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 due to fraud concerns, USPS 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 or a severely limited selection by buying locally. But there is another way..
These services were originally designed primarily designed for US Ex-pats, Digital Nomads and other globetrotters to receive mail and packages from the USA, but are also increasingly used by people who simply want to be able to directly access the USA market (as many sites, not just sword related, do not ship overseas due to the hassle and risk involved).
Essentially what happens is that they 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..
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).
I am leaving this one until last because it is the one I know least about. However, they are at least worth a look - under their list of prohibited items in their FAQ section here they only mention ITAR military grade weaponry, so no hand grenades, nukes or directed energy weapons.. So I think swords should NOT be a problem..
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.