SINGAPORE- Driven by the popularity of movies such as The Last Samurai and The Lord Of The Rings, sword collecting has been forging a growing following in Singapore.
And it is not just the number of collectors which is on the rise but also their willingness to splurge, according to retailers which bring in these items.
Caesars director Diana Phee, whose firm sells Japanese swords, knives and replica guns at its two branches here, said she has seen sword sales go up by 10 to 15 per cent year on year over the last decade. On average, a few thousand swords - ranging from movie replicas to authentic models made by craftsmen - are sold every year.
In the last few years, the retailer has been bringing in hand-crafted swords and those with more elaborate designs. They are worth as much as $15,000. Ten years ago, the most expensive models did not exceed $600, she added.
"A lot of customers are now buying more expensive types as they understand their value," she told The Straits Times. "We now have easily 200 to 300 different designs."
Most of Caesars' customers are 25 to 40-plus years old and usually become interested in the hobby because of movies like Tom Cruise's vehicle The Last Samurai and the popularity of anime here, she explained.
Sheares Marketing, another major sword retailer here, declined comment when contacted. But The Straits Times understands that the store brings in swords that cost from $5,000 to $50,000.
On Monday, a man who was dressed partly like a Japanese martial art exponent took a samurai sword on board an MRT train before being arrested at Victoria Street near Bugis station.