Most Valuable Antique Swords
We dislike war as much as the next guy, but conflict is an unfortunate part of our history. Long before explosives were a thing, people duked it out with old-fashioned swords and shields.
Some of the most valuable antique swords are over 600 years old. Which one would you have carried into battle back in the day?
33. 19th-Century American Eagle Head Officer Pommel Sword
Bottom line: This 19th-century sword came from the estate of a military antique collector. Its age is apparent, but it doesn't appear to have been used much to remain a valuable collectible.
The etching on the blade is still present, and while the scabbard has some cracks in it, the leather is still soft to the touch. The entire piece is 35.5 inches long, so it was likely designed to be wielded with a two-handed grip.
32. Custom-Made British m1796 Sword
Bottom line: A rare version of the English model 1796 cavalry sword recently sold for two big ones. The blade was made of true Damascus steel, which is much more durable than what the cheaper steel swords of the time were commonly made of.
The blade alone is 33 inches long, and the entire sword measures 39.5 inches. The late 18th-century weapon was kept in such fine condition that it could easily still be sharpened and used.
31. Indo-Persian Double End Blade Sword
Bottom line: This antique sword is old and authentic and auctioned as part of several amazing knife and sword collections.
The Indo Persian sword dates back to the 1700s or earlier, and has a set of hallmarks on both sides of the blade. The crossguards have a tiger detail at the end, but otherwise the sword is rather plain.
It measures about 38.25 inches long and is in excellent condition, though it's missing the scabbard.
30. American Civil War Confederate Officer Sword
Bottom line: Swords don't have to be from across the pond to be valuable. This antique American Civil War sword was carried by an officer in the Confederate Army.
Despite its past, it's a valuable piece of history, boasting a large, ornate cavalry blade, a brass hilt, a leather grip and a custom iron scabbard. It's unclear who the original owner was, but it's a collector's item all the same.
29. Antique Islamic Dagger
Bottom line: Made sometime in the 19th century, this isn't actually a sword, but a dagger. The rare weapon was likely used in northern India in the region that's now Pakistan, although it's possible it was produced elsewhere in central Asia.
The thin blade is honed to a sharp point, and the weapon is designed to be light and easy to wield. The grip is made of panels of cattle bone riveted together, and the sheath is made of fine leather. If the dagger was ever used, you would never guess by the look of it.
28. Antique Figural Romantic Dagger
Bottom line: Speaking of daggers, this one is a beauty. The word "romantic" in the title refers to the intricate design along the flat of the blade, which is still easily visible. It was made in 1868 in Toledo, Spain, with a figural bronze hilt and a matching brown leather sheath.
The design of the hilt was likely intended to bestow good luck upon the wielder. The blade is just over six inches long, but it's plenty sharp enough to do some serious damage.
27. World War II Russian Parade Sword
Bottom line: This World War II sword from Russia was one of the few on this list that was definitely not used. It's a shiny, fully nickeled parade sword. Parade swords were made for ceremonial purposes, used as part of dress uniforms at formal political events.
As much as the 32-inch blade looks like a real weapon, it was only designed for pomp and circumstance.
21. Chinese Imperial Qing Jian Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: Now here's a sword that really shows its age. It's clearly tarnished in places and the pommel fitting is loose, with wear on the scabbard as well.
It bears the Qianlong mark, however, indicating the sword was from the Qing dynasty, which ended in 1912.
For something so old, the value isn't in its beauty, but in its history.
21. German World War I Model 1860 Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: Dating back to World War I, this German bayonet was made in 1860. Unlike some of the larger swords, this one has a blade less than 20 inches long.
It was designed to be light enough to wield with one hand, and with a little TLC, it could be restored to working condition.
The scabbard doesn't fit as snuggly as it once did, but for a collector's piece, it's well worth the $2,500 it sold for.
21. Scottish Claymore Highland Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: Most Outlander fans only dream of getting their hands on a sword like this. An antique from the Scottish Highland, the huge, 36.5-inch sword has a handmade leather grip and the original, unrestored blade.
The scabbard features black-brown leather that matches the hilt, and the blade has an aged patina that adds to its beauty.
