19th-Century Texas Artillery Short Sword

Value (2005) | $2,000 Retail$3,000 Retail

I brought in this... what we believe is a Texas sword. Don't know much about it. It was given to my husband's father back in the mid-'50s by a man who said that he found it when he was working on the construction of the San Jacinto Monument back in the mid-'30s.

That monument's near Houston, where we're at today.

Yes, yes, it is. It's where the battle of San Jacinto was fought back in the early 1800s.

It is a Texas artillery sword. At the top of the sword, we have the famous Lone Star from the state of Texas. This sword was actually manufactured in Cabotville, Massachusetts.

I'll be darned.

It was made by the Ames Manufacturing Company, the most famous swordmaker of the day. They made them under contract for the state of Texas. They had that fierce look-- the Roman gladiator sword. It's patterned after the model 1832 short artillery sword. It would have been made prior to the Mexican War... prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. So it very well could have been lost in battle. This pattern they actually made up until 1861. There is a version that has an eagle up on the top of the pommel.

We've seen that.

That's the standard U.S. sword; they made several thousand. The one with the star, since it is a state contract rather than a government contract-- they only made 40 of these. It also was only made for a couple of years. With a little bit more research, we can tell you those exact years, the dates they were delivered to the state of Texas... or at that time, the Republic of Texas. The handle is actually made of cast brass. And the sword, being iron, they run the blade through the handle, and they peen the blade and the handle together to keep it from coming out. The early ones didn't, and they would fall out. We do have a couple of condition problems, which will hold the sword back. Originally, it would have had a leather-and-brass scabbard that sheathed the sword when it wasn't in use.


That's missing. Also, the blade has been resharpened several times. It originally would have been just a little bit wider. And at one time, it would have had the date of manufacture at the base of the blade. It also would have had the Ames Manufacturing mark. So those will hold it back for bringing top dollar.


The general consensus, when I referred to some colleagues, they thought that the sword would bring about $2,000. My opinion was, it's a wonderful piece; we know the battle history; it's a rare piece compared to the regular quantities that they issued. I think that it would bring closer to $3,000. So that just lets you know that it's all in the eye of the beholder. They saw it as a sword that had been sharpened, that has a dark blade, but I look at it as it is the history with the sword, not just the sword.

Terrific-- thank you. My husband will be very pleased.

Appraisal Details

Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Appraised value (2005)
$2,000 Retail$3,000 Retail
Houston, TX (July 16, 2005)
19th Century
October 28, 2013: Since this appraisal aired, several viewers have rightly pointed out that although the sword could have been used prior to the Mexican War (1846-1848), it could not have been used at the battle of San Jacinto, which took place in 1836. Documentation shows swords like this one were delivered by the Ames Manufacturing Company to the Republic of Texas in 1840.

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