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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Why are Albion swords so expensive? Reply to topic
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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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JE Sarge




PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Albion...         Reply with quote

Yes, a smith must have mastered the Riddle of Steel for a sword to be collectable! LOL!

It does boil down to opinion. For me personally, modern replicas and antiquities fall into two categories within my collection. At the point where a modern replica approaches the price of an antiquity, I get pensive. Should I buy an Albion or pickup the 16th century shiavona or the 2nd century gladius for my collection instead? Since I am not a swordsman by trade (I carry a G19 off-duty, not an Oakeshott Type X), having a 100% realistic and functional sword thats tuned to me is unimportant. I want a good sword to do cutting with, but to have something that is perfect is not high on my priority list. If I want to feel a perfect replica, I save beans and keep my eyes out for an antiquity.

Alot of swords, specifically anything older than about 400 years are impossible to find or a 'ground found' [insert former Soviet Bloc nation name here] eBay fake, and if you do find one, the minumum price you are going to pay is going to be astronomical. For this purpose, I can see Albion filling the 'holes' in a collection as approximations (which is why I am interested in the Type XIVs they offer).

As for actually using an antiquity or an Albion for that matter, its not gonna happen in my reality. Too much of an investment. I'd have no problem wearing out a Squire line on a pell, but a new NG would have to stay in perfect, unabused condition. This brings me back to 'how much is too much' because I'd not want to cut with anything that I paid such high dollar for, though I would be tempted too.

As for pattern-welded blades, I have a few Cimmerian crafted ones already. They are way over-rated. Razz

J.E. Sarge
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"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Look at Arma Bohemia's prices or Pavel Moc's prices. Even some of Ollin Sword Design's prices are similar to or less than some Albion swords.

Albion Regent: $1400
Similar sword by Arma Bohemia (same style, some other differences, no hollow-ground blade): ~$635. Because it's customizable you could probably add hollow grinding and I doubt it would double the price. I handled one of these today and while it's a different beast than the Regent, it's high quality and one could have it tweaked to be more like the Regent (if desired), without the same cost.

Albion Soldat: $1,110
Similar messer by Arma Bohemia: ~$435. With a bone grip "fullered" like the grip will be on Albion's more-expensive Meister.

Albion Berserkr: $1100
Ollin Magnus Koll: $925. Yes, the pommel is different, but it also includes copper wire, where the Berserkr doesn't. They call it a production piece, but I don't think it's production in the Albion or A&A sense. I think they're a one-at-a-time shop.

A&A can custom make stuff more less than Albion in some cases (would depend on the project).

Ditto some other Eastern European small custom shops like Pavel Moc and others.

With the current exchange rate, some of Manning Imperial's items would be at or cheaper than a similar Albion.

There are more smiths and more scenarios than these. We can debate the comparative quality in some cases, but the fact remains that there are custom pieces at or below the same price as an Albion production sword.

Some people haven't felt the need to follow up with examples because they are on the net for anyone to see who cares to look...

Happy

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad, I think it is reasonable to ask for examples as this debate is all matter of opinion. So if someone is saying there are better or equal swords for less price then they should front up with examples as you have done. Why I asked is because I haven't seen what I think are Albions equal. It's not as if one day I just decided to start giving them my money. I looked at a lot of sites and certainly looked at all the reviews here before investing money with them and have never been dissapointed and as I said to Mike Sigman after my first sword arrived (the Regent) I am one hell of a fussy but very satisfied customer.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the record, I think Albion's swords are great. I own 4 and they are prized possessions. But I'm realizing more and more that they aren't the only game in town. And their prices make my choices tough.

As an example: Let's say I was in the market for a longsword with a fishtail pommel. Two obvious contenders would be the Regent and the Arma Bohemia EP 31/Pavel Moc Embleton.

Sure the Regent is hollow-ground and the other(s), at their base prices aren't. The Regent is more than twice as expensive, though. Having seen the Arma Bohemia and owning the Regent and having cut with both, I know that while the Regent is a very special sword (a fantastic one), I can have the Arma Bohemia customized to be either more like the Regent, or better yet, more like the sword in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich that they're both based on (aside: it isn't hollow-ground). I can also have a scabbard/belt rig added to the order that won't take years to be completed and will be cheaper than most US scabbard makers.

I can be out the door with my scabbarded Arma Bohemia special "Chad" version for $1400 or less. Probably much less unless I wanted hollow-grinding. And it's a nice sword that looks good, cuts well, and that is hand-forged, not machine ground (forged vs. ground isn't a deal breaker for me personally, but I like the idea of forged when I can afford it and the end product is good).

See how tough that can make a decision? Happy The AB sword would be period-appropriate, well-made, and historically accurate. The Regent would be all those things, and may outshine the AB here and there, but would be more expensive.

