Dragoon Sabre, ca. 1833
Appraised Value: $6,000 - $8,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:11)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: My dad gave it to me. I was about six or seven years old. And he died when I was 12.
GUEST: So basically, I don't know much about the sword. I think maybe it's Civil War, but I'm not sure.
APPRAISER: This is a pattern 1833 dragoon saber. And it doesn't mean necessarily that's when it's made, but that does give us the pattern. And it's for an officer. And the officer's pattern is going to have this gilt covered basket, the guard itself.
APPRAISER: With the sharkskin grip.
APPRAISER: Then they'll have an etched blade, whereas the enlisted man's will be plain.
APPRAISER: So that's what tells us this is for an officer. Another thing that's interesting about these swords is they have what we call a quill back. See how it has this kind of ridge going down the spine?
APPRAISER: There's a really unique feature to it that I think maybe will answer your question about whether it could have been used during the American Civil War, and I think it was. But I think it was used by a Confederate soldier, because I don't know if you've ever noticed, but originally in this panel, that read "United States Dragoons."
GUEST: Oh, okay, I couldn't see that.
APPRAISER: Well, you can't see it because it's been purposely obliterated.
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: And I think what happened is the Confederate soldier, when he went to carry this, he wanted to remove those federal markings. They would wear U.S. belt buckles upside down, because that's all they could get. I mean, they're procuring weapons from anywhere that they can get. So I think that's why this has been done. Now, it's important to note that this particular sword, for an officer, it's quite rare, and they're valuable. Your blade is in really nice shape. It's got some dirt and debris on it, but that could be handled without altering the sword. Now, a collector of Southern things or Confederate things would really think that's great. It kind of adds a little bit to it. But someone who's collecting the sword as a pattern, that would hurt it.
APPRAISER: So even with this, where the dragoon part has been obliterated, I think the sword's worth, retail, between $6,000 and $8,000.
APPRAISER: But when you move outside of that market, from a Confederate or a Southern interest, and if you went into the market where someone's collecting this as pattern, well, they would want this back. If it was there, then this sword might bring between $12,000 and $16,000.
GUEST: I had no idea-- fantastic.
APPRAISER: I sure do appreciate you bringing it.
GUEST: That's great, thank you so much.
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