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  1. #1
    us
    Nov 2011
    Western Mass
    Whites Matrix M6, Gold Mnt King Cobra, Discovery 2000, BH Lonestar, Coinmaster 4000/D, Automax Precision V4 Pinpointer
    47
    Metal Detecting

    Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Was hunting on an old Victorian Mansion site in Western Massachusetts. Dug an old bronze/gold (?) sword or dagger letter opener. Aprx 6" long. It has a snake head and other markings, but no letters or numbers. It easily left "gold looking" flakes on sand paper. Has a very very slight magnetism to it but barely anything. Gives a low VDI number on my Matrix M6 in the gold range. I tested it against a gold ring and it came up with close to the same numbers. House and land was owned by a very wealthy business man in the 1800's.. However the artifact looks much older than that. It looks like it was intentionally buried as a cache. Any ideas on maker, age, worth or the likes.. Thank you and happy hunting.
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  2. #2
    us
    Oct 2011
    VENTURA COUNTY, CA
    WHITES EAGLE
    142
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Hey franking;

    What did it look like when it came out of the ground? What does the rest of it look like? How long, and wide is it?

    H_S

  3. #3

    Jul 2007
    666
    9 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Cool find.

  4. #4

    Feb 2008
    1,315
    2 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    My first impression was that it was either made to look old, or that the workmanship was really bad. Still thinking about other aspects of it.

  5. #5
    us
    Nov 2011
    Western Mass
    Whites Matrix M6, Gold Mnt King Cobra, Discovery 2000, BH Lonestar, Coinmaster 4000/D, Automax Precision V4 Pinpointer
    47
    Metal Detecting

    Re: More Details and full photo on Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener

    Hello thanks for the views and replies! Here is more details on the artifact.
    From doing some research on swords and daggers I came up with this terminology.
    Double edged blade. It is apprx. 6" in total length. 4" of blade, 1.5" of from fuller to ricasso, guard is 1.5", total length of hilt (from quillion to pommel is 2") grip from guard to pommel is 1" Lobed Snake Head Quillion.
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  6. #6
    us
    Nov 2011
    Western Mass
    Whites Matrix M6, Gold Mnt King Cobra, Discovery 2000, BH Lonestar, Coinmaster 4000/D, Automax Precision V4 Pinpointer
    47
    Metal Detecting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Opener When I dug it and what it looked like then.

    When I dug it and what it looked like then.
    It was a muddy / dirty had to take a brush to it.. It was duller in shine.
    I then used sand paper on blade until I realized that there was bits of shiney gold like particles coming off on my sand paper ( 100 grit ) so I immediately stopped.. I havent done much else with it as far as cleaning goes.
    Any suggetions on further cleaning or should I leave it alone? thank you

  7. #7
    us
    Oct 2011
    Fort Wayne,In
    49
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    At least from the pic it looks a little too blunt to be a letter opener. Looks almost like a gaming piece. like maybe D&D or something like that. Just a guess. Cool though.
    A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves.

  8. #8
    us
    Jul 2008
    Central Minnesota
    Tesoro Tiger Shark, Whites 5900/Di Pro
    401
    75 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Have it tested for gold content? Good luck!
    2MN

  9. #9
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,502
    28 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    franking ~

    I found these "possible letter openers." The one in the center appears to be very similar, if not identical to yours. Unfortunately there were no detailed descriptions with them, other than this which is copy/pasted ...

    "Here we have three miniature swords, possible letter openers. The longer one has no markings but does have a scabbard. Its overall length is 9-1/2 in. The second one is possibly silver unmarked as well and its overall length is 7 inches. The third is marked Toledo and its overall length is 6-1/2 inches."

    I will keep searching and let you know if I find anything more specific.

    SBB

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  10. #10
    us
    Jul 2005
    N Louisiana
    Ace 250
    2,270
    3 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    I'm still looking for the snake on it. ha! As far as sandpaper and cleaning goes, put your sandpaper away, FAR AWAY. Really! Soap and water and old t-shirts to clean and dry. Maybe a soft toothbrush to clean grooves, but only if it is really soft. Do no damage.

    It really doesn't appear to be sharp enough to be a letter opener to me, but I don't know what else it could be unless it's a game piece (?) or a what-not. Pretty, though.
    Dear Lord, lest I continue in my complacent ways, help me to remember that someone died for me today. And if there be war, help me to remember to ask and to answer "am I worth dying for?" - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
    us
    Oct 2011
    VENTURA COUNTY, CA
    WHITES EAGLE
    142
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Opener When I dug it and what it looked like then.

    Quote Originally Posted by franking
    When I dug it and what it looked like then.
    It was a muddy / dirty had to take a brush to it.. It was duller in shine.
    I then used sand paper on blade until I realized that there was bits of shiney gold like particles coming off on my sand paper ( 100 grit ) so I immediately stopped.. I havent done much else with it as far as cleaning goes.
    Any suggetions on further cleaning or should I leave it alone? thank you
    I don't recommend using a wire brush or sandpaper on any objects that you find, you may have decreased it's value considerably.

    I would have guessed that it was brass, but if it did not have a greenish patina when you dug it up, who knows it might be gold.

    H_S

  12. #12
    us
    Oct 2011
    Hansen, Idaho
    Whites Prizm 5G
    103
    Metal Detecting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Sandpaper I agree.....loose the 80 grit!! It looks like a newer piece, but if it IS old, you will destroy the value almost immediately. It is a really cool little letter opener though! HH

    DeJa

  13. #13
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,502
    28 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    franking ~

    1. I am 100% convinced that your item is a letter opener.
    2. After looking at dozens/hundreds of similar letter openers,
    yours appears to be generic in design.
    3. I can see nothing on yours (symbol) that connects it with
    a specific organization. (I don't see the "snake.")
    4. It appears to be extremely worn. Which suggest a great
    deal of use - high soil abrasion - or from water running
    over it for an extended period of time.
    5. Without some type of makers mark it may be impossible to
    properly identify and date.

    Cool find irregardless. Good luck in your search. I'm giving up with this post.

    SBB

    P.S. ~ The "Knights of Pythias" masonic organization used a "Lily" symbol. But I can't say for certain if the center symbol on yours and the one I posted a picture of is a Lily or something else. If "Knights of Pythias," it should also have their "F.C.B" letters on it that stand for ...

    "Friendship ~ Charity ~ Beneveolence"



    [ Here is a typical "Knights of Pythias" Lily symbol ]

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  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2008
    Black Hills of South Dakota
    Tesoro Lobo & Garrett Stinger
    4,175
    78 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Neat find.

    I see part of the problem with identifying it. I see a frog at the tip, and a fleur de lis.

    I also think it is definitely a letter opener, cast brass, maybe, and probably from around 1930-1945 (a big time for all sorts of letter openers, especially the dagger form).

    Beth

    "Irony is the rule"

  15. #15
    us
    Sep 2009
    Southern California
    2,502
    28 times

    Re: Ancient Snake Sword Letter Opener.. Age? Composition? Maker? Info Please

    Did someone say, "Ribbit" ... er, I mean "Frog?"

    (Beth ~ Good eyes! )

    This Shriner's medal may be a toad or a frog. It is made of copper-colored metal and reads; Zenobia, July 1908, Toledo (Ohio), St. Paul. The back is stamped Putman Co. Chicago.

    SBB






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