Antique sword value
A step-by-step guide to finding the worth of your old swords
How can you determine the value of your old sword?
The complexity of valuating an antique sword often leaves the owner looking for a reputable sword appraiser without even initially inspecting the sword for authenticity resulting to unnecessary expenditure.
If you plan on having your sword appraised, you must at least have a well-founded idea of its identity and worth. If you’re certain that the sword is valuable, sending it for appraisal is definitely the best option. But if you’re unsure whether it’s genuine, or even collected, performing an initial appraisal is the best step to take.
An initial appraisal is a simple inspection of the sword’s potential worth in the sword collecting market.
This is done by taking into account the five major factors that shape the value of an antique sword. These are the sword’s origin, type, age, condition and historical significance.
The very first step is researching for the origin of the sword, evaluation comes next which looks into its type, age and condition. This is followed by an inspection on the possible historical importance of the item.
1. Origin of your antique sword
Swords were produced in every corner of the world for thousands of years with varying design, usage and importance. Knowing the origin of your sword will make it easier to determine its relative rarity in the sword collecting market.
The structure of the sword hints its origin. Take note of any structural peculiarities of your sword as the design of its hand-guard, pommel, blade and scabbard and use this information to search the internet for similar swords.
Asian swords, especially Japanese, are always in-demand among collectors. The value of a antique samurai sword, for example, will not go below USD 15,000. On the other hand, a Confederacy States sword from the American Civil War will be worth no less than USD 500 depending on condition.
2. Type of antique sword
Swords were produced in many types, and each type has its own market price. Using the same observations from the first step, search for information on your sword’s type.
Of the medieval swords, the longsword and the falchion are highly valued collectables because of their rarity. The prices of these two swords range between USD 2,000 and USD 10,000.
3. Age of your antique sword
Age has a huge effect on setting the price of an old sword. The rule of the thumb is, the older the sword, the more expensive it becomes. A 13th century katana will be three times more expensive than a katana, of similar type and condition, forged in the 1800s.
So how do you determine the age of a sword? There’s no other direct way to finding the age of the sword other than looking at specific markings, specific styles and designs which are better left to experts.
What you can do is look for any markings of dates on the sword’s blade, pommel or tang. Some swords, mostly antique military swords, are stamped with its date of manufacture on the blade.
These markings could chronicle how they were used in the past or what era they were made. Earliest signed Japanese sword was a tachi by Sanjo Munechika of the Heian Era (794-1184). Masamune, the greatest Japanese sword smith from the Kamakura period, signed very few swords.
4. Condition of your old sword
Condition refers to the overall state of the sword. From a collector’s perspective, it looks into the beauty of the sword or its aesthetic appeal.
To complete this self-appraisal, inspect the sword for any visible damages, or any form of imperfections that are beyond repair. Generally, any chips or damages on the sharp edge of the sword, no matter what type of sword it is, will have decrease its price. Rusting on the sword’s blade is acceptable in most swords but not in Japanese swords.
Condition also refers to the “completeness” of the sword. A sword complete with all of its part is bound to be more valuable than a sword with missing components (scabbard, handguard, drag, etc.).
5. Historical significance of your antique sword
It’s hard to determine the historical significance of a sword. If you purchased the sword from someone else, it might be best to have its history researched by a professional appraiser.
On the other hand, if the sword is a family heirloom with its history traceable to its original bearer, then it’s more valuable. Provenance is sought after in antique militaria collecting.
In the case of Civil War swords, if you can present a photo of the sword’s owner wearing it, its price will definitely increase by more than 50%.
Some important reminders in determining your antique sword value:
• Study the swords well and take your time. Remember, more than the price tag, you are after the swords values through the era of its making, its story, and the country it came from.
• Be careful because there are a lot of fake buyers and sellers and other forms of fixers who may take advantage of you when you are ignorant at dealing with sword transactions.
• Only go to professional and reliable appraisers for the most accurate antique sword prices. They are the most efficient people to know how much your swords are worth. Then again, don’t just rely on one, if possible, get a second or maybe, a third opinion.
• Discourage your self from online appraisers especially if you have just started trading with sword shops online. If people you see personally can defraud you, how much more those whose existence are “virtual”?
• Safeguard your self with an attorney in case things get more serious and legalities are raised. After all, when you take antique sword collecting seriously, you are investing a lot of money. Sword prices could even range from $8,000 to $30,000!
• Always remember that the appraised value of your sword is just an opinion of its potential worth, its real value is the amount that the buyer is willing to pay.