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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5768
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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I have an old sword passed down by my grandfather. Would

Customer Question

I have an old sword passed down by my grandfather. Would like to know a value and more about it.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 8 months ago.

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your sword.

Many thanks for the photo. This is an interesting looking piece! Do you have any history with it, as to how your grandfather acquired it and from whom? Any story behind it? Any and all these details will help value.

Also, could you also provide the following:

  • Length of the blade.
  • Close up photo of the ricasso both sides
  • Clear photo of the entire hilt.
  • Close up of the engraving/decoration on the blade.

Also, do you have the scabbard for it? If so, a photo of that would help.

Many thanks,

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hello Robert. I really dont know much about it at all, other than it was hanging on my grandfathers wall when I was a kid. He has passed now so not sure where to turn.Also not sure on the length exactly, as I am at work. I would estimate it to be 4 feet or so. To me, it would be what a sword length should be, haha.Attached are some more pictures.
Expert:  Robert S. replied 8 months ago.

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for the extra photos, those are a great help, I should be able to see most of the detail I need to. What a pretty sword, and the condition looks to be superb.

Leave this with me and I'll have a full answer and a value for you as soon as I can.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you. It really is in amazing condition...actually very sharp still at the point. Thanks for your help!
Expert:  Robert S. replied 8 months ago.

This is an unusual and beautiful sword, and could well be one-of-a-kind according the engraving on the blade.

It's certainly US military (the 13-star circlet attests to that), it's also an officer's dress sword, and it dates stylistically to circa 1812 - 1826. However, which branch of the military it belongs to is unclear, but it could well be an early example of a US Marine Corps officer's sword. The markings on the blade are very similar to those of a US Naval officer's sword of the day, but instead of a fouled anchor insignia (US Navy) yours has an "eagle, addorsed and rising from a globe" (in heraldry parlance) which is all but the same as the Marines' insignia but without the anchor. If it's an early variant of the Marines' eagle & globe, it's an extremely rare one.

The star on the scabbard is also unusual, it's too early to have anything to do with Texas because it was part of Spain, and later Mexico, during the period this sword dates to. It may just be ornamental as it's a repeat of the star on the crossguard, which would be a conceit of the maker rather than the military engraver.

The sword itself is very likely English made, which was not unusual as US manufacturers did not have the expertise or technology to fabricate a sword like this in those days and almost all were imported from mainly England (Sheffield steel) and Prussia (Solingen steel) and the blades usually custom-engraved/etched in New York or Philadelphia.

The design and ornament of the sword itself is completely pleasing, made with its stylish eagle head pommel (so popular at the time with US officers) enclosing a carved ivory grip, the recurved knuckle bow with clasping foliate forms joining an elaborately embellished quillon with acorn tips. The blade blued and damascened with a 13-star circlet flanked by the eagle-and-globe on one side and a "panoply of arms" on the other.

It has its original gilt metal scabbard, with some wear and fading to the gilding, original gilt hanger mounts and bands and 'drag' on the chape (scabbard tip) engraved with vining oak leaves at each end and a central five pointed star in a circle.

So what about value? The top auction price for a US officer's dress sword from this period that I can find in the records is this example, a US Naval officer's sword, very similar to yours, but with a leather scabbard and in extremely fine condition, even better condition than yours. It sold on line for $9,500.

Having said that, yours is also a museum piece. Conservatively it would have an auction value in the range of $3000 - $5000 and I would therefore insure it for at least $10,000.

I do hope this helps!

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance with this, I would be glad to.

Best wishes,

Expert:  Robert S. replied 8 months ago.

Hi Brandon,

I hope all is okay and you got my response on the sword (above). I assume you must be having computer problems since I haven’t heard from you, however, if you are able to receive this, could you kindly take a moment to rate my services (with the stars or "accept" button) as this is how I get paid by JustAnswer at no extra cost to you.

We can still continue to communicate here on this thread after you do. Or, if you have another item you'd like to ask me about, just start a new Question and put "For Robert S....." in the subject line.

Thanks so much,