How To Value Arms, Armour, & Militia

Arms, armour, and militia are valuable and fascinating for their insight into cultural and political developments over time.

three helmets and chainmail

It is a broad category, ranging anywhere from the medieval helmets of British knights to Civil War era American muskets to the pistols of infamous mobsters. Each item can provide great historical insight into the nature and meaning of particular conflicts, as well as what they could portray about the original owner. Do you have an antique handgun that you are looking to sell? Is there an old military sword that has been passed down to you you would like to have valued? Perhaps you would like to know more about a dusty old shield you found at a flea market? The following information will guide you in your journey of finding an accurate estimate for your arms, armour, and militia.

While it was often the case that first and foremost the purpose of arms and armour was utilitarian, in fact it was often also used as a tool for displaying wealth,status, and gallantry, both on and off the battlefield. Therefore such items could often be highly decorative and painstaking in detail. They were seen as symbols of masculine prowess, bravery, and heroism, and thus often indicated the importance of the wearer, especially if he ranked higher militaristically. Over the years, the market for antique militia and weaponry has risen substantially, and thus more and more are seeing the investment value of buying arms and armour. In 2005, arms and armour from the Royal House of Hanover sold at auction for over £8,000,000.

"Prospective buyers will always prefer to invest in an object that is top notch quality over something that is damaged."

Condition

One of the first aspects of your item to take notice of in terms of its worth on the market is the level of condition it is in. The closer in quality to brand new an object is, the more likely it will be to bring in the highest possible price at auction. One must be careful to search for any signs of damage such as tarnishing, stains, dents, holes, dullness, missing parts, and anything else that compromises the quality and function of the item. Prospective buyers will always prefer to invest in an object that is top notch quality over something that is damaged. However, if your arms or armour is particularly old and rare and thus sought after, there is the possibility of some exception being made in this regard.

knight in armour holding sword

Age & rarity

Perhaps the most consequential feature of an item is its rarity. A rare object will be far more likely to see a high demand on the market than something that is common and readily available. Thus the supply versus demand applies here as it does on any market, and will ultimately be the deciding factor in how much your arms and armour is worth. Even if you are in possession of an object in like brand new condition, if its supply exceeds its demand it will possess little value. 

While there are many factors that play into how rare an item is, one potential indicator is its age. For example, a Civil War musket will be worth much more than a similar object from the last fifty years or so. Suits of armour from the Medieval era in Europe, and helmets from Ancient Rome will sell easily for thousands in comparison to a World War II military outfit. However this is not without exception; in 2016, a gun owned by notorious mobster Al Capone was on sale for £80,000.

Appraisal

For thousands of years, arms, armour, and militia has served not only as a function of protection and endurance against the trials of war and militaristic conflict, but as a symbol for the power, strength, gallantry, and chivalry associated with the fighting men of their time. Thus it is not difficult to see why so many collectors today are choosing to invest in what this sector of the market has to offer. Whether it is for the deep sense of political and social history that an item possesses through its craftsmanship and intended use, the representational aspect of courage and steadfastness, or the sheer aesthetic beauty of these highly rendered works of art in their own right, arms, armour, and militia are fascinating in any number of ways.

And with that in mind, the most important step to take in ascertaining the market value for your item is to seek appraisal services. Using their expansive knowledge earned from years of experience in the field, a professional appraiser will be able to eliminate as much margin for error as possible so that you can be fully confident in your item’s estimated value. Luckily, here at Value My Stuff there are experts specializing in arms, armour, and militia who are more than ready to aid you in your quest, so that you can find out more about your item’s worth today.

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