Fake Confederate Sword
Appraised Value: $79
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Value Range: $79
Appraisal Video: (2:52)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: It was manufactured by Thomas Griswold. They had a store in New Orleans. The original store was in Ohio and they opened a branch store in New Orleans, and when the Civil War broke out, the branch store broke away from the main store and started manufacturing swords and knives for the Confederacy.
APPRAISER: How did you come by it?
GUEST: I saw it online and, uh... I noticed the manufacturer's name and I looked it up in my reference book of sword makers of America and I was lucky enough to win it.
APPRAISER: Okay, what did you have to pay for it?
GUEST: I got it for $100.
APPRAISER: You got it for 100, okay. This is a great opportunity for me to educate the public. These swords cost about $79. They're being imported from India and then chemically aged here in the United States and marked with these spurious markings. There is not even a Confederate sword that exists that even looks like this. The guard is completely wrong, the scabbard's wrong. We have an inscription right up here on the top. Real Confederate swords can come with inscriptions, so we can't say, "Well, be careful of the inscription," because a lot of real ones will have that. If we look right here on the back of the blade, it's stamped "Thos. Griswold & Co., New Orleans." Real Thomas Griswold & Co. swords are marked like that. But there's one aspect that we have on here that, if everybody is aware of it, there won't be any more problems. If you look right here, you're going to see a stamped date. There are no Confederate swords except for one-- and it is so esoteric that only one has ever showed up-- that has a stamped date. These come stamped with a date. Sometimes they'll be stamped with "C.S.," and that is the way a Union sword is inspected by the government. And the guy who makes these thought the Confederate ones would be done the same way. And they are not done like this. So, the key to take away from this for everybody-- fortunately you did not have to pay a great deal of money, not even really in excess of what you would expect to pay-- is if it's a Confederate-manufactured sword and it has a stamped date or a stamped letter "C.S.," it is not and cannot, nor will it ever be real. I have a client who bought 15 of these for $3,000 or $4,000 apiece. I see them on Internet auction sites all the time, I see them in antique malls, and I sure do appreciate you being so kind and letting me tell everybody about it.
GUEST: Oh, yes, excellent-- educate everyone.
APPRAISER: I think it will look great over the mantel. It didn't cost a lot. It's a good teaching tool.
GUEST: It certainly taught me something.
APPRAISER: Real Thomas Griswold & Co., with an original scabbard, in pretty nice shape-- you're going to be 10,000 and up.
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