ballock daggers can be made in hundreds of diffent styles, and each of these has their own charm.
Swiss Degen (short swords/daggers) are also very nice when properly made.
Early medieval and viking age tool and war knives are also a very rich material to work with.
...I could go on.

It is nice to see people expressing an interest in this. I for one am interested to hear more about what you´d like to see in production.

Happy

ChadA

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Jason Elrod




PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darrin,

I have to agree with you on the price of Albion's swords. Many of them are at a custom level of pricing and unless Albion has almost exactly what I want, which consequently they don't at this point, I'll go custom.

However I do think that Albions are worth the price. On a whole their swords are well research, well executed and well designed. Unfortunately at this price point they need to be producing exactly what I'm looking for in order for me to buy one.

I'll also put forth the idea, and I might be in the minority in this regard, that most swords, particularily those that are produced by such companies as A&A and Albion, are underpriced. When I compare the quality, not to mention the amount of "material" that I can get in a high level production or even custom sword, to what I can buy for the same price in the knife market, I feel like I'm getting a deal almost every time.

Of course no one should go raising their prices based upon my ideas. That would be just crazy Big Grin


Darrin Hughes wrote:

Just one other thing. People have mentioned the price of Albion swords and how they compare with custom work. I recently received a sword and scabbard from Rob Miller which I've posted pictures of on this web-site. It is a type XII high medieval sword and the scabbard is what Albion would call period not campaign. The closest I could have got from Albion would have been a Knight with period scabbard. Taking the prices as they were a year ago the Albion with scabbard would have cost me over £1000 and that is taking the lowest starting price for the scabbard. The Miller sword and scabbard came in at just under £1000 and it is exactly what I asked for, hand-forged guard, engraving and all. Please feel free to check out the thread that I started here about the sword and then tell me whether I should have gone for the Albion.

Cheers,
Darrin.
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Stu C




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Darrin Hughes wrote:


Just one other thing. People have mentioned the price of Albion swords and how they compare with custom work. I recently received a sword and scabbard from Rob Miller which I've posted pictures of on this web-site. It is a type XII high medieval sword and the scabbard is what Albion would call period not campaign. The closest I could have got from Albion would have been a Knight with period scabbard. Taking the prices as they were a year ago the Albion with scabbard would have cost me over £1000 and that is taking the lowest starting price for the scabbard. The Miller sword and scabbard came in at just under £1000 and it is exactly what I asked for, hand-forged guard, engraving and all. Please feel free to check out the thread that I started here about the sword and then tell me whether I should have gone for the Albion.



I think that this hits the nail on the head. Albion has now moved price-wise into territory where it is going to miss out on sales for two reasons; the first being that - in the current economic climate - many of their traditional customer base just can't afford to spend the money, and the second being that those that can would prefer to go custom (and get something that meets their requirements perfectly). Like I have said before, I think any business has the right to charge whatever they like, but I think Albion is between a rock and a hard place here: They can't really afford to sell their product for less, but it isn't necessarily good value when it is sold for more. Maybe the creation of mass production (or large series production at any rate), high quality swords is just a business that doesn't work in the current climate.

The other issue that has been mentioned by a couple of people here and has been mentioned on the occasional previous thread is the issue of QA. I'm always surprised by the "well they get it right most of the time so I'm OK with that" attitude towards Albion that I see on these fora. Most of the time is not good enough for a premium priced product (or any product, really). A sword simply shouldn't ship with a tip that isn't central or a fuller that is 5mm off centre. Given that these swords are hand finished, I would tend to think that it isn't the case that these swords missed being checked, it's that the QA process (formal at the end or informal during construction) has decided that near enough is good enough. For sure, it is obviously the small minority of their swords that exhibit these problems, but it shouldn't be *any* of them.

Stu
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Travis C.




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 7:17 pm    Post subject: Albion         Reply with quote

I haven't had the time to read all the posts here so I hope I am not regurgitating, but added to the exacting research and everything else, Albion's lifetime warranty definitely adds value for me.
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an annoyingly acute sense of detail. I notice things that most people can't see. When I walk past a car in a parking lot, I can tell with a casual glance if that car has had bodywork and where. What most people consider perfect, I consider hideously flawed.

Applying my ability to see detail to reproduction medieval swords there is only one company that consistently produces swords that I am able to enjoy. Albion. (Maybe A&A too but they don't make the kind of swords I like, so I don't have any, except for their wonderful trainer).

I have never seen a sword from another maker (of the kind I like) come close to an Albion. That includes customs (except obviously Peter's work), though of course I have not seen all the cusom makers out there. To me, it's a matter of artistry. Most people don't get it...Peter Johnsson does. Most people see him as a researcher, a top level custom smith, but I see him as artist, pure and simple, and I love his art, whether he makes it himself or has Albion make it for him. He gets the medieval sword in a way no one else I know does.

To me, Albions are worth the money at any price. If Albions cost 10,000 dollars, I would only own one, but I would own one.

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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Thu 30 Oct, 2008 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to add to what Michael said, the next gens are a more affordable way of getting a Peter Johnsson designed sword than to go custom. Custom Johnsson swords are rare (I know what, 3 members of myArmoury that own one?) and can cost upwards of 4 times of a next gen, and thats not taking waiting lists into account. I believe the next gens fill a niche for people who want a historically accurate replica but cant or wont go full custom. And even then, for the historical perfectionists, you've only got Vince Evans and Patrick Barta that approach Peter, and none in exactly the same style. Who here would pay $1000 for a Vince Evans designed Albion dao or a Barta designed Albion rapier?
I would.
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Tony Peterson




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 1:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
If Albions cost 10,000 dollars, I would only own one, but I would own one.


