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Thread: Old Family Sword

  1. #1

    Old Family Sword

    I inherited an old family sword from my Grandmother, who has deep roots in Viriginia. I was told the sword is from the Civil War, but I think it might be from earlier. Can anyone help me with identification of what I have and perhaps the value? I have no intention of selling, but would be nice to know. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Nipmuc USA
    Hi Jamie,

    Welcome To Sword Forum International

    The sword is from before the American Civil War. The maker/cutler was Frederick Widmann of Philadelphia, who passed on in 1848. This form is regarded in the books as a Type VI Widmann and was from the later period before his death. No later than 1848 The grip was most likely twisted wire. Others of this type are also found with mother of pearl with brass spacers and bound also with wire. Those now showing bare wood, would have been thinner though to allow the other grips. So, it is most likely just missing the wire. I cannot clearly make out the mark on the blade but could it be a crowned king figure? Some had very fancy blades but your's appears to have been scrubbed off of its blue&gilt, or was always just a plainer service type blade.

    Widmann was one of many Philadelphia cutlers but is perhaps one of the most remembered for his different eaglehead pommel swords. There are some very distinctive traits to his work and the influence continued throughout the rest of the 19th century. There were many of this general style that carried on for decades.

    Without period correspondence or a picture of the sword being used in the civil war, there is really no proof that it was. It certainly existed during that period and there is the possibility but it was more of the Mexican war period. A fair number of the type were also presented to veterans of that war of the 1840s. It may be a good research project on your own to look at family history and military records.

    We do not offer up valuations and that is covered in a post above this discussion ^^^^^. Please read the guidelines for participation in this section.


    Hotspur; a search for Widmann in this section will bring up several discussions
    Last edited by Glen C.; 07-05-2011 at 11:15 AM.

  3. #3


    Glen - thanks so much for the info. So refreshing to hear some expert analysis after years of stories from family members. Thanks, too, for the valuation guidance; as a new member I am learning my way about!

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