As the chief editor and director of Sword Buyers Guide Limited, I am pretty familiar with the Fantasy Sword market – and indeed, there is a general overview all about Fantasy Swords here on SBG that you should probably read before you delve in here too deeply to help you become familiar with it too..
Instead, in this brief article we will take a look at the state of the Fantasy Sword market as it is right now by taking a quick look at what is for sale at some of the most respected and well stocked sword stores on the interwebz such as Kult of Athena, Swords of Might.com and Trueswords.com
If we had to boil down the essence and evolution of the Fantasy Sword market and sum it up in a few sentences, in a nutshell the Fantasy Sword movement started with truly inspirational pieces from artisans of the likes of Jody Sampson – was given a massive injection of interest when the Lord of the Rings movies were released – and is now largely settled into a mix of cheap, usually over the top pieces, some decent decorative swords, a few mid range functional options – and the artisans at the top of their trade who followed in the traditions laid down by Sampson, such as John Lundemo from Longship Armoury, Jeffrey Robinson and Brendan Olszowy from Fable Blades..
And now, into the mix, the Legendary Swords project, fantasy swords designed by members of the sword community themselves..
Cheap Decorative Fantasy Swords
There has seemingly always has been a few of those really cheap decorative fantasy swords that have all classic bad design features that we mentioned in our article on designing good fantasy swords, and sadly probably always will be. Here are some of the worst offenders..
The monstrosity below is available at Swords of Might for $45 – over the top, and with ‘extreme fullers’ (so extreme that they come through the other side) and something like this embarrassment may well have been one of the first swords you bought to start your ‘collection’..
Not all of these generic designs are bad though – some are a bit more subtle or plausible, though why cut outs are used to convey a fantasy feeling really doesn’t make much sense..
The one below is listed at Swords of might for about $35 and I guess is okay for that kind of price and looks like it might have a but of a story behind its design somewhere..
If these kind of designs appeal, it is better to go to the source of the designs – United Cutlery and Kit Rae, who pioneered the cut our fantasy style.
Below is a Kit Rae original design that is so often copied and imitated like the sword shown above. But when you consider that the knock offs are usually not actually made very well, and don’t have a lot of thought behind them, for $129 at Trueswords.com you can get a Kit Rae and autographed art poster – and I know what I would prefer if I knew what options were available and for how much.
You can see a line up of Fantasy Swords by Kit Rae here on his website – close to 30 fantasy designs with original artwork. And while they are purely decorative swords, they are actually pretty sturdily made and personally, while I don’t like all of his designs, there are some that are really quite awesome such as my personal favorite, the $109 Mithrodin.
I don’t know about you, but I think a sword like this is worth every penny of its $150 price tag..
Mid Range Functional Fantasy Swords
One way to get a good indication of what is available in any sub genre of the sword market is to check out what is available for it at Kult of Athena (KoA) – probably the biggest and best stocked sword seller around and the go to store for many modern day sword collectors all around the world.
Here is their fantasy section – and in it you can see that the Lord of the Rings Swords have largely been replaced by Stainless Steel replicas by Game of Thrones. And in a similar way to the Lord of the Rings Swords, the Fantasy swords from Game of Thrones are based on historical swords but with an unearthly theme. My favorite of the selection, one of the limited edition versions made from Damascus rather than stainless steel that is almost good enough to be one of the Legendary Swords.. 😉
But you will also see a decent range of mid priced Fantasy Swords – mostly from Darksword Armory – but also from some lesser known sellers like Rittersteel. And then there are beautiful swords that are made by custom sword makers and the Jake Powning designed Albion Atlantean Sword.. (visit their Fantasy swords section for yourself and you will see exactly what I am talking about).
We hope that over time our project will help to round out and enrich the selection of fantasy swords available – original designs made by gamers, role players, writers, artists, dreamers and true fantasy geeks themselves instead of accepting what someone else doles out to them – and truly democratize fantasy swords..