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How much is my antique sword worth?

The hobby of collecting antique swords is something that is best reserved to serious antique collectors and enthusiasts. With many auction houses selling antique swords and similar antique items at thousands of dollars in value, you know that this is a thriving market. Whether you are selling your pieces at an auction or via the internet, you are guaranteed to get a good price for an authenticated antique item as they are coveted by private antique collectors.

If you have vintage swords in your collection and would like to know how valuable they are before putting them out into the market, you can find everything you need to know here. By educating yourself about how antiques are valued, you stand a good chance of getting a lot of money for it.

What is the Origin of the Sword?

The origin of the antique sword is one factor that is evaluated by appraisers to know how much the item is worth. Swords are produced in all parts of the globe and across various points in history. They vary in design and materials used based on how they are intended to use. For instance, some antique swords are manufactured for fighting while others are designed for ornamental purposes.

One reason why it is important to trace the origin of an antique sword is to be able to identify it and to know when it is manufactured. These factors will provide you a clue into the rarity of this particular item in the sword collecting industry.

You can determine the origin of the sword based on the structure. Any structural peculiarity can be a good indicator of when it was made, who made it, and who it was made for. Only expert antique appraisers who are experienced in dealing with swords can study the blade, hand-guard, pommel, and other parts for its origin.

Types of Antique Swords

When talking about antique swords, there are plenty of types out there in the market. It takes an expert to be able to identify each type and know the difference in their corresponding value. If you want to get the best appraisal for each sword that is in your possession, you need to get familiar with what type of sword you have.

For your guidance, here are the general types of swords in the market:

  • Asian Swords – There are several types of Asian swords that are in the antique collectibles market. But the most popular ones are the Japanese swords, Chinese swords, and Ninja swords. Japanese swords are the ones used by the Japanese samurai warriors, with katana being one of the most popular ones in the market. Most of the Japanese swords were made in the 12th century but you can also find ones that originate back in 900 AD. Chinese swords, on the other hand, were made mostly of bronze and the oldest types date back to 500 BC.
  • European Swords – There are many types of swords that are attributed to be of European origin. Some of these antique swords were used during the Dark Age and Vikings era, Renaissance era, Medieval swords, sabers, and scimitars. Scimitar is a type of sword that originated in the Middle East. It is a single-blade sword that is curved and comes with a sharp point. It was heavily used during the Ottoman Empire.
  • Other types of antique swords that are coveted by private collectors are as follows: TV and movie swords, anime swords, and fantasy swords.

How Old is the Sword?

When talking about antique pieces such as vintage swords, the age of the item is one thing you cannot afford to overlook. In fact, it heavily influences the cost of a vintage sword. The general rule is this: the older the sword, the more expensive it is.

There are many factors examined by expert appraisers to determine the age of an antique sword. The presence of any markings that would indicate the date of manufacture is one. Meanwhile, the style and design are some of the things that can only be evaluated by experts.  

What is the Condition of the Sword?

An old sword that is in a pretty bad condition won’t be worth anything (or at least, not as much as it is supposed to). Hence, it is also important to look into the condition of an antique sword if you are going to have it evaluated by an appraiser.

The condition of a sword refers to the overall state of the item. Are there any visible damages? Does it have any imperfections that cannot be repaired? Minor chips or damages to the body of the sword are acceptable; it is a good indicator of the sword’s wear and tear. But when the blade itself is damaged, this can have an impact in the value of the sword (specifically, resulting in a decrease in its value).

Condition could also refer to the completeness of the sword, such as the presence (or lack) of any basic parts to the sword.

Is there a historical significance?

The historical significance or provenance of the sword can cause its value to increase significantly. For example, you have two swords that are similar in age, style, and condition. However, one of the swords are previously owned by a historical figure or was used in battle during significant moments in history. The one that was owned by a historical figure is going to be higher in value than the one without any historical significance.

The impact of an antique sword’s historical significance to its overall market value is only as good as if you could provide a document to prove it. The lack of document to prove its history would mean a reduction in price. If you can provide a photo of the actual sword used by its previous owner, then that would bring up to 50% increase in its value.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for an antique sword is not as easy as caring for other antique pieces you might have. It is one of those specialty items that are collected by antique enthusiasts. Therefore, you need to take note of how you can best preserve its quality and condition.

If you have a stainless steel ornamental sword, they are able to resist rust effectively. Hence, there is no need to clean them thoroughly – a clean piece of dry cloth would be enough. This is for the ornamental swords, though. If you have functional swords, those are the ones prone to rust since they are made with carbon and spring steel. It is ideal to coat the blade with grease in order to fight off the rust, especially if you are going to store it for a long time.

Appraising Antique Swords 

Curious to know how much your antique swords are worth? Do not just trust any appraiser - make sure they are fully certified and licensed. Mearto offers a wide range of antique experts that can evaluate your antique swords for value. Get in touch with us to learn more about the value of your antique sword or militaria items. 

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Answer a few simple questions and upload images of your item.

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Mearto evaluates hundreds of similar items each month.

Would You Like to Sell Your antique sword?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your antique sword based on its current fair market value:

Customers with antique sword expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with antique sword valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your antique sword through Mearto, please click here.


Lindsey Bourret is the Managing Director at Mearto. In addition to overseeing the daily operations of the business, she also enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of the fine art and antiques market with our customers through our website, blog, e-newsletter and social media accounts.

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