When I bought my Regent, it was $950. If it were still that price, I might be more likely to buy it over the AB. But with such a large difference in price now, it makes things tough with my budget and responsibilities.

Is the Regent a better sword? Many would say yes (I would). Is it more than twice as good as the Arma Bohemia as the price difference might imply? I don't think so.

Both are as good or better than period swords. So what's my incentive to spend twice as much for the Regent? Peter's design work and research obviously are worth something. I would never say they count for naught; they're a big factor.

But having dealt with other companies, they go to museums too. Happy They document, handle, study, and measure. As much as Peter? Maybe not. But their hard work shows in their products, too.

If I had to buy a 15th century longsword with a fishtail pommel today, I'd have a hard time justifying a $1400 Regent to myself (and probably my wife Happy ) when a historically accurate custom option is cheaper. Both will cut pumpkins and pool noodles admirably. Both will look great in my display cabinet.

Happy

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Chad-

You've hit on the point I made above about the concept of diminishing returns. After a certain point, adding details/ functionality/ etc. to a product (any product) will result in larger price increases that are often seen at lower price points. It's the fine details that are often the most expensive to add to a product. For some, those details are worth the additional cost and for others they won't be.

But aside from that, I think Albion will or has hit a point of diminishing returns as well. Every company will have to determine at what price point they will start to lose business based on their price point. When price points keeps people from buying an item and going elsewhere, something has to change to make the item able to be produced for a lower price or the item has to be retired.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan,
So true. I guess with my budget and the way life is right now, I just can't justify spending the money for those little, expensive details when accurate, functional, lower-priced options are so attractive. Albion has priced itself out of my current bugdetary situation unfortunately. But I'm just one customer. I do feel that I'm not alone in this, though...

In an ideal world, I'd be wealthy and buy all the expensive stuff I wanted. Happy But prices like Albion's have forced me to look around. There are other products that can fill some of my needs without breaking the bank so I have to look there. As always, personal mileage varies.

I'd like a BMW, but as a Honda is just as functional to me and fits my budget, that's what I have in my garage. Same thing, right? Happy

That said, I got to cut with a Vassal today and was pretty impressed. Happy Neat little sword. Wish I had the cash to spend on a sword like that...

Happy

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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Nov, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the explanation of your viewpoint Chad, I did realise you have the Albions, you even stated in a discussion once that the Sovereign was your favourite of all your swords.

For my reasons with sticking with Albion the example you gave could not illustrate my needs more perfectly. When looking at the photo or the original museum sword I instantly recognise it as inspiring the pommel of the Regent, the shape, proportion, everything about it is the same if not very similar, and in the concept sketches the Regents guard looked more similar to the sword in the museum than what it actually ended up with. I actually prefer the Regents guard as incorporated in it's final design. Whereas the AB sword pommel appears chunky, I do not find the lines of it attractive at all and it shares none of the subtlety of the museum swords pommel or the Regents.

It is not about the Regent or AB sword being similar or otherwise to the museum sword (that is what the Albion Museum Line is for) it is about the components and the whole of the sword representing what is seen in historical swords.

And yet I completely agree about cost, the Albions take me much longer to save up for now esepcially with our dollar dropping from US 80c to US 57c in the last couple of months.

I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Thomas Jason




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Thomas Jason wrote:


4.) Their recent price increase has put them into the realm of the custom smith price wise. Will this hurt them? Absolutely. There are smiths in Europe who are now producing swords that are just as historically researched and documented and are available for less. Custom smith issues do apply though.

Who are these smiths? I'd very much like to know so that I and the other readers can check their supposedly superior prices as well as see what delivery times they have. And could you point the way to the proof that their swords are as well documented and researched as Albions? (I'm not saying they arn't, I'd just know some more details)

TIA
Daniel


Mark Vickers in the Uk, Arma Bohemia to name a few others. Look around, just because folks don't get a lot of press doesn't mean that they aren't producing great swords.
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Stephan Johansson




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 2:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello!
I took a look at Arma Bohemia and some of their swords looked really nice, still it feels like that last bit of shape is missing in the hilts and blades and for me that is what it all come down to.
If they got their replicas right to the last millimeter they might be starting to kill Albion.
Polish and finish looked as good as Albion, some grips where better than others. I think a company like this really could become a true contender but they must be better at capture the shape of the museum swords, leaving nothing to coincidence.
Its strange why it seems so hard to get that last shape right, creating something close to perfection.
If you took for instance a Tritonia (wish I love) and just changed the cross a little compared to the original it would become a totally uninteresting sword for me. I don't know why it is like that? (I only know its cost a lot to have this demands ;-))

Best Regards
Stephan
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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like quite a few people I have been watching this thread and was staying out of it. I do not currently own an Albion but would love to at some point. To this point people have thrown about personal opinions but something that has not really been discussed is something else personal, choice. One of Chadís last posts got me thinking about this when he brought up how he has a Honda in his garage instead of a BMW. Chad I hope this does not offend but I am running with what you brought as it were.

