Cook & Brothers Bayonet from the Civil War

Value (2005) | $1,500 Retail$2,000 Retail

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.

GUEST:
Okay.

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...

GUEST:
Sure.

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.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2005)
$1,500 Retail$2,000 Retail
Event
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)
Material
Brass, Metal

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