When talking about Medieval history, the first thing that comes into our mind is its glorious battle. And one thing without which Medieval battles remain incomplete is the magnificent swords used on the battlefield.
Although swords were initially devised for army purposes, later, people started using them for their personal needs and enemies.
However, weapons used in the Middle age battlefield have a different value than ordinary ones. It is their relation to history as well as to the renowned historical figures that set them apart.
Today, I will share with you such kind of the 10 most expensive medieval swords that have been under the care of historical weapons collectors or have been preserved at museums for ages.
Katana is a curved as well as a single-edged dagger. It is a traditional Japanese sword that was widely used by the Japanese samurai back in the 13th century.
Katana is one of the most expensive longswords constructed with the highest quality materials. The original Katanas are very rare, especially possessed by the kings and royal family members.
Because of their rarity, about 125 of these kinds of daggers were declared Juyoung Abazai in their country of origin. The term Juyoung Abazai means that Japan declared the exportation or sale of these Katanas illegal. Therefore, at present, they are put on display at museums.
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After the Death of the sword collector Dr. Walter Ames Compton, about 1100 of his collected Japanese swords were auctioned off. On that day the whole collection was sold for about $8 million.
Among those weapons, the 13th century Kamakura Katana alone fetched $418,000. It was purchased by a European gentleman named Mr. Inami. Today this is considered the most expensive Katana sword ever sold at auction.
Horatio Nelson, popularly known as Admiral Nelson, was the Vice-Admiral, alternatively stated, the flag officer of the Royal Navy of British.
Nelson’s Battle of Trafalgar Sword was detected in 2001 in a hidden trunk that belongs to his closest friend Alexander Davison. Apart from this sword, the trunk further contains Nelson’s thousands of documents, jewels, medals, and weaponry.
Reportedly, Nelson willed all his mentioned belongings to Davison on May 10, 1803. Thenceforth, all these articles together with the sword were under Alexander’s care for nearly 200 years.
After being discovered, in 2002 the dagger was auctioned at Sotheby’s London, where it fetched about 2 million pounds or $541,720. It is Nelson’s fame alone that fetched the sword such a high price. At present, the weapon is on exhibition at the Nelson Museum.
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The grip of the sword resembles ivory. Its blade is made from high carbon spring steel. The height of the blade is about 32.5″ and overall it is a sword of 39.5″ along with the sheath.
By all accounts, this talwar belonged to the 17th Century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Reportedly, it was crafted in 1637 or 1638 when Shah Jahan was in his 10th regnal period.
The sword is decked with overlaid gold decoration and it contains inlaid gold epigraphs as well.
This slightly curved dagger is further embellished with lotuses and poppies that represent the powerful history of the particular emperor. Although the weapon’s estimated value was 60,000 pounds, nevertheless it fetched a whopping $717,800 at Sotheby’s, in 2007.
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So the story goes, this elegant knife once belonged to the king Qianlong who was the 6th monarch of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty.
The blade of this hunting knife is completely made out of gold while its handle is composed of rare antelope horns. At the bottom of the hilt, there are two secret holes or compartments to keep chopsticks and a toothpick. It is assumed that the Swiss Army Knife is constructed by drawing inspiration from this sword.
Anyways, rhinoceros horn has been used to craft the dagger’s scabbard. It is inlaid with turquoise, azure, and coral and further decorated with six dragons, floating through clouds over the waves.
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th president of the United States, serving the country from 1869 to 1877. Before his presidency, Ulysses was the Commanding General of the United States Army who conducted the Union Army in the American Civil War.
In 1864, when Grant was certified as the General in Chief of the United States’ Union Armies, the countrymen of Kentucky presented him this special sword as a token of their estimation. The Kentucky patriots assigned the task of crafting this gorgeous dagger to silversmith St. Louis and gem dealer Henry Folsom.
I can not but mention that Ulysses S. Grant was the second person of the country after George Washington, who had been promoted to that position of command.
Anyway, the sword is ornamented with 26 twinkling diamonds, set in a way that points out Ulysses S. Grant’s initials: U.S.G. The monogram is set on a bluish-purple color quartz viz amethyst.
The dagger is wholly crafted with silver and gold. The silver grip is designed in the shape of the goddess Victory. There is an American eagle that surmounts the goddess’ head. The 33-inch blade contains inscribed battle scenes, signifying Ulysses’ command over the entire armed forces.
In 2007, Dallas’ Heritage Auctions sold the dagger for a staggering $1.6 Million.
The maker of the “Gem of The Orient” was an American prestigious custom knifemaker named Buster Warenski. The blacksmith became famous when he replicated the dagger of King Tut. Although Buster Warenski initially used to make knives for others, shortly after he started manufacturing items for his knife shop.
The Gem of The Orient is a part of Buster’s second batch of knives viz “Legacy Knives”. This knife possesses a blade of Damascus steel-like material. It features a jade handle with 28 ounces of gold overlay.
Furthermore, this most expensive knife contains 153 emeralds weighing 10 karats and 9 Diamonds of 5 karats, that are set to ornate the gold filigree. Warenski spent over ten years to finish this precious dagger.
