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Antique Weaponry

Thursday, 23 April 2009

antique weaponryAntique weapons are acquired to serve for various purposes, as a decorative element of the styled interior, unique present to investments or for creation of major collection. Criteria to collect antique weaponry depend on welfare and taste of a human being and it is hard to say what exact kind of weaponry wins high esteem.

The weapon is far more reliable than any currency, in the opinion of the qualified collectors since investments into weapons provide from 10 to 30% of annual profit. Still, investments into weaponry are made by few well-to-do aesthetes because the increasing market of antique weaponry is quite random.

One should not be a billionaire to go in for collecting antique weaponry since the cost of such a weapon comes from 300 dollars and the highest point is very far under the skies, and everything depends on the kind of weapon which is assessed for its exclusive characteristics.

Thus, a dueling pair of guns of the late XIX century costs 3000 to 5000 dollars. An army 45-caliber Automatic Colt Pistol (series number 1 of 1873 issue) was recorded into the Guinness Book of World Records for it was sold at Christie's Auction in 1987 for USD 242 000. In view of the above we see that the expert value is either approved or disproved by the auction only.

If you consider the time relation, then it is easier to acquire the samples of the second half of the XIX and beginning of XX century. If you want to have a gun of XVIII century, you have to take pains and pay a fortune though the cost of more ancient models will come to dozens of thousand USD.

If you think of armor that is recently in vogue to decorate ‘knight halls' in the houses of the well-off, then the cost of them at the international auctions varies from 100000 dollars since they are in great demand, while the amount of really ancient models remaining is few.

The cost of the old-time sabre fluctuates from five to three hundred thousand dollars providing that famous warriors and commanders did not touch the blade, and if it is documented the cost of the sample will increase to incredible sizes.

Thus, in 2007 at the French auction Napoleon's saber of about one meter long and rich incrusted in flowery  patterns in eastern style, was primarily assessed by experts for the amount of 1,6 million dollars and that sword was sold for 6,5 million dollars at the auction.

This saber of more than two hundred years belonged to the great commander long before he became an Emperor. The weapon was sold to the foreign purchaser but since the sword was the national property of France, and the new owner was put to liability to bring it to the country once a year for at least six months.

Collectors pay a thorough attention to the weaponry manufactured in the East that was always richly incrusted with gems, gilding, engraving and carving. Such luxury works of art cost far more expensive. Katana (Japanese sword), Tanto (Japanese fighting knife) and Keris (steel dagger with snake-like blade) were finely ornamented with precious stones and were often made from precious metals. By the way, an antique steel sword of special hardening costs far more expensive in this case then all the jewels and gems used for this ornament.

Very popular model as examples of Hong Kong auctions at Sotheby's named as ‘Qianlong - Sovereign, Warrior, Patron'. Ceremonial Chinese saber of the eighteenth century with the handle made from carved nephrite was sold for USD 5 935 476 to the Chinese businessman, though its start price was USD 1,5 million upon the expert assessments. This is the highest price for cold arms from China throughout the entire history of Sotheby's. In the epoch of the Emperor Tsyanlun (1736-1796 годы) sabers similar to this weapon poetically named as ‘Flying Treasure' was made in ninety items but it did not come to auctions for sale.

Just for information; the cold weapon manufactured in the East is considered as better in many aspects unlike the European. The Arab weapon, particularly famous among the collectors Isfahan swords and Japanese cold weapon, won the popularity due to perfect quality of style and finish. The works of art of European gunsmiths was perfected mainly at single models of highly artistic and valuable weapon the cost of which was too high to be afforded by few solvent persons.

In a word, collection of the antique weaponry is an interesting and excitable occupation that reveals passion of the holder to guns that can be available in any form, from head of Scythian spears and Italian war hatchets ‘fashi' to armament of Japanese ninja and signal canons. The permanent is only one thing - it allows the bearer to feel himself a Man from capital letter and to please himself.

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