21. Nicholas II Russian Shashka Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: This unusual sword was made in 1903 in the Zlatoust factory in Russia. The blade has several markings on it, in addition to the unique ribbing on the hilt.
The blade was in excellent condition when it sold on eBay, as was the dark-brown leather scabbard that went with it.
21. 18-Century Austrian Hungarian Polish Collapsible Guard Cavalry Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: This 33-inch sword was likely made in Poland in the 18th century.
The large cavalry sword is engraved all along the blade, and its solid metal scabbard adds to its value even more.
21. Old Chinese 19-Century Polearm (Tie)
Bottom line: Little is known about this unusual weapon, other than that it was made in 19th-century China. The blade is huge, measuring nearly 40 inches in length, not including the hilt.
The sword's unique, curved design and ornate guard make this a treasure for any military collector.
20. British German Officer Cavalry Sword
Bottom line: The older an antique sword is, the more its worth. This one was made in 1788 for cavalry troopers. It was imported by J.J. Runkel and was used by the Hussar Regiment in the early 1800s.
The blade is 36 inches long, and the rare weapon came with its original leather-covered scabbard.
19. Yemenite Silver Jambiya Dagger
Bottom line: Jambiya daggers are from the Middle East, particularly Yemen. This is an excellent example of a Yemenite jambiya, featuring a curved scabbard and a heavy blade. Jambiya are often used to symbolize the transition from childhood to adulthood.
This one is highly ornate, with delicate filigree and wire inlays and an ornamented scabbard. All these details indicate the original owner was of high social status, and was likely very wealthy.
18. Antique Japanese Katana
Bottom line: This antique Japanese katana sword was forged by a master blacksmith named Kanetomo in the 1620s. The sword bears his signature, along with a Japanese script offering additional details about the blade's history.
Its cutting edge is about 27 inches long, making it a light, easy-to-use sword with a fascinating backstory.
17. Rare General Kyu Gunto Samurai Sword
Bottom line: The best antiques are those with a detailed history. This antique sword was made for use by Japanese army officers during World War II.
It features defined grooves down each side of the blade, along with detailed etchings and a tortoise-shell core, suggesting the sword was owned by a general.
Although the blade isn't signed, its age and workmanship point to an interesting background. It was likely designed by Japanese general Murata Tsuneyoshi as an experimental weapon.
16. Polished Nagamitsu Japanese Sword
Bottom line: Signed "Nagamitsu," this World War II Japanese Army officer's sword was made sometime in the 1940s. Nagamitsu was a prison warden known for teaching his sword-making craft to prisoners of war to pass the time.
His swords were some of the best made at the time, hand-forged and fully polished. The sword was miraculously kept in mint condition, with no scratches or pitting of the metal at all.
It even has a working lock mechanism.
15. 17th-Century Venetian Broadsword
Bottom line: Another large broadsword, this antique weapon was made in the 17th century in Venice, Italy. The basket at the bottom is loose, but that didn't stop one collector from shelling out $3,200 for it.
It measures 34 inches total, including a four-inch, ornate guard to protect the wielder's hands during battle.
13. World War II Japanese Officer's Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: Another sword from World War II, this smaller katana was signed "Bizen Kuni Ju Norimitsu." It was handmade, with a defined temper line and no nicks or scratches.
It's in such excellent condition that it was likely never used, but it's perfectly suited to being a display piece.
13. World War II Signed Masatada Katana Sword (Tie)
Bottom line: Unlike many antique weapons, this Japanese katana was signed and dated. It was made in 1943 by a swordsmith named Masatada for the Minatogawa Navy.
It was handmade, including a shark skin scabbard and a near-perfect blade. With just a few miniscule nicks, the 25.5-inch sword sold for over $3,000.
12. Japanese Stork Samurai Sword
Bottom line: Swords don't have to be giant to be lethal. This small, 20.5-inch sword came from a huge collection that was held in storage since the 1980s. The original collector traveled the world acquiring antique weapons for over 30 years, and this was one of the best items from his haul.
