For those of you out the into collecting the military genre of uniforms, patches, old guns, or anything from the past you’re in luck. With today’s multitude of ways to find antiques or collectibles it’s almost impossible not to find something unique close to home or on the internet. The internet has made it so easy to find a site like or auction house with sellers trying to peddle there collectibles to people around the world. However, not everyone is going to get the deal of the century.

Starting locally around your home is the best way to get a good deal. A lot of times the aging population is literally dying to give you a great find.  You can go through classified ads in the paper, or stop by dozens of yard sales on Saturday morning and rummage through the goods marked at ridiculous prices. Of course you’re not out trying to rob someone but at the same time what it’s worth to them is what they will sell it to you for.

The most popular collectible of all American arms are presentation swords which were awards of honor and not intended for combat. Many of these swords are decorated with gold and silver with elaborately etched blades. Also cherished are swords that officers had custom made for themselves, in many cases beautifully crafted of costly materials. Some collectors specialize in swords made by a particular sword maker, such as Nathan P. Ames of Springfield, MA. Ames made swords in the late 1800s. Other collectors concentrate on weapons of one period. The Civil War is the most popular.

Collectors of American Military Swords generally group swords according to the wars in which they might have been used, the Revolution, the war of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846-1848 and the Civil War. Swords of the Revolutionary period can be the most valuable.

Very few American swords made prior to the Revolution were made in America. Most swords were imported from Europe or just the blades were imported, then finished here. American made swords usually had a grip of cherry or maple wood wrapped in wire. A few of these sword makers signed their work, among them silversmiths John Bailey and Ephraim Brasher of New York City. In 1798, Nathan Starr of Middletown, Connecticut was making cavalry sabers for enlisted men. He produced 2,000 swords marking them with “N Starr & Co.” on one side of the blade and “US – 1799″ on the other.

A number of other companies also manufactured swords for the United States Army in the post Revolutionary years and leading up to the War of 1812. These swords were called “contract” swords and are not that hard to find. The eagle, adopted as a national symbol in 1782, was a favorite choice of officers as an emblem on their swords. By the time of the Mexican War, many contract swords were made. The best known of these swords is the desirable model 1832. Many swords from the early 1800s saw service again in the Civil War, and examples of swords used in this conflict are also not hard to find. Any sword made for the Confederacy are prized more than those of the Union because far fewer were made. Confederate swords usually include the initials “CS” for Confederate States or “CSA” for Confederate States of America engraved on the blade. Discovering the history of a sword is one of the most interesting aspects of collecting. Many old American swords were engraved with the owners names. Their official military records can tell some fascinating stories and are available to the public.

There are a lot of weapon auctions available to you online and at live auction locations. To be a successful bidder at any auction you need to know what you are bidding on, what the items are worth and how much money you have available to bid with. With this information in hand you will be ready to make a strong showing at a weapons auction.

The first thing that you can do to prepare for weapon auctions is to browse through the listing of items offered for auction. Select items that you are interested in and conduct basic research on these items. Look for items that are priced fairly and that are still in good condition. If you are interested in antique weapons then you will also want to look for rare items that are difficult to find. From your initial list of possible items, select a few that you must have. Conduct further research on these items to determine if the price of this item is reasonable or a bargain. If they are bargain priced highlight them as an item to try for.

Next you will need to determine how much money you want to spend on each item that you are interested in. This available money will be your cap amount. If the item is rare then you may not want to pussyfoot around and underbid. Place a strong bid in and hope that you get it. If an item is a less popular item then chances are you won’t have a lot of competition for the item so you can afford to be more frugal with your bidding.

Before you can bid on an item you will need to meet the requirements of the weapon auctions for establishing a buyer’s account. These requirements usually include passing a background check, providing your contact information and funding your account. You may also be required to prove that your participation in the weapons auction is not against your state’s laws. Generally the restrictions for who can buy and sell weapons get progressively more intense the newer the weapon is.