View Full Version : Sword ID Service
01-11-2004, 10:47 PM
My family has a sword. I'm sure it's old, but the question is how old?
I'm positive from my brief stab at research that it's not Civil War era... at least, I'm almost 95% positive. In fact, I'm not even sure if it's a military sword, or something used by the local high school/college marching band. Heck, I'm not even convinced it's American.
Any good research sources out there for a novice? Or a service where I can fob off some cash and a couple of detailed descriptions and a photo or three?
It's big; it's heavy; it's old (too dirty and pitted to be new... turn of the 19th/20th Century?); it's got some markings and a cipher.
Any opinions would be appreciated.
01-12-2004, 02:23 PM
One cheap way to begin narrowing the field of what century/country is to head to the library. Take a sketch or photos of the sword with you and compare to items in reference books. This is what's called fun.
Its a sure bet someone here could help identify it or narrow the search given the same photos.
01-12-2004, 02:36 PM
Here are some websites that might give you leads:
("American Sword Identification")
One very distinct possibility is that your sword may be associated to any one of the many post-war fraternal and social organizations including the Knights Templars, Knights of Columbus, etc. Another possibility is that it is a militia sword of the type offered by such suppliers as Horstmann Bros., of Philadelphia, and Schuyler, Hartley & Graham of New York.
01-12-2004, 02:38 PM
I tried that. You know, you'd think that the main public library in the capitol city of a large state like Illinois would have a good Civil War/militaria collection. :o
Oops! I mean, I tried our public library... no luck, save to say that the sword isn't an official US military issue. Boy, this library just isn't a happening sort of place.
I'll try the websites you've posted, see what happens. Thanks all!
01-13-2004, 12:37 AM
Oh, what the heck. Here's two pics:
There's no obvious markings on it, like "Made by _____". The scabbard is marked with the # "18" in two places, and with the initials "A.E." on the joint that attaches to the belt ring.
The sword itself has two markings, both on the "thumb" that sticks out from the handguard: "C685", and on the opposite side, a cartouche of a cross on a necklace or rosary (the necklace is comprised of small circles; the whole cartouche is only 5mm wide), underneath that is a faded/worn initial, probably "F7" or maybe "FE".
The blade is plain; no markings, designs, symbols etc. remain that I can make out.
Oh, it's a sabre design with a fuller running on each side nearly the length of the blade; the whole measures 40". Blade measures 34".
Well, there's my stab in the dark. (Rimshot, please.)
01-27-2004, 09:35 PM
O.k., I had an evaluation done on the sword by, hopefully, a fairly experienced professional appraiser. Here's the info I received:
The sword is a European 1822 Pattern. Very common in England and Germany from 1822-1870. It was considered obsolete by European countries at the outbreak of the US Civil War. The appraisers' opinion was that it was probably not imported into the US during that time.
The good news is that it's worth $175, which is what I paid for it... so I didn't get ripped off. :)
However, I know that both the Union and Confederacy imported anything they could get their hands on from Europe early in the War out of pure desperation for arms; so, the possibility remains that it was, indeed, used during the Civil War... no matter how slim. The sword certainly has a lot of wear and tear on it. That explanation is as likely as the several others that I can think of (WWI/WWII trophy; recent purchase from overseas; immigrant brought over from Europe; soldier-of-fortune)! It is also possible that the sword was imported, and was condemed, and never used except to fill space in a warehouse... although, given the need for iron/steel, you'd figure it would have been melted down for something useful.
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