Confederate Boyle & Gamble Sword, Scabbard & Belt, ca. 1860
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:12)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: This sword belonged to my grandfather's brother and he was a captain in Company F of the 18th regiment of the North Carolina infantry.
APPRAISER: Do you happen to know if they were ever in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia?
GUEST: Yes, they were. They were at Cold Harbor and Gaines Mills, just north of Richmond, I know that.
APPRAISER: Okay, well, that makes perfect sense because both of the objects that we have here were made in Richmond, Virginia.
APPRAISER: If we start here with this belt, we have a two-piece interlocking belt buckle with a "CS" for "Confederate States." Again, made in Virginia. One of the reasons it tells us that is it has this bullet stitch.
APPRAISER: It's really a nice belt. It still has the sword hangers on it. But if we look over here, we'll notice it has broken in half in one spot.
GUEST: Right, right.
APPRAISER: So that's something we're going to have to take into account. The sword was made in Richmond by Boyle & Gamble. And this is what's called a Confederate staff officer's sword. And one of the reasons we know it's for a staff officer is it has the "CS" in the guard, again for "Confederate States." We have this wonderful scabbard. It's just in excellent condition. It's all tight, no big cracks or breaks. The grip is very nice, the wire is all complete and intact. So on the outside, it's visually very nice.
APPRAISER: And we're going to take the sword down and examine the blade. If we look on the blade, we're going to see all through this area it still contains most of its original luster, very visually attractive. Here we have the letters CSA, for "Confederate States of America."
APPRAISER: If we look here, we'll see the Confederate flag, very nicely etched. We're going to turn it over. If we look here, we're going to see a shield with stars. And then the whole etched panel, it's a little dirty, but still has a great deal of the luster. It's very attractive.
APPRAISER: But when we look down towards the end of the blade, it becomes readily apparent that something's happened. And what do we know about, maybe, it being broken?
GUEST: Well, I was told that the Yankees had broke the end of the sword off and wouldn't let him bring back something that was intact, so he brought both pieces back and later had it welded back together.
APPRAISER: That's very possible, actually. I mean, we don't know, we weren't there, but it's definitely feasible. Do you have any idea who did the repair work?
GUEST: I do not know. Obviously somebody in Laurinburg, North Carolina, but I don't know who it was.
APPRAISER: Okay. Well, have you ever thought anything towards value?
GUEST: I have absolutely no idea what this is worth.
APPRAISER: All right. With the belt, it's quite nice, and it is broken. But that can be repaired by a skilled leatherworker. That does have a chance of being restored. The way the belt sets now, I think it's worth around $5,000 retail.
APPRAISER: All right?
GUEST: That's quite a surprise.
APPRAISER: If you spent a few hundred dollars and had it properly restored, it might bring $6,000 retail. So that's a reasonable thing to do.
APPRAISER: With the sword, we have a pretty serious problem with the break. And that's not going to be quite as restorable as the belt. It's just very difficult, it's very hard to do, and you're always going to know it's broken.
APPRAISER: So the way the sword sets right now, I think it's probably worth around $10,000 retail.
GUEST: Good gracious.
APPRAISER: I had no idea of that. Well, do you know, if the blade wasn't broken and repaired, this sword would probably sell for $25,000 retail.
GUEST: Quite a surprise.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 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.