The Japanese short sword has a silver guard signed by the swordsmith and a shark skin grip. Even the scabbard is decorated with gold and bronze accents, and there are embossed storks along the handle.
11. Antique Polish Karabela Saber
Bottom line: Produced during the second half of the 18th century, this Polish sword has a broad, curved blade with a single edge. The hilt matches the signature Karabela style, with the grip secured to the blade using three steel rivets.
It was sold with its original wooden scabbard that was wrapped in handstitched leather. Even though it was made to be a working weapon, it looks more like a work of art.
10. American Civil War Confederate Sword
Bottom line: An antique sword from the American Civil War, this one comes with its own name: Hilt.
It was produced in 1864 for the Confederate Army, and the design matches the style that was popular at the time, with a decorative guard and 33-inch blade.
9. Signed Katsumitsu Katana Long Blade
Bottom line: If you haven't noticed, any signed Japanese samurai sword complete with a scabbard and the original blade is worth a hefty sum.
This 28-inch beauty went for nearly $4,000. It's hard to say why this one went for a higher price than some of the other similar swords, but auctions are unpredictable by nature.
8. World War II Japanese Shin Gunto Katana Sword
Bottom line: Some swords are used for decades, or even centuries, before being retired. This Koto Katana sword was made by a famous swordsmith named Bishu Sukesada in 1556, and was brought back from World War II. It was likely used during some of the Japanese civil wars in the 1500s as well.
The sword was appraised and given a near-mint condition rating. It was also signed by the maker and came with documentation confirming the blade's authenticity.
7. Russian Imperial Dragoon Saber Sword
Bottom line: Dragoons were a class of mounted infantry who rode horses for transportation, but dismounted to fight. This Russian Imperial dragoon saber sword was made in 1881, but it likely never saw battle.
The entire weapon remains in pristine condition, as unmarked as the day it was made.
6. Antique Hiroshige Samurai Sword
Bottom line: Unlike the previous antique sword mentioned, this rare samurai sword was definitely used. The 29.25-inch blade's edge is covered with nicks acquired during skirmishes in the Kanei period, from 1624 to 1644.
One eBay user stated that Hiroshinge was the maker of the sword, but it's difficult to say for sure with an item that's over 300 years old.
5. Japanese 15th Century Katana Sword
Bottom line: As a rule of thumb, the older an antique, the more it's worth. This antique Japanese katana was made in the 15th century, signed "Gassan Masamune."
The heavy-bladed sword has mountings that indicate it was produced in the late 1400s, but little else is known about it beyond its age. The weapon measured about 33 inches in length with a 24.5 inch blade.
4. 18th Century Scottish Basket Hilted Broadsword
Bottom line: This Scottish broadsword looks like something that would have been used by a Shakespeare character. It was made in the 1700s featuring a wide blade and a heavy hilt.
Despite being tarnished throughout, the sword sold for over $5,000.
3. Antique Polish or Hungarian Mace
Bottom line: This one doesn't count as a sword, but the antique weapon was too valuable not to mention. The ornate mace was likely made in the late 1600s in Poland, with a giant, bronze head and a small pommel. The shaft is made of wood and wrapped with brass tape for decoration.
Usually, maces like this one were used by high-ranking officers in battle. Its warm patina and crackling finish shows its age, but that only adds to its value.
2. Antique Polish Saxon Sword
Bottom line: Now here we have a sword for serious collectors only. It was dated 1704, and it was made for a Polish-Saxon infantry officer.
The small, double-edged blade was engraved and surmounted with a Saxon coat-of-arms. The hilt is made of bronze, with a double-shelled guard and a grip bound with finely braided bronze wire.
The pitting on the blade shows its age, but a piece like this really belongs in a museum rather than a private collection.
1. Silver Antique Sword and Scabbard from Sri Lanka
Bottom line: The most expensive antique sword we found was this one. It was made in Sri Lanka in the early 1800s, designed as a ceremonial sword rather than a battle sword. Its hilt is covered in silver and gold, and its scabbard is solid silver.
It was originally purchased in 1970 in Sri Lanka, and later appeared in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's "The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka" exhibit.