Letís just say for a moment that Chadís neighbor has a BMW in the garage. Let us also say that he has it due to one of the following three reasons.
1. For whatever reason Chadís neighbor is more financially secure and can afford the BMW and so chooses to buy it.
2. Chadís neighbor has saved money and chosen to forgo other pleasures in order to buy the BMW.
3. Chadís neighbor has chosen to leverage his finances to the max to buy the BMW and will shortly be riding the neato road bike he bought after watching Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France one year which then has sat in his garage until the nice BMW he cannot pay for is repoed.

All of the above are personal choices in how to manage your finances which also applies to buying swords from the various manufacturers. I know at least for me there is another reason involved which in the current world political climate might not be that popular to say. So here goes, Albion is made in America by an American owned company in a town only two hours or so from where I live. In fact looking at my collection all of my current pieces are. There is nothing wrong with things made in other countries but that is a personal choice as well.

Having said the last I am actually looking at my first foreign car company for the next family trickster. It has also opened my eyes to some of the other companies that are currently making swords which are one of the good things that a thread like this does. Sorry to be so long winded but I sat down and some of this just popped into the old head last night and this morning.

Do I wish Albions were less expensive? Only an idiot would say no in the current financial climate. Do I think they are worth the price? Yes, as lon as they have something that satisfies my desires which at the moment they have a couple.

Scott
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephan and Paul,
True, the Arma Bohemia pics lack some of the subtle shapings of the Regent. The example I handled is different than the Regent, but was not inelegant, clunky, or ahistorical by any means. That sword appears to be Pavel Moc's interpretation (or based off it) of the Zurich sword. But that doesn't mean they can't produce a better/different version if asked. They are a custom shop after all.

I have a very nice ballock dagger by them. I sent them a pic scanned from a book I had and asked them to create it. Had they simply done that, I would have been happy; it's what I asked for.

But, they were able to go the museum the original is housed in, take pics, and produce a far more accurate version than what my lone picture showed. I ended up with a much, much better product because they did their homework. My pic didn't show the detail of the top pommel plate. Theirs did and I ended up with a basically spot-on replica.

So, I would imagine that if I wanted a more Regent-like Arma Bohemia sword, I could send them links to all the published myArmoury pics and Albion's pics and they could do a pretty darn good imitation. Would it be exact? Maybe, maybe not, but it would likely be darn close at least.

If I loved the original Zurich sword and wanted a Regent with a guard closer to the original's, I'd be out of luck with Albion. But I could send pics of the original and the Regent to a custom outfit like Ollin or Arma Bohemia and get exactly what I want and likely save a buck or two. They may even have pics from a previous museum trip to help them. That's the advantage of custom.

I agree that if they could nail down some of these subtleties they'd be in a prime position to grab more market share. I believe they have the capability to be that exacting, they may just need to be asked and pushed. Some of their in-stock and prototype pieces are very (very) exacting replicas. Some are less so. I think the ability is there in some of the smiths they use.

Albion isn't the only company capable of products at an Albion level of accuracy. Happy

Happy

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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
Like quite a few people I have been watching this thread and was staying out of it. I do not currently own an Albion but would love to at some point. To this point people have thrown about personal opinions but something that has not really been discussed is something else personal, choice. One of Chadís last posts got me thinking about this when he brought up how he has a Honda in his garage instead of a BMW. Chad I hope this does not offend but I am running with what you brought as it were.


Scott,
No offense taken. It is indeed all about choices. I could choose to save up longer if I decided spending the extra dough was worth it. At other times in my life, and when Albion's prices were lower, I made the choice to buy their stuff.

I could choose to go into debt, but that would also be a choice to create conflict with my wife. Not worth it. Happy We also have worked hard to eliminate debt and don't want to go back down that road. A mortgage payment and 1 car payment is enough in this economy; I don't need credit card debt, too.

I could choose to put less into my kid's college fund to buy a more expensive product; but is it fair to endanger his future for my hobby at the present? Of course not.

I could save up, I suppose. But that takes longer, and I'm not always patient (my own personal issue). Also, the longer that money is unspent, the more likely something unexpected will come up (house repair, car repair, cat trip to the vet, kid's doctor visit, etc.) that will require that "idle" money to be spent. Then I have to start over.

Perhaps more important is what I feel I'm getting for the extra I'd have to spend. As I said above, at some times in my life I would have decided all the little details were worth the extra money. Now, that's tough to swallow all the time. If I can get a period-appropriate product for less, even without all the extra bells and whistles, I have to seriously consider it. By period-appropriate, I mean something that would not be out of place in period: proper looks, solid, reliable construction, and appropriate handling; a soldier of the Middle Ages wouldn't find anything unusual about it. So while sword A may excel more at some of those criteria, if sword B meets them, it needs a serious look.

