Tiffany Civil War Saber, ca. 1861

Value (2006) | $1,000 Retail$1,200 Retail

GUEST:
I brought a Civil War sword that I purchased from my milkman.

APPRAISER:
How long ago did you get the sword?

GUEST:
Nine months to a year about is when I got it. I'm kind of a Civil War enthusiast, and he thought it was authentic, because he said he got it from somebody who was a big Civil War collector. And so I bought it. I paid 100 bucks for it. And I took it around to several places around Green Bay that might know something about it, and they looked at it, and there was nobody that was really a sword expert, but they thought that, uh... 80% chance it was authentic. I did some research on it. It's got Tiffany & Company on the blade. And Tiffany did make swords for the Civil War, for the Union, about 1861 to '63, approximately. They assembled the swords in New York, and they bought the blades from, uh, Europe. And one of the markings of this company had a series of dots in a circle with capital letters "P.D.L." This one has a small "r" and a capital "D.L." And so I don't know if the "r" stands for reproduction, or if it stands for Robert Lee.

APPRAISER:
Well, let's take a look at those marks.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It does have the Tiffany of New York mark on it.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
When you hear Tiffany, you automatically think jewelry or lamps.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
The Tiffany Company had feelers out in Europe when the Civil War broke out. They already had those connections, so they could bring pieces over.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
War-- big business.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
So they decided, we need to get in on this. They started importing military goods-- high-quality military goods, different from your average military company.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Because they are Tiffany.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's high-end, top notch. You mentioned the sword was made overseas, and it is. If we can turn the sword over, we'll see the mark "P.D.L.," and it is a "P." The die was broken that they used for this one. You can't quite see the bottom of the "P."

GUEST:
It is a "P"?

APPRAISER:
It is a "P." And it's for Luneschloss Company.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
In Solingen, Germany.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Solingen was the Mecca for sword making for centuries.

GUEST:
It is a "P." Wow.

APPRAISER:
And also good news--it is original.

GUEST:
Oh, it is?

APPRAISER:
Most Civil War cavalry sabers have a brass guard.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
If you notice, this one is iron. With the iron, it's distinctively Luneschloss and Tiffany. They wanted theirs a little bit different. It's not your standard run-of-the-mill cavalry saber. We have the original scabbard. The scabbard is complete, except for one small screw that's missing on the top. That's no... no big deal. The blade is full length, and have you ever noticed the grooves on the blade?

GUEST:
Right, right.

APPRAISER:
Do you know what those are for?

GUEST:
They're called...For the blood?

APPRAISER:
Right, they're called a blood groove or blood fuller.

GUEST:
Okay. That's what I kind of thought, maybe.

APPRAISER:
If you were to insert the sword into someone...

GUEST:
Easy to pull it out.

APPRAISER:
It makes it easier to pull out. There's a large groove called a fuller, and then there's a small one called a secondary fuller. And that's one thing that you look for when you're thinking, "Is this sword real?" Because many of the reproductions don't have that small secondary fuller, because it's more expensive. It takes a little while longer to make. We actually have a little bit of the original finishing marks on the blade.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The blade's got a nice, bright luster. And we do have the original grip and wire. The leather's very nice. It's got just that real pretty Attic flavor, the nice, rich, thick tone. It's just a good solid sword all the way around.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Have you ever gotten a value on it?

GUEST:
No. I know I got $100 stuck into it.

APPRAISER:
Right. Well, it was $100 well spent. This sword in today's market, with the complete attractive look that it has, would probably retail somewhere between $1,000 and $1,200.

GUEST:
A thousand?!

APPRAISER:
Exactly.

GUEST:
Whoo!

(laughing)

GUEST:
No kidding. That's great.

(laughs)

GUEST:
Who would have thought that?

(both laughing)

GUEST:
It makes up for all the bad deals I got.

(both laughing)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, Tennessee
Appraised value (2006)
$1,000 Retail$1,200 Retail
Event
Milwaukee, WI (July 29, 2006)
Period
Civil War
Form
Saber
Material
Leather

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