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Sabers, like swords, are popular among antique collectors. They are often collected by serious enthusiasts of antiques, especially those who seek after items with historical significance. Although frequently faked (or made into replicas), they are still highly sought after since you can find many authentic sabers in the market with some even dating back to the early centuries.
The saber is a traditional weapon for the cavalryman even in the gunpowder era. The cavalry saber was carried into action and in many battles after it became obsolete by the time firearms were used for battles and wars. But despite the fact that it has been replaced as the weapon of choice during battles, sabers continue to be in use. Today, it is used as dress swords for infantry officers. It is therefore highly linked to military fashion even when it is merely carried or used in action.
Hence, sabers are among the most prized possessions for those who are into collecting military items and weapons.
How much is an antique saber worth? This is the biggest question on anyone’s mind who owns an antique item, especially a collectible item like sabers. The first thing you need to do is to check for authenticity. You can verify the authenticity of the antique saber by visual inspection. You will learn more in the succeeding section about how to validate the authenticity of antique sabers.
These are the five factors used by expert appraisers to determine the value of collectible sabers:
Origin: The history of saber manufacturing dates back to thousands of years ago. Hence, they were manufactured with varying designs, usage, and importance. The origin of the saber can have a huge impact on its market value. You can determine the origin of a saber through its structure – specifically with the help of structural peculiarities. Check the style of the blade, hand guard, pommel, and scabbard. These can provide clues to the origin of the saber.
Type: The type of antique saber is also linked to its origin. Hence, it is an important consideration when trying to know its value in the market. Different types of sabers command different prices. The type of the saber can also be linked to how rare it is. Some types can be rare to find and are therefore more valuable.
Age: The age of an antique saber will also affect its value. In general, older sabers will be worth more than those that are manufactured at a later date. Determining the age of an antique saber is like tracing its origin too – it can be tricky. Specific markings, design elements, and styles can point you to a close approximation of the age of the saber. But unless there is an actual marking of the manufacturing date and maker, you will only be able to arrive at an approximation.
Condition: The condition of an antique saber will be easy to assess even without the help of an antique expert. You will be able to determine the overall condition by merely looking at it. Are there any parts missing? What is the condition or level of wear for the remaining parts? Is it still in usable condition? These are the factors to consider when you are looking at condition as a determiner of an antique’s value.
History: The historical significance of an antique saber is the hardest to determine and evaluate. You will need a professional appraiser to validate any potential story associated with an antique item. If the item is a family heirloom, its history might be easier to trace. Provenance is most important when evaluating the worth of antique militaria items because it plays a significant role in its overall value (not just in terms of monetary aspect).
If you think that buying antique saber is easy, think again. The market is proliferated with replica sabers and swords. To the untrained eye, it is difficult to distinguish the difference between the fake from the real one.
The metallurgy of the blade is the first thing that will distinguish a real vintage saber from one that is a replica. The type of material used on the blade will vary according to the purpose of the saber. Battle sabers are typically made from carbon steel. Meanwhile, decorative sabers are made with stainless steel materials. Carbon steel is more durable than stainless steel; the latter can break easily when it comes into contact with hard substances (such as other types of sabers). For this reason, they are used for ornamental sabers only. Beware about carbon steel-bladed sabers too as some are not heat-treated and forged, which means it is not a real sword too.
The construction and durability is also taken into account when determining the value of collectible sabers. This can be determined by examining the parts of the saber closely. Check the blade, tang, and the handle. Ideally, go for full tang sabers as the tang is long enough to keep the blade in place when attempting to strike with the sword. Otherwise, the blade could fly into the air, which is very dangerous. A tight assembly of the hand guard and collar are also signs of quality construction.
Finally, an authentic saber should be light. A heavy sword would be difficult to wield and strike with. The ideal weight of a saber should be no more than five pounds.
To make it clear, here are the three distinctive properties that are found in real sabers:
To get the highest valuation on your antique saber, giving it proper care and maintenance is a must. Sabers, like swords, are prone to deterioration when not properly stored or cared for. To prevent that from happening, you must take saber maintenance seriously.
The first and most important rule to remember when caring for an antique saber is to NOT attempt to sharpen it. In particular, this should not be attempted by anyone without prior knowledge on sharpening a sword. If you do this, it will significantly decrease the value of the saber. It is best to leave that to professionals or learn how to it right first before you attempt it on your collectible sabers.
Serious collectors also have their own sword cleaning kit. If you plan to collect sabers for yourself or to sell later, it is a wise investment. The items in the kit are designed to care for the sensitive nature of the blade without compromising quality. For keeping the blade clean, you need to use the one that is contained within the saber cleaning kit. Avoid using any type of oil or metal polishers as it can lead to irreparable damage. In addition, it can decrease the value of the saber.
Need to have your antique sabers appraised? We have expert appraisers at Mearto with an expertise on militaria collectibles, such as rifles and sabers. You can present photos of your antique items or have it physically evaluated so it can be verified for authenticity and value.