To go back to the Honda-BMW analogy. My needs for a car are: 1) affordable payments and payment schedule, 2) gets me to work and home reliably, 3) gets good gas mileage, 4) is attractive/well put-together, 5) has some conveniences/neat features. The BMW would probably excel at numbers 4 and 5 and outshine the Honda there. Numbers 2 and 3 might be even. But #1 tips it to the Honda right now. The extra features and stylishness and careful design of the BMW don't outweigh its cost for me. They're not worth it to me right now.

Albion's prices have made some decisions for me. I don't know whether to be mad or thank them. Cool They've made me look around objectively and see what else is out there. They've made me look at my priorities and make tough decisions.

But all this doesn't mean I'll never buy another Albion. I probably will buy more of their stuff but only when I feel I can't get that item elsewhere at a level of quality and accuracy I find acceptable. And only when I can somehow find enough money to make it happen.

But there are other quality options out there (both custom and production) for the same cost or less, giving me options. I like options. Happy

These posts of mine are my personal, subjective opinion, and should be treated as such. Happy

Happy

ChadA

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stu C wrote:
What I said was that there are other very talented people out there making swords (e.g. Patrick Barta, Rob Miller, Vince Evans, etc, etc), but their work is probably less accessible.


Fair enough...I should have read more carefully. Cool

I was just hoping you had a hidden gem. Big Grin

Joe Fults

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: Albion...         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
...having a 100% realistic and functional sword thats tuned to me is unimportant. I want a good sword to do cutting with, but to have something that is perfect is not high on my priority list. If I want to feel a perfect replica, I save beans and keep my eyes out for an antiquity. Razz


Sounds like Albions are going to be to expensive for you because you don't place much value on that little bit of extra they offer. Totally reasonable. If you want an antique you'll buy one. If you just want something cost effective to bang around, you'll buy that. Seems pretty clear to me. If you can't define a value proposition for an Albion, they're too expense. Pretty simple.

Fortunately for them they are not to expensive for everybody! Big Grin

Joe Fults

"INVENIEMUS VIAM AUT FACIEMUS (We will either find a way or make one)" Hannibal

"Our life is what our thoughts make it" Marcus Aurelius


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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Some people haven't felt the need to follow up with examples because they are on the net for anyone to see who cares to look...



...and some of us are reluctant to start a mad rush! Wink

Joe Fults

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what its worth, I'm glad there are still plenty of people out there who can buy Albions and help keep the firm moving forward. There are a few models I really like but they are not in stock at Albion, ever from what I hear. If I can ever find the right piece second hand, or maybe at a reseller, I'll consider adding Albion back into my collection. But I'm not advancing money and getting in line to wait for a fuzzy date anymore for something "production" from any vendor, even if I'm arguing that the vendor in this thread is more "boutique" than production (custom/customized is a different story).

Never the less I appreciate the fact that they're out there as options.

To borrow some of the car talk, the Beemers (or whatever you like) help make my car better. If for no other reason than to raise my expectations which forces the industry to improve its game. So even though I don't have a Beemer, I'm happy for some of the people in my town who do. Cool

Joe Fults

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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad,
I was hoping you would take my post in that light and I agree 100% with your response. It all comes down to the choices we make in what is a priority at any given time in our lives. Right now top among them is insuring there is enough money to pay the mortgage and other associated bills and have some left to put into my retirement account and for the kid's college fund. If there is anything left it goes in an envelope for fun stuff that usually gets spent for not fun stuff. Broken washing machine, backup money for when you get injured and are laid up for a bit or your wife gets let go from her job of over 5 years. That last sounds all to familiar to me unfortunately.

Here is a scary thought that I do not believe has been spoken. We have seen to "production" manufacturers raise prices this year though the first one did not raise the same concern that Albion's did. If others do tend to look at Albion as a benchmark will some of the currently "affordable" custom makers follow suit and raise their prices as well? Just some food for thought.


Scott
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
will some of the currently "affordable" custom makers follow suit and raise their prices as well? Just some food for thought.

Scott


Stranger things have happened.

Joe Fults

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Kimon Andreou




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
If others do tend to look at Albion as a benchmark will some of the currently "affordable" custom makers follow suit and raise their prices as well? Just some food for thought.

Or, they can keep the same prices and hope to pick up more business and perhaps expand.
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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Nov, 2008 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kimon Andreou wrote:
Scott Kowalski wrote:
If others do tend to look at Albion as a benchmark will some of the currently "affordable" custom makers follow suit and raise their prices as well? Just some food for thought.

Or, they can keep the same prices and hope to pick up more business and perhaps expand.


Very true Kimon. But in general when one person in a specific market does something others producing for that market tend to follow suit unfortunately. Though as Joe said "Stranger things have happened."

Scott
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