Turkish Ottoman Sword

Value (2005) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

GUEST:
Well, it was in my uncle's estate, and it was given to me. My uncle, who was a civil mining engineer... And he was, uh, commissioned by the Harvey Mudd Company to explore the potential, and if it was appropriate, open the copper mines on the island of Cyprus.

APPRAISER:
Well, the ancient copper mines that used to be there.

GUEST:
Yes, and they hadn't been worked since Caesar's legions had been in Cyprus area.

APPRAISER:
Hmm.

GUEST:
And it, um, it worked out that there was copper to be derived by modern techniques there. So, they, um, went out on some laterals, and in one lateral, where it had caved in, when they opened it up, the tunnel extended out to an exit on the Mediterranean.

APPRAISER:
Wow.

GUEST:
In the cliffs. And back about, oh, 50, 100 yards, were this scimitar, or sword, a couple of flintlock pistols-- silver-encrusted flintlock pistols--and some other treasures that are now in the museums.

APPRAISER:
Wow.

GUEST:
In Cyprus and in Italy.

APPRAISER:
That's a phenomenal thing.

GUEST:
And, uh... Oh, he wound up with bags about like this of Roman coins, scarabs.

APPRAISER:
Wow.

GUEST:
Uh, water vessels, and... It must have been a hiding place for centuries.

APPRAISER:
It must have been.

GUEST:
But he spent about eight to ten years there, and then... until World War II, and, um, uh, never went back. And went on to other...

APPRAISER:
Well, this thing is actually from the period of time when the Ottomans occupied the island.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
It's actually like a combination of Ottoman, Turkish and Persian. The blade is Persian, and in all probability, 17th, 18th century. And it's an absolutely finely wadded blade. If you look at it, you can see this pattern in the steel that's here. These two different colors-- almost looks like a wood grain. But a very, very elegant, beautifully formed blade.

GUEST:
Can that be brought out?

APPRAISER:
It can be polished considerably. And then on every single mounting that's here on this sword, there are little touch marks, because it's all gilt silver, the mounts that are on here.

GUEST:
Oh, mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And those are called tugra. And they're like Ottoman hallmarks. And then, particularly the thing that identifies it as being Ottoman is this emblem that's here, this arms trophy, in repousse. And that's an absolutely classic item for Ottoman pieces.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
And then, one of the things that's kind of like the piece de resistance with this sword is... The hilt here-- that material there is rhinoceros horn.

GUEST:
It is?

APPRAISER:
Yup. And there's a beautiful pistol grip tilt on this thing.

GUEST:
Now, it would be a scimitar?

APPRAISER:
Yeah, the Turkish word is kilij. But the word "scimitar" comes from the Persian word shamshir.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
Which is the name for this kind of weapon, so you can see the resemblance between the two words. But Ottoman weapons are highly, highly desirable. At auction, this sword's worth about $8,000.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Yeah. It's a very, very fine one.

GUEST:
Very nice.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, a beautiful piece.

GUEST:
Good, good.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2005)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Event
Los Angeles, CA (August 13, 2005)
Form
Sword
Material
Silver

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