12 most expensive swords & daggers ever sold


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From the courts of emperors to the battlefields of history, swords have long symbolized power, honor, and craftsmanship. As collectors vie for these treasured relics, a select few have gained legendary status, not only for their historical significance but also for their astronomical price tags. Dive into the world of the most expensive swords ever auctioned, where history and opulence merge in gleaming steel.

Image Credit: Chron.

10. Shah Jahan’s Indian Talwar: $717,800

Christie’s took center stage in 2007 when they auctioned a historic talwar once wielded by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor renowned for commissioning the Taj Mahal. Originating from A.H.1047 / A.D. 1637-8, this watered steel blade is celebrated not just for its intricate design but also for its link to one of Mughal India’s most prominent rulers. The auction culminated in a successful bid of $717,800.

Image Credit: christies.com.

9. Qianlong Imperial Hunting Knife: $1.2 Million

Representing the epitome of imperial grandeur, the Qianlong Imperial Hunting Knife from the Qing dynasty stands as a testament to the Qianlong Emperor’s penchant for luxury. Adorned with an antelope horn hilt and a rhinoceros horn scabbard accentuated by turquoise cabochons, this relic saw spirited bidding before it was finally secured for a whopping $1.2 million in 2009 at Sothebys.  It was the first weapon of its kind to sell for over $1 million.

Image Credit: sothebys.com.

8. Ulysses S. Grant’s Civil War Presentation Sword – $1.6 million

A beacon of valor from the American Civil War era, this sword was presented to Ulysses S. Grant. It was crafted by a renowned silversmith from St. Louis in collaboration with jeweler Henry Folsom. Along its length, 26 mine-cut diamonds spell out the U.S.G. monogram, flanked by the poised figure of the goddess Victory and an eagle with outstretched wings dominating the grip. This piece of artistry is more than just a weapon; it’s a tribute to a war hero and later President. In 2007, the sword fetched a whopping $1.6 million at the Heritage Auction house, echoing the exquisite detail and craftsmanship typically seen in the world’s most luxurious pens.

Image Credit: Heritage Auctions.

7. Ceremonial Sword of the Nizam of Hyderabad – $1.9 million

The illustrious Nizams of Hyderabad, who held dominion from 1724 to 1948, were not only famed for their vast dominions but also for their unparalleled treasure troves. Among their prized possessions was a magnificent ceremonial sword, emblematic of their military might and grandeur during royal marches. Embedded with a dazzling array of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies, this masterpiece features an intricately inscribed steel blade, a hilt of pure gold, and elegant silver mountings. Echoing the rich craftsmanship of South India in the late 19th century, this ornate weapon fetched a staggering $1.9 million at Christie’s.

Image Credit: christies.com.

6. The Gem of the Orient Knife: $2.1 million

Buster Warenski, the legendary American knife artisan, unveiled his magnum opus in 1966: the “Gem of the Orient.” An epitome of luxury, this unparalleled masterpiece was meticulously adorned with 9 shimmering diamonds and 153 radiant emeralds embedded in its handle. A further testament to its opulence, the knife was crafted using a hefty 32 oz. of 18k gold for both its blade and handle. Its unsurpassed beauty and craftsmanship even graced the cover of Blade Magazine in August 1991. The Gem of the Orient isn’t just a knife, but a symbol of artistic brilliance, celebrated for its innovation, attention to detail, and intricate design. While its initial sale price is believed to be around $1.2 million, its value escalated in subsequent transactions, with rumors of it fetching a staggering $2.1 million in a later dea

Image Credit: Sean McGrath.

5. Shah Jahan’s Personal Dagger: $3.3 Million

Embodying the grandeur of one of the most celebrated Mughal Emperors, Shah Jahan’s personal dagger is nothing short of a masterpiece. Esteemed not just for its historical significance but also for its unparalleled craftsmanship, this dagger fetched a staggering $3.3 million. Every inch of this weapon tells a story of royalty, with intricate carvings, precious gem inlays, and exquisite metalwork that echoes the majesty of the Mughal dynasty.

Image Credit: christies.com.

