Mar 01, 23 10:15 PM
It is easy to buy swords in the USA. Indeed, most US based sword collectors are literally spoiled as many sword sellers simply don't (or can't) ship their swords overseas either due to fraud concerns, USPS shipping and length restrictions, import restrictions (especially the UK) and a whole host of other reasons.
In many cases, non-USA sword buyers just give up and resign themselves to massive local markups on a severely limited selection by buying locally. But there is another way..
Please note: These shipping methods are not foolproof and not 100% guaranteed. Despite the fact that almost all sword collectors are good, honest citizens and collect swords for many legitimate reasons - such as historical research, stage props, re-enactments, traditional martial arts practice and heck, even Belly Dancing, local import regulations are not always cut and dried.
So please do your own research and contact the providers listed here for the most up to date information should you have any doubts or concerns.
These services were originally designed primarily designed for US Ex-pats, Digital Nomads and other 'globetrotters' to receive their mail and packages from the USA, but over the years are increasingly being used by people living outside America who simply want to be able to directly access the USA market (as many sites, not just sword related, do not ship overseas because of factors such as the risk of fraud, the hassle of additional paperwork and difficulty of arranging returns on defective items, or are simply have an agreement with the Master distributor or the maker to only sell within a given 'territory').
Essentially what happens is that these services provide you with a 'Suite' or street address and either order direct for you from the site in question or you just use your American address and they will consolidate and ship when you are ready for them to. They are very professional and because they get access to bulk shipping rates, usually considerably CHEAPER than if you were to have the item shipped to you directly by the seller!
Here's a few that have been used by SBG members to buy swords in the USA and ship them to their home overseas. Not all forwarders are equal, many prohibit 'sharp objects', 'weapons' and some even explicitly mention swords..
So here are some that either did or still do, though please note - as the situation is changing all the time we cannot guarantee any of the services listed below. But to date, most are still working - just occasionally difficult to work with..
One forwarder went from hero to zero recently, and that is the forwarder 'Planet Express'. They actually reached out to us a few years ago and promoted themselves as the next best thing to 'sword air' but in late 2022 they started refusing multiple shipments, stopped answering basic questions and ignored our own inquires as to what is going on. So it would seem that apparently the sword industry is too much work/trouble for them and wish to officially withdraw our support for their services.
Apparently they are getting harder to deal with for Katana orders, now demanding any sword that has rayskin undergo a $350 inspection process to determine if they are an endangered species. As such, we do not recommend them for shipping swords with rayskin fittings, so are a better choice for medieval and fantasy swords, or Katana with synthetic rayskin. Here is their full list of prohibited items - and swords and knives are not included and many of our customers have used them in the past.
I personally used Access USA for several years, shipping many swords together at once to me in Australia and only once had an issue at Christmas time in 2010 I think (the swords bounced back in the general Christmas shipping mayhem, but were quickly recovered).
In early 2013, there were some issues with this service and some sword buyers had their swords returned to them and were told that they cannot ship them, but this appears to be a temporary glitch as one member was advised: "There has been a recent tightening of export restrictions and so our receiving department is flagging all packages that may potentially be an issue. We are no longer able to export bayonets, but are still able to ship swords."
Due to this glitch, I cannot recommend them as highly as I once did (their shipping rates are dirt cheap), but they are still the best choice if you are a serious collector.
US Global mail have been used by some SBG visitors in the past with good results. Prices are slightly higher as they are calculated with a formula that tends to discriminate against relatively light, but long, packages like swords. Monthly fees are $15 a month or $150 for the year, which is good for serious addicts, oops, I mean collectors who order 1-2 swords a month or so.
Check them out below.
Forward It seems to be a relatively hassle free alternative - no monthly fees, but instead they charge a flat rate of $9.99 per item plus 3.9% if the item is over $200. This is a tad expensive, but makes them more suitable for the one off or casual collector who doesn't buy swords all the time but is looking to ship one particular stubborn to ship item.
The other benefit is that you can select the shipping carrier, which can be important when it comes to swords as some international carriers are more fussy and difficult to work with than others.
An organized community based approach to shipping, Parcl's motto is 'Anything to Anywhere' - and they have two types of members, shoppers and buyers. Click here to see how it works - and it looks like it is fine to ship swords, knives or even firearms if they are legal at the destination country.
Here is what they have to say to the question 'Can my package contain alcohol, tobacco, firearms, etc?'
Import and export regulations vary from country to country, so we strongly recommend our shoppers and forwarders to check Customs regulations in advance. Before placing your order, answer these questions:
Looks like a valid option to me, please do your due diligence though as they are a new company with a new concept, but have set up systems to protect buyers that looks pretty foolproof.
Now we are starting to get into untested waters. USA2ME is a popular forwarding service and if you look at their restricted item policy here they only mention ITAR rated military weapons as prohibited (so no grenades, etc). The only catch, they basically reserve the right of refusal with the final sentence (Any item that is deemed illegal, dangerous, illicit by USA2Me.com) so it might be a good idea to confirm with you before you buy swords and ship to them..
But we are getting towards the last of the options to buy swords and get them sent to you at a decent price (or get access to swords that simply do not ship outside of the USA).
This is a special service that covers pretty much all of the Caribbean and SOUTH America - from Anguilla to Venezuela and pretty much every other country in between throughout the region. They can and do ship swords, and will even help with the paperwork because sometimes swords sail on in, and other times even Aeropost cannot help, so it's not perfect. But for the area it covers, it may well be the best way to buy swords and have them shipped to you if you live South of the border or in the beautiful Caribbean (lucky you)
There are several other services available. A quick google search on 'international mail forwarding' will reveal several pages of potential forwarding services.
Just make sure that you explain you are a legitimate sword collector and ask if they have had any issues shipping swords in the past first before you jump in. It's worth the trouble because when it works, it opens up a whole world of sword buying opportunities at great prices that most Non North American sword buyers are simply locked out of...
I hope this information for International sword enthusiasts has been helpful.To return to The Sword Buyers Directory from A secret method to buy swords in the USA and ship them internationally, click here.