Really?! Bloody hell, someone has money to burn! Big Grin

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Stephan Johansson




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quality issues: It is of course unacceptable an stupid do deliver swords that are not up to their normal standard, the sword will anyway be returned and they will have to fix it, loosing goodwill from that particular customer.
Best (most economical) is of course not to make substandard swords, second best is to identify them before leaving the plant and worst having to fix them after customer complaint. This way you both loose goodwill and money.

Having said that, I still argue that Peter Johnssons designs made by Albion is unique in their acurately to historical swords.
If you want something that is handforged and costumer made to your specification, then Albion is not the right place to go as they doesn't do that. And that is really another type of product.
But saying that an Albion sword should cost less than custom made sword, why should it?
That a sword is custom made doesn'nt say anything about quality at all, it just says that it has been custom made.
I would rather have a machine made blade that has tight historical geometry than having a blade handforged to less historical geometries.
Other people perhaps see handforging in itself making it more historical, same goes for hilt components.

As previously has been stated, you should compare Albion to Peter Johnssons own handmade sword if you want to compare serie-made sword to custom-made swords

Best Regards
Stephan Johansson
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephan Johansson wrote:
Having said that, I still argue that Peter Johnssons designs made by Albion is unique in their acurately to historical swords.
If you want something that is handforged and costumer made to your specification, then Albion is not the right place to go as they doesn't do that. And that is really another type of product.
But saying that an Albion sword should cost less than custom made sword, why should it?
That a sword is custom made doesn'nt say anything about quality at all, it just says that it has been custom made.
I would rather have a machine made blade that has tight historical geometry than having a blade handforged to less historical geometries.
Other people perhaps see handforging in itself making it more historical, same goes for hilt components.

As previously has been stated, you should compare Albion to Peter Johnssons own handmade sword if you want to compare serie-made sword to custom-made swords

Best Regards
Stephan Johansson


I have to agree here with Stephan. Sure you can find another smith to make you a custom sword, but there is no gurantee that your smith is going to produce a sword with all the best handling characteristics and functionality that Albion can consistantly produce thru their system.

I have seen a few custom smith made swords that look pretty, handle ok, but aren't spectacular in performance or handling. I have also seen some that perform superbly and better than any Albion I have handled. At the same time I have also handled some Albions that perform wonderfully and some that I would prefer not to buy. However if you buy an Albion you know you're getting something historically accurate and consistant. If you read a review of one you can be assured that the one you buy will perform pretty much the same. After all, consistancy is the advantage of modern mass production.

In any case, both custom work and Albions have a place in the market.

Bryce
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tony Peterson wrote:
Michael Edelson wrote:
If Albions cost 10,000 dollars, I would only own one, but I would own one.


Really?! Bloody hell, someone has money to burn! Big Grin


It's not that at all, I simply wouldn't have any choice. My love of swords, historical accuracy and PJ's artistry, plus my role as a HEMA instructor all dictate that I must own at least one Albion (assuming Peter's swords would still cost 4-5 X more).

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Everybody seems to think of Albion as a production company but I'm not really sure that's the right way to think of them. I don't like doing business with them for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the product. However, during the last sale I gave in to temptation and called them to see if there was anything at all in stock. Nope. Everything was a 12-16 week wait because nothing is stocked...according to Albion, ever!

Everything is made to order.

Now there are a few exceptions were resellers stock some Albions but you don't get company deals going that route.

Compare this with MRL. Windlass does a product run and they have a given sword in stock until it sells out and they stop making the model. Orders don't really matter because they make the number that they forecast they can sell. Ditto for Hanwei. Ditto CAS Iberia, Marto, United Cutlery, Cold Steel, Valiant Armoury and the lot. The product is in stock or its not...its not made for you after you order it (at least not because of your individual order).

That is production.

That is not Albion. To me they are not custom but certainly not pure production either. Something else entirely but what that something is has not been well defined for me. Unfortunately people fill that descriptive void by calling them production and I think Albion suffers for being labeled that way from time to time (like this time).

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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Oct, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Everybody seems to think of Albion as a production company but I'm not really sure that's the right way to think of them. I don't like doing business with them for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the product. However, during the last sale I gave in to temptation and called them to see if there was anything at all in stock. Nope. Everything was a 12-16 week wait because nothing is stocked...according to Albion, ever!

Everything is made to order.

Now there are a few exceptions were resellers stock some Albions but you don't get company deals going that route.

Compare this with MRL. Windlass does a product run and they have a given sword in stock until it sells out and they stop making the model. Orders don't really matter because they make the number that they forecast they can sell. Ditto for Hanwei. Ditto CAS Iberia, Marto, United Cutlery, Cold Steel, Valiant Armoury and the lot. The product is in stock or its not...its not made for you after you order it (at least not because of your individual order).

That is production.

That is not Albion. To me they are not custom but certainly not pure production either. Something else entirely but what that something is has not been well defined for me. Unfortunately people fill that descriptive void by calling them production and I think Albion suffers for being labeled that way from time to time (like this time).



Thanks Joe, you make a good point. I guess perhaps "Boutique House" is more applicable. ;-)
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