South Carolina Sword & Scabbard, ca. 1850
Appraised Value: $30,000 - $40,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:30)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: My brother and I inherited it from my grandmother, who was from Laurens, South Carolina. They owned a plantation called Rosemont.
APPRAISER: And this plantation Rosemont was fairly successful, very large?
GUEST: Yes, 1816. It was 2,000 acres.
APPRAISER: Yeah, that makes perfect sense because the owner of this sword would have had access to some pretty serious money. We can know that it belonged to a man named John Cunningham because if we look up on the blade, we're going to see where he's had his name etched on the blade. Now, it is a possibility that this was given as a token of esteem or a gift. But the sword was certainly for this Mr. Cunningham, the owner of the plantation. If we look on top of that, we're probably going to see what should be his family motto or family crest. One of the reasons that I know that this sword was fairly expensive is if we come back to the hilt here-- I don't know if you're aware of it, and you may be, but that's solid silver. All right, so even in the mid-19th century, this is a very expensive thing to have made, to have a grip made... I mean, the guard made out of solid silver. So someone, whether it was Mr. Cunningham or a friend, went down to a retailer-- probably somewhere like Charleston-- and ordered this sword from England, all right, because everything about this sword has attributes of being English-made. If we look back here, we're going to see the starburst, then the small circle with the word "proof." And that is very typical of an English sword. But instead of having the English coat of arms here on the guard, we have the state seal for the state of South Carolina. And that is something that collectors really look for. It's nice that we have this wonderful blade in great condition, and we have this silver guard, but it's also very important that we do also still have the original scabbard. Now, I did a quick check and looked for a John Cunningham, and there is a gentleman by that name who serves in this state as a colonel when the war starts. But I couldn't get far beyond that, so I can't be positive it's the same person. But I would say the chances are likely. So what we're going to talk about right now is the value of this sword and the way it sits-- and just as a sword, not with an attribution to a person. I think for a retail price, you might expect to see this sword sell for between $30,000 and $40,000.
GUEST: Thank you.
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