If you're interested in military history, there are few collectibles more artistic or exciting than military swords. The sword has been an integral part of military uniforms and battles as far back as history records. It represents military conflict at its most basic as well as its evolution through time.
To get you started collecting military swords, here are a few steps.
Learn About Swords
Sword types are about as numerous as the number of countries, armies, and divisions. Each has unique elements and a place in history. Start by learning the basic parts of a sword, if you aren't already familiar.
For instance, does the sword have a straight edge or a curved edge? Curved blades are generally rapiers or sabers, both of which are more ceremonial in nature than straight-edged blades. A military sword with a hilt may indicate a newer design than one without the protection for the soldier's hand.
The more you learn the specifics of sword construction, the more you can identify swords from your favorite time periods or military branches. You'll be able to notice the signs that indicate a sword was a ceremonial blade used for uniform purposes and those that indicate a sword probably saw combat. You can also identify reproductions and originals.
Determine Your Interests
Collections serve two purposes for most collectors: investment and personal interest. As a new collector, you may not be purchasing or selling highly valuable investor items yet. So make your new collection more about your own interests. Why?
First, you will enjoy the process of collecting more if you love what you collect. Are you interested in distant history, or are you more intrigued by recent battles? If you are mostly interested in the Civil War, you may not be as motivated to keep this hobby by purchasing Vietnam era hardware.
Do you have a personal connection to any branch of the military? Then why not make these early days more about your passion than about the pieces themselves? Make the collection valuable to you.
Secondly, if you are more interested in what you do collect, you will learn more and boost your skill at adding more valuable and unique items to the collection as you go. You may learn tricks, such as recognizing naval swords by the design differences due to being around saltwater for so much of their lives. These are skills you'll develop as you research items that you're genuinely interested in.
Narrow Your Focus
As with any collection, beginners do well to start out with a firm focus or an end goal in mind. This focus could be even more narrow that your field of interest. You may want to collect all the swords from a certain branch of the US military, for instance, such as ceremonial officers' sabers as well as noncommissioned officers' sabers.
Or, you may want to focus on a specific level in all the military divisions — like officers' swords from the Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines. This makes it easy to complete a full set of something and provides good ways to compare and contrast artifacts.
You aren't limited to this focus, but it helps define your purchases. Of course, if you find a particular deal on a particular sword, there's no reason you can't go outside your parameters for something with historical or sentimental value. But you shouldn’t get sidetracked from your objectives — which is a common problem for new collectors.
On the other hand, if you find that you become fascinated by something beyond your original collecting goals, that's okay too. Collecting is a fluid hobby, and there's nothing wrong with starting out collecting Civil War sabers but winding up interested in British swords from the Revolutionary war.
Start your military sword collection today with a visit to the selection at Pierre's Collectibles. We can help you find your focus and learn more about the gear you want to collect. And then you can get back to building a collection worthy of its source material.