Civil War Ames Sword & Scabbard

Value (2009) | $12,000 Retail

GUEST:
The sword belonged to my great-great-grandfather out of southern Maine. He served in the 27th Maine regiment during the Civil War, and they spent their service guarding Washington, D.C., and they volunteered to extend their stay, and in return they received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

APPRAISER:
Well, what we are looking at here is in fact a Congressional Medal of Honor. It's in its original case. It's in wonderful condition. They're obviously very historical, but this one quite especially because it involves the 27th Maine and their service in Washington, D.C. When Robert E. Lee decides to invade Pennsylvania, they felt like the capital was left fairly well unguarded, so they asked several regiments whether they would stay and help defend the city. Of those was the 25th Maine and the 27th Maine, both which their times of service were up, and they wanted to go home. The 25th Maine chose to go home. And several of the men from the 27th Maine chose to go home, but about 300 did stay behind and defend the city. So, as a result, Congress gives the Medal of Honor to 864 of the men. Those are the actual number of men that were in the regiment. The Medal of Honor is our nation's biggest award for valor. The idea behind it is that you've done something exceptional and above the call of duty in defense of your nation or in defense of your friends. It really is a medal for valor. In 1917 they had what they called the Purge of 1917, and these medals were all rescinded, because there was actually no combat duty that took place. So if you go to the Honor Roll now for men who've won the Medal of Honor, all of these 864 names have been removed. So while it physically exists, it doesn't exist in our Congressional Record. There's another interesting aspect to the Medal of Honor that you may not be aware of. Congress has passed an act, and it makes it illegal to buy or sell this medal. So when we think about value, while I'm sure it has tremendous sentimental value and it's very historical, monetarily it has no value.

GUEST:
Oh, really?

APPRAISER:
Now, that brings us over to the sword. It's in mint condition, because it's never really used in combat.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And there are men and women who collect swords just by pattern.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This is a cavalry officer's saber made by Ames. It's quite rare. See where it has this wonderful engraving and etching?

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The flower work in the guard, that's all special. We have gilt mounts, and we have an etched blade.

GUEST:
An etched blade. A

APPRAISER:
standard service cavalry saber has a plain blade. And the thing that drives the value on this sword is the quality of the etching and the fact that it's almost mint. It's almost like the day it left Ames.

GUEST:
Is that a fact?

APPRAISER:
So a regular cavalry saber might retail for around $650 to $750. But because it's rare and because of its fabulous condition, the sword and the scabbard combined are worth $12,000 retail.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
I sure do appreciate you bringing it. Thank you very much.

GUEST:
It's much more than I anticipated. Much, much more.

APPRAISER:
It's a very valuable sword.

GUEST:
Oh, yes. Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2009)
$12,000 Retail
Event
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
Period
Civil War
Material
Metal

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