4. 15th-Century Nasrid Period Ear-Dagger: $5.9 million

The Nasrid period ear-dagger is an exceptional emblem of a bygone era, intricately crafted and steeped in history.  Boasting distinctive large circular ears, the Nasrid period ear-dagger from Spain stands out with a whopping valuation of approximately $5.9 million. Reflecting the legacy of the Nasrids, Spain’s last Muslim dynasty, this dagger bears testimony to their rule in Granada from 1238 to 1492. However, there’s an aura of mystery surrounding its origins, with some speculating it might have been a pseudo-Arab regalia fashioned after the Nasrid era. It showcases intricate Arabic and Latin inscriptions on its characteristic ears and boasts hunting scenes masterfully portrayed in gold overlay on both its blade and grip. Particularly striking is the depiction on its forte: a figure, crossbow in hand, in pursuit of a diverse set of animals, including a lion – a probable symbolic nod to the powerful Christian Kingdom of Castile-Leon, which played a pivotal role in the Muslim south’s downfall.

Image Credit: sothebys.com.

3. Napoleon Bonaparte’s Gold-Encrusted Sword: $6.4 million

Valued at a breathtaking $6.4 million,  Napoleon Bonaparte’s sword doesn’t just represent financial worth, but an unbroken thread running through the tapestry of French history.  Wielded by the French emperor himself, in 1800 at the pivotal Battle of Marengo, this sword saw Napoleon drive the Austrian forces from Italy’s expanse, cementing not only a decisive victory but also consolidating his burgeoning grip over France. It wasn’t just a symbol of his martial prowess but became emblematic of a turning point in his journey to power, which culminated in his coronation as emperor in 1804.

This wasn’t merely a weapon of war, but also a familial token of esteem. In a gesture showcasing the sword’s significance, Napoleon, years after the battle, bestowed it upon his brother as a wedding gift. It then journeyed through time, passed down amongst the Bonaparte lineage, with figures like Prince Victor Napoleon holding it as a testament to their illustrious ancestry. Yet, like all treasures, it wasn’t immune to the tides of time and familial discord. The internal disagreements within the Bonaparte clan led this invaluable artifact to the auction block.

However, its sale wasn’t without stipulations. The sword’s immense cultural and historical importance to France led to conditions ensuring its continued presence on French soil. Potential foreign buyers were mandated to maintain an address in France and ensure the sword remained within the nation for a significant portion of the year. Reflecting its monumental significance, in 1978, the French government enshrined its legacy by declaring it a national treasure.

Image Credit: Chron.

2. 18th Century Boateng Saber: $7.7 Million

The 18th-century Boateng saber, a gleaming relic of China’s illustrious past, holds the esteemed title as the second most expensive sword globally. Auctioned twice, it first exchanged hands for a remarkable $5.93 million in 2006, only to surpass this price in 2008, achieving a jaw-dropping $7.7 million.

This unparalleled artifact, deeply rooted in the reign of the revered Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty, is engraved with the words “Bao Teng,” which translates to “Soaring Precious.” Its hilt, meticulously crafted from pristine white jade, is adorned with intricate leaf motifs, further elevating its regal allure. But it’s the blade that captures the essence of this treasure. Drenched in history and artistry, it glistens with decorations in copper, silver, and gold, offering a visual journey through China’s grandeur.

Designed with a single edge and a subtle curve, the Boateng saber was not just a display of opulence but also a weapon of formidable efficiency, perfect for swift and devastating slashes. Representing both the might and the refinement of the Qianlong era (1735-1796), this saber is not just a piece of history but a testament to an emperor’s vision and the epoch’s unmatched craftsmanship.

Image Credit: History/YouTube.

1. Tipu Sultan’s bedchamber sword: $17.3 million

In May 2023, the 18th-century bedchamber sword of Tipu Sultan, the fierce ruler known as the “Tiger of Mysore,” was auctioned for an impressive £14 million ($17.4 million) at the Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale in London, astonishingly fetching seven times its estimated price. This sale set a new benchmark, making it the most expensive Indian and Islamic object ever sold at an auction, and the most expensive sword ever sold as noted by Bonhams, the auction house.

Tipu Sultan’s legacy is both vast and profound. He governed the Mysore kingdom in southern India from 1782 to 1799 and was revered for his audacious defense of his domain. Under his guidance, Mysore blossomed into India’s most dynamic economy. He was also an innovator on the battlefield, being one of the earliest adopters of rocket artillery.

This magnificent sword, bearing the inscription “The Sword of the Ruler” on its blade, is a fusion of Indo-German craftsmanship. Crafted by Mughal artisans, it draws inspiration from the German blades that made their way to India in the 16th century. With a hilt intricately inlaid with gold calligraphy, the weapon is a testament to the prowess and elegance of the ‘Tiger of Mysore’. Its very existence epitomizes the blending of cultures and the majestic legacy of a legendary ruler.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

Image Credit: Bonhams.

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