Way of the Samurai

Graeme Acton with one of his antique Samurai swords.

Geelong military antiques collector Graeme Acton has dealt in many swords since his first acquisition 30 years ago.

But one type in particular has captured his imagination and found a special place in his central Geelong antiques store and museum.

“Most of the swords I found over the years were machine-made but among them were sometimes older Samurai blades used during World War II,“ Graeme says.

“They have traditionally-made, hand-forged blades in a special iron called tamahagane, which is folded many times to create a unique grain in the metal.“

Japanese swords are now collected as objects of art, Graeme explains, but their highly detailed fittings are collectables in their own right.

“The sword guard, or tsuba, like most sword fittings was made from iron or other softer metals like copper or brass with inlays of silver, gold or copper and have many designs and shapes,” he explains.

“Even rarer types might have fine inlays of material such as coral, pearl shell and cloisonne enamel.“

Graeme’s ability to date the swords and even read inscriptions chiselled into their handles allows him to provide highly specialised valuation and restoration services.

“I can also advise on ways to obtain a collector’s licence to legally own and collect swords. I’m happy to help anyone wanting to start a collection.”

Graeme invites anyone interested in the swords and other militaria to visit his Armor Antiques & Military Museum, at 200 Moorabool Street, Geelong

“It is one of the biggest collections of its type on display in Australia,” he declares.