Confederate Bowie Knife & Scabbard
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $11,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:51)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: This object was a sword that my grandfather had picked up during the Civil War, and he picked it up and never used it, but he saved it for his sons.
APPRAISER: So it's always been kind of a family heirloom?
GUEST: Yes, it has been.
APPRAISER: Well, it is interesting, because contemporary to when he found this and kept it as a souvenir, he made this nice paper tag that does say "I found this item along with Sherman on the march to the sea." He talks about how it's a Confederate short sword, and then he puts his name and his rank on this nice little tag that's here.
APPRAISER: Well, what's interesting is it's not actually a sword or a short sword. It's a bowie knife.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness!
APPRAISER: And when we think about Confederate bowie knives or side knives, you know, you would anticipate that they would be homemade, one-of-a-kind items, but this particular one is of interest to me, because this one is not homemade. This is an arsenal-made knife. There have been quite a few of them that have turned up in the Richmond area. When we do find them, invariably it's just the knife itself.
GUEST: Oh, I see.
APPRAISER: And this knife is in wonderful condition. It's got a great amount of the black paint still on the guard itself, here. If it came out by itself, it would probably sell for around $3,500.
APPRAISER: But what's really fascinating is you have the scabbard and the scabbard itself is very rarely encountered. It's riveted down the seam; we have this tin drag that even when you do find the scabbard, it has normally fallen off just through wear. This is the best one I've ever seen. So with the scabbard, maybe it would retail, you know, $6,500, $7,000.
GUEST: Oh, my word.
APPRAISER: But what's even better is when he captured the knife, he took the time to make this wonderful tag explaining how he got it, where he got it, and he listed his name. The tag was very visible in the beginning. And it's begun to fade over the years, right. Well, what it does is it makes it no longer just a knife. Now we have a knife that we can tie to an individual, a certain area. We know this is something that was found in or around Atlanta or Savannah.
APPRAISER: You know, in Georgia. The very sophisticated collector would fall in love with this all together as a package. So we have a rare knife, with an even rarer scabbard, but then we've got this wonderful tag that puts the whole group in context. I think if I had it in my gallery, I would want $10,000 or $11,000 for it as a group.
GUEST: You're kidding!
APPRAISER: Yeah, it's a very, very fascinating group. It's the type of thing that you never see together. It has all the elements that make a sophisticated collector get very excited and more than willing to pay a premium.
GUEST: Oh, that's amazing.
APPRAISER: So it's very, very nice. Very wonderful to see it. Fascinating thing.
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