The sword initially fetched $1.2 million. Later the new owner auctioned the knife off at a whopping $2.1 million.
If you don’t know who Shah Jahan is, let me introduce him to you briefly.
Shah Jahan was the 5th Mughal emperor, reigning between 1628- 1658. Although the king is popularly known as Shah Jahan, his actual name was Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram.
However, his ruling period is recognized as the golden age of the Mughal. If you don’t know, it is Shah Jahan himself who constructed the Taj Mahal in India as a symbol of his love for his beloved spouse Mumtaz Mahal.
Well, Shah Jahan’s gold-encrusted personal dagger was the part of an assemblage of the late Jacques Desenfans, a Belgian collector of Southeast Asian armor, weapons, and pottery.
The epigraph on the dagger contains the emperor’s name and title. There is also an indication of the weapon’s manufacturing place and date. The data suggests that the sword was made in 1630 for the king’s 39th birth anniversary.
Furthermore, the blade has an inscribed parasol carrying over the head of a monarch. The emblem of the parasol symbolizes the dome of heaven and its position over the ruler’s head signifies Shah Jahan’s sublime status.
In 2008, the dagger was auctioned at Bonham, an auction house of London’s international fine arts. Reportedly, an anonymous buyer purchased the sword for $3.3 million.
Apparently originating from North Africa, the ear dagger weapon had the greatest contributions to the Nasrid period. Before introducing to England, the sword was extensively used by Spanish people during the 15th and 16th centuries.
The ear dagger sword features a double-sided blade with medial ridges on both sides. If I say precisely, this sword has sharp edges on either side. The blade’s length is about 210mm, and altogether it is a sword of 350mm.
The blade forte and grip strap are finely ornamented with gold-coated hunting scenes along with 7 cartouches carrying Kufic engravings. The hunting scene contains a human figure with a crossbow, chasing numerous animals. The grip scales are inscribed with geometrical figures and locked with four brass rivets.
The hilt has two circular pommels, with carved inscriptions, that take after human ears. And from these ears like pommels, the sword gets its name.
The sword fetched $6 million at an auction in 2010.
Before the Boateng Saber, this sword of Napoleon Bonaparte had dominated the sword auction headlines as the world’s most expensive sword.
The sword is beautifully designed and crafted with stunning detail. Moreover, both the case and handle of this weapon are gold encrusted.
Reportedly, Napoleon used this weapon in a battle before he became the emperor of France. The renowned historical figure was a famous military commander when he made use of this sword at the war of Marengo in 1800.
After the battle, the historical sword was kept under the custody of the Bonaparte family for nearly two centuries. Later in 2007, it appeared in a French auction and was sold for $6.5 million. Although its estimated value was $1.6 million, its relation to Napoleon Bonaparte alone enhances the price of this gorgeous piece of art.
However, at that auction, an anonymous woman purchased this sword to gift her husband who himself was Napoleon’s descendant. Apparently, the reason behind auctioning this sword off was the conflict within the Bonaparte family, where a portion of the family expressed disagreement to sell it.
Let’s move the last as well the top most expensive dagger in the world.
Price: $7.7 million
It is the medieval weapon Boateng Saber that is dominating today’s sword auction headlines as the world’s most expensive sword.
The dagger was manufactured for a Chinese king between 1736 and 1795. In that era, the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty named king Qianlong was ruling over China. And the style and design of this 18th-century backsword were entirely fashioned by that particular Chinese leader.
This S-shaped weapon is equipped with a handle made out of a very hard white color stone viz Jade. Plus, the steel-made blade is furnished with 3 of the most high-priced metals such as copper, gold, and silver.
The Boateng Saber appeared at auction twice. First, in 2006 the sword fetched $5.93 million, and later in 2008, it was sold for $7.7 million. What contributes to its high value is its rarity, quality, craftsmanship, and costly metals.
Frequently Asked Question
What is the deadliest sword?
According to the majority, the Gladius Hispaniensis, popularly known as the Roman Gladius, is the deadliest sword in history.
The Gladius Hispaniensis is a Spanish dagger that was first used by the Iberian tribes during the Punic Wars in the 3rd century BCE.
At that time, the sword caught the attention of the Roman legionaries for the first time, and later it became their standard sword.
The sword is composed of iron. It has a double-edged blade of about 25 inches with a V-shaped tip. Furthermore, the dagger comes with a wooden handle that is covered with silver sheeting. In the hilt, there are four deep grooves, providing a better grip. Finally, there is a knob at the end of the hilt that comes in a hemispherical shape.
Every sword represents a historical period as well as its user’s personality. Therefore, by reading our article on the most expensive swords, I hope, apart from the specific daggers, you get a broad idea of their owner as well as historical contexts.
About Dawson Kutch
Dawson Kutch is a born and raised Alaskan who loves the outdoors and everything it has to offer. Kutch has been an avid hunter and fisher his entire life, and takes great pride in providing for himself and his family. While he enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, Kutch also has a passion for fashion and loves to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In his free time, Kutch enjoys spending time with his wife and one young daughter. He is always looking to learn more and better himself, both as a writer and as a person.