Blades of glory

He loves swords so much there is an "armoury" in a corner of the living room of his five-room HDB flat in Boon Keng.

It is 5m long and 3m wide.

The room's grey walls resemble the inside of a castle. Red velvet covers the floor and warm LED lights shine onto the swords.

Broadswords, samurai swords, claymores and rapiers hang from the walls. Some are propped up with stands while others are in display cases.

Mr Ian Del Rozario spent about $25,000 creating the room last year.

The 31-year-old antiques dealer wanted a place to keep his collection of about 40 swords worth over $200,000.

He says: "I wanted my babies to be safe from humidity. So the air-con is on all the time.

"I'm very proud of my collection. My friends love it. The guys often ask to sit inside with me to have a beer. It's my man-cave.

"Each sword means something to me. I've gathered them since I was a teenager."

His love for swords grew from his interest in medieval history - particularly knights, warriors and templars.

He received his first sword when he was 17. His mum had given it to him to cheer him up.

Mr Del Rozario points to it enthusiastically.

"It's a ceremonial sword called The Catholic King. One just like it was used to knight Christopher Columbus. It costs about $800."

A year later, he bought his second sword with his first paycheck.

He says: "I was very excited. The more I read up on history, they more I became interested in the swords wielded by these warriors."

As his collection grew, so did his interest in other sword-related items.

He has two shields hanging on one of the walls and a head armour sits in one corner.

But his most treasured possessions are still the swords. Over 90 per cent of them were bought at Caesars, a shop selling replica armour, guns and swords.

Once brought home, the swords are not removed except for maintenance.

His most expensive sword is a paper crane katana worth about $9,000, which he bought last year. It is made from Tamahagane (Japanese for jewel steel) folded steel, hand-forged and took over 140 man-hours to make.

Mr Del Rozario also owns many replicas of swords that have appeared in movies such as The Lord of the Rings, Troy and Gladiator.

"As a boy, I used to fantasise about being a warrior - strong, heroic, honourable. We can't all be warriors in real life. But we can still imagine," he says.

His hero was the character Maximus from the movie Gladiator (2000), played by Russell Crowe.

In his younger days, he was also interested in sword-related activities like fencing, kendo and aikido. He may show you his swords but he would not show you his moves.

He says: "Although my swords are blunt, it's still not safe to be swinging them around.

"Many of them are heavy and can cause injury if you're not careful."

He recalls one of the swords falling from the wall in the middle of the night, denting his parquet flooring.

"I created the armoury partly for safety reasons," says Mr Del Rozario, who is married and has a 10-month-old boy.

"I've slowed down after having a child. I used to drop by Caesars 10 times a month. These days, I only go two or three times a month."

His wife, Fiona, 31, does not love swords as much as he does. But the bank employee says: "I think his interest is very romantic. He is like an old soul.

"I call him 'my rusty knight'."

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