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LAWSON & CO recently had a specialty auction including some fine swords. The reasons people collect swords vary. These valiant weapons are sought to add to a collection or maybe just to own a piece of history. As with many historical collectibles, there is a lot to learn about swords. Here is some information that will be helpful to get you started.

Parts of a Sword


First, let’s talk about the basic parts of a sword. The two main parts of a sword are the blade and the hilt. Swords are often accompanied by accessories such as a scabbard, sword belt or tassel. The more you know, the more you will appreciate swords and want to know more.


Blades on swords


Sword blades are either single- or double-edged and meant to cut, thrust or both. Sword blades are precise instruments, and each section is crafted for a specific purpose. Let’s look at the different parts:

  • The edge is the sharpened part of the blade used for slashing.
  • The tip is the sharp end of the sword tapered to a point and used for thrusting.
  • The back is the blade part opposite to the edge.
  • Flats are what the sides of the blade are called.
  • The fuller is the groove running along the sword to decrease the weight without losing strength.
  • The ricasso is the short, unsharpened blade section found on some swords, just before the guard to provide for added grip.


The sword’s hilt


The hilt is where a sword is held. It consists of the guard, grip and pommel, made from leather, wood or wire.

  • The pommel is at the end of the sword where it is held. Often decorative like a finial, It acts as a counterweight and it prevents the sword from sliding out of your hand.
  • The grip is the section where the swordsman holds the weapon. Wrapped with leather or made from wood, it fits the hand.
  • The cross guard is the metal part perpendicular to the blade that protects the hand from the opponent.
  • The sword is held within the hilt with a tang, which is the hidden part of the blade running up through the hilt and not visible.


Accessories for swords


There are several accessories for swords. Although they can be finely made and decorative, accessories also have purpose.

  • A scabbard is a protective holder for the blade made from wood, leather, steel or brass.
  • A sword belt is used to carry a sword. Over-the-shoulder belts are called baldrics.
  • The tassel is a decorative woven material wraps around the hand to prevent dropping the weapon.


History of Swords


Swords have played a huge part in the history of the world. Through the ages swords evolved, not only in materials used, shapes, and styles, but different groups had different types of swords. That being said, swords were weapons for all.

Here are some of the most popular types of swords bought by collectors:

  • The Falchion is a heavy, short sword from the 13-15th century often used by European knights.
  • A Longsword is a double-edged blade that measures 44-50 inches and was produced in Germany and Switzerland during the 15th and 16th It is also called Bastard Sword and Hand and a Half Sword because its handle length is 10 to 15 inches. Used for thrusting, cutting, and close contact battle, these swords have sold for up to $40,000.
  • The Greatsword is a large sword meant to be used double handed. Although it is a very large sword, it was used for close contact fighting in the 16th and 17th The blade is 50 to 72 inches, the handle ranges from 18 to 21 inches and in all it weighs between 6 to 10 pounds.
  • The Broadsword is a term used for the double-edged military sword from the 17th to the 19th Measuring from 30 to 45 inches, it was used for cutting off limbs – of people, not trees.
  • A Rapier was used in the 16th and 17th This sword is a lightweight double-edged blade with a thick cross section for fencing, thrusting and dueling. The sword became known as the Gentleman’s Sword or Walking Sword in the 19thCentury and was used to signify military rank or an officer’s class.
  • A Cutlass is not only a car, but a basic standard sword made in different styles and used in naval conflicts. A Cavalry Saber was made for battle in the 19th to early 20th This sword has a curved blade used during the Napoleonic Wars, US Civil War, World War I and World War II. A British 1908 Pattern cavalry trooper sword form World War 1 has a value of about $165 to $345 today.
  • The last two historical swords are the infantry officer’s sword and artillery swords. These swords can be found in the range of $150 to $276. The artillery swords were given to sergeants and musicians of infantry regiments.


Do you fancy swords?


Although swords were weapons of battle, they were also historically influenced and many crafted by fine artisans. Some owners had their names engraved as well as dates and battles they survived. Swords meant a great deal to their owners, representing gallantry, skill, and courage. Collectors appreciate the craftsmanship, the history, and the pride that is evident in every sword they find.

When purchasing a sword – from a dealer or at auction, it is important to look for these factors:

  • affordability
  • condition
  • originality
  • provenance
  • and whether the sword is a reproduction or an original.

That is why it is important to deal with reliable and trustworthy dealers and auction houses. In Central Indiana, you can trust LAWSON & CO for sword auction and appraisal needs. Watch our auction calendar listings for all sorts of collectibles and surprises. We often have specialty auctions that focus on specific items such as firearms, glassware, antiques, swords, art, or even fishing or farm equipment. If you have a collection to pare down, give us a call at (317) 745-6404.

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