Matt Easton

Antiques dealer Matt Easton is leading the lobbying to stop a ban on the delivery of antique swords.

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As reported in ATG No 2641, Royal Mail and its courier and logistics arm Parcelforce will no longer deliver antique swords and daggers.

Auctioneers and dealers are concerned more couriers will follow suit, particularly in light of the Hainault sword attack on May 30 when 14-year-old Daniel Anjorin was murdered and four people seriously injured.

However, according to reports, the weapon was a replica sword that is already illegal to buy and own in the UK.

The Offensive Weapons Act 2019 and previous updates in the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order have meant many knives and swords are already illegal.

Under the law there are exemptions such as for swords with curved blades of 50cm or longer made before 1954 (or those made at any time by traditional methods by hand). Also, under the updated law buyers of antique swords delivered in the mail have to prove they are over 18.

Those trading in antique examples believe this should continue as they claim there is little evidence that antique bladed weapons are used in crime.

The campaign, led by Matt Easton of Easton Antique Arms, has been joined by Asian arms and armour Runjeet Singh and auctioneers Anthony Cribb and Thomas Del Mar (antique arms, armour and militaria consultant to Sotheby’s and Olympia Auctions founder) who have written to their MPs about the issue.

Easton said: “Given the huge number of swords in the UK, they are used in violence remarkably rarely, and blunt swords as used for fencing and reenactment are never used, as far as we can see. It’s incredibly difficult to find any instances of antique swords being used in violent crime either.

“It seems very unjust therefore to treat all types of sword with the same policy, especially blunt sporting items and valuable antiques, which are completely legal to buy and own.”

While Parcelforce no longer ships swords, other couriers continue to.

Del Mar described Parcelforce’s stance as “another no doubt well-intentioned idea that fails to address the root cause of a problem and dramatically impacts an ent i rely inappropriate demographic”.

He added: “There are obvious echoes of the debates that have taken place around ivory and firearms that also arose from justified concerns. The implemented measures demonstrated little, if any, positive result of tackling the problem that fomented the issue. We hope Parcelforce will develop a more structured solution to this in the very near future.

“Meanwhile we continue to work with our regular shippers and couriers at our post-sale fulfilment centre.”