Civil war swords value
4 easy steps to finding the worth of your antique Civil War sword
One of the best militaria collectibles from the American Civil War period is the sword. Although not the primary weapon, the military swords and sabers were symbols of rank and kept as trophies after the war.
These war trophies were bequeathed to generation; some end up in the attic, others lost in time, and some kept within the family as pride and priced keepsakes.
If you’re in possession or just inherited a Civil War sword, you might be looking at a treasure. The question is how you can check if the sword or saber you have is worth something or not.
From a professional appraiser’s point-of-view, the process of determining the value of an American Civil War sword focuses on the inspection of its authenticity. Once verified, proceeding with quality assessment and pricing is easier. There are also other factors to consider such as the sword’s condition, its rarity and provenance.
The appraisal is very complicated which is why it’s always best to have your sword appraised by a Civil War sword expert. But you have to be ready to pay the appraisal cost which can run between USD 20 to 100.
If your antique Civil War sword is an heirloom and you can trace it to its bearer, have no fear in sending to a professional appraiser as the sword will most likely be valued no less than USD 1000. But if you’re doubtful of its authenticity, it would be wise to pre-assess the sword’s value and avoid unnecessary cost.
The pre-assessment is just a quick and simple check of the sword’s authenticity, condition, type and history. Below are four guide questions to self-appraising Union & Confederacy war-time swords.
Is it an authentic American Civil War sword?
Judging the authenticity of your US Civil War sword should be the very first step to estimating its potential worth. This would have been easier if not for the rampant reproductions and fakes.
With sophisticated counterfeiting and near-perfect reproductions being constantly traded, authenticating your sword will be very hard and should be left to experts.
So what can you do to check its authenticity? You can verify the history of the sword. Examine the sword for any markings or etchings. Some US Civil War swords are stamped with the name of its bearer.
There are free Civil War databases online where you can countercheck if the soldier and other details stamped on the swords do exist.
If the sword has been handed down to you through generation, it’s most likely an authentic Civil War sword. But if you bought it for less than USD 100, it’s more likely a fake.
What is the overall condition of your US Civil War sword?
The condition of Civil War swords refers to its overall state, particularly that of the blade.
Most American Civil War collectors and dealers look for battle-ready swords, those that have been used in real combat. These types often have acceptable level of damages.
Any nicks and slight imperfections on the sword’s parts and blade are considered normal and shouldn’t have any profound effects on its selling price; but visible chips and cracks on the blade might lower its value. Repairs, un-complementary polishing or tampering will also decrease its value.
A complete set (blade, scabbard, pommel, guard and grip) is more valuable than swords with missing parts.
Is it a Union or Confederate Civil War sword?
Due to their rarity, swords from the Confederate States are generally more expensive than those used by the Union States.
While it may be hard to determine the differences between swords used by the U.S. from the Confederacy, some markings are exclusive to one side. Some of the common marks on Confederate swords are “CS” and “CSA” on the hand-guard. “PDL” and “S&K” are found in Union Army swords.
A common Confederate Army sword in good condition will be priced around USD 650 while its Union States Army equivalent will fetch USD 500.
Who was the original bearer of your Civil War sword?
Provenance, or the history behind the sword, is valued by collectors. If you can link the sword to its owner, the price of the sword will increase by at least 25%. If you can present a photo or any documentation that links the sword to its supposed owner, then its price may double or triple.
Presentation swords often have inscriptions in them detailing the heroic deeds of the officer who received it. These types of swords are also extremely valuable Civil War collectibles.
The demand for US Civil War swords has always been high even with the slump in the economy. So if you have a genuine Civil War artillery, cavalry or navy sword or saber, you’re sure to find a willing buyer for it.
Keep in mind that the appraised price, self- or professionally-appraised, is just an opinion of the Civil War sword’s worth. The real price of sword is the amount that the buyer is willing to pay for.