Cook & Brothers Bayonet from the Civil War
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $2,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:24)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: I had an uncle who was a collector of bladed weapons back through World War I and World War II-- all over the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. It was part of his collection, and then when he died, I actually inherited it. And I've always thought it was probably a Civil War bayonet. So I'm here to find out whether it really is or not.
APPRAISER: Well, it is a Civil War bayonet.
GUEST: All right.
APPRAISER: And it's a Confederate-made bayonet. It would have been produced either in New Orleans, Louisiana, or in Athens, Georgia. It was made by a company by the name of Cook & Brothers. They provided a tremendous amount of weaponry to the Confederacy. They made cutlasses, rifles, carbines and, of course, bayonets. These are actually quite hard to come by.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: There're not a lot of these around. Normally, if we were encountering a Union-made bayonet, or a Northern-made bayonet, in this type of condition, we'd be thinking maybe in the $150 range. So, one of the things we want to talk about is the condition. We have some active, living rust here on the blade, so that's a concern. So what I would advise is that you do get some good quality oil, maybe a really soft cloth and let's kill that rust before it starts to pit the blade.
APPRAISER: I don't want you to clean the hilt at all, because the collectors like to see brass in its original patina. That's a desirable color. It's got a nice, wonderful patination. Another thing-- the locking mechanism has gone missing over time, but that's not uncommon. It just happens. One of the telltale features of a Confederate-made item is kind of the crude process in the way it's done. I think you had even mentioned, you know, these things are just kind of slammed out.
GUEST: They sort of look like it, yeah.
APPRAISER: If you look-- the casting, it's very poorly done, but for a Confederate item, it's pretty good quality.
GUEST (laughs): Okay.
APPRAISER: So, Cook & Brothers was... they were a quality manufacturer. These bayonets with scabbards-- will retail somewhere in the $5,000 to $7,000 range.
GUEST: Whoa, okay!
APPRAISER: But we have to take into account that we're missing the scabbard and the locking mechanism...
APPRAISER: So if I had this in my shop with the way it sets, I would want around $2,000 for it.
GUEST: Wow. That's amazing.
APPRAISER: It's a nice bayonet. It's a nice artifact.
GUEST: It's unbelievable. I really kind of thought it was Civil War. I didn't know for sure... but I'm delighted.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.