Revolutionary War Sword, ca. 1770
Appraised Value: $4,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:32)
Arms & Militaria
Shiloh Civil War Relics
GUEST: I brought in a sword, I thought Civil War sword when I bought it. I bought it in a pawnshop in Tylertown, Mississippi, about 35 years ago.
APPRAISER: This sword is what started all American swords. It's earlier than Civil War. This one is actually a Revolutionary War sword. There's about a 20-year gap that we can put this sword in, from about 1765 to 1785. It's a classic example of a cavalryman's sword from the Revolutionary War. If you notice, in the center of the blade, we've got three grooves, or fullers. A lot of people will call those blood grooves, but that's incorrect. Those were actually started back in Japan centuries ago as a way of lightening and strengthening the blade.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: And that's a trait of the blade being made in Europe. The time that this was made, the finest metals came from Europe.
APPRAISER: They had a better way to temper the steel. They would import the blades in and then they'd assemble them here in America.
APPRAISER: And I love the handle on this sword. It's made of a piece of cast brass. And you can imagine, after you cast that brass, it comes out with casting flaws on it. And there are casting flaws on the inside of the guard but the guard is nicely finished on the outside of the guard. That's because it was a necessity that they get these swords into service. So you finish what you can see and you leave plain what you can't see.
APPRAISER: They also had a hand-turned grip made of American wood. And then we have the pommel cap, which holds the whole sword together, is made of a cast piece of brass as well. All the swords that come from this sword later have this style to thank because we're a fledging country, and we're fledgling sword makers at the time, too. You paid how much for it?
APPRAISER: $35. And this was when?
APPRAISER: This sword today would retail for about $4,500.
GUEST: Wow. Mmm. Never expected that.
APPRAISER: This market on this sword isn't what it was. There were several people that were driving the market back five, ten years ago, and they passed away. So the value is down. There was a time this same sword would have brought $6,500.
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