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Representative image of highlander sword.   Source: Marko Stamatovic/ Adobe Stock

Highlander Sword Found in a Garage is Sold for a Fortune


Most of us when we are cleaning out our garage only find garbage, perhaps some old, forgotten items, but nothing ancient. One lucky man in Britain found a highlander sword which is up to 600 years old. The sword was initially valued at only a few hundred dollars. However, last month it fetched a small fortune at an auction, to the amazement of the crowd.

The remarkable artifact was found by a man when he was cleaning out the garage of his dead father. He does not want to reveal his identity and even the location where he made the find is not known. Nothing is known about how it came to be in the garage, nor its history.

Medieval sword

The man guessed that the weapon might be worth something and he took it to an auction house. He brought the sword to Hutchinson Scott Auctioneers, in Skipton, Yorkshire in the north of England. Here he had it valued and he was told by the auctioneers that it was worth approximately £200 ($250).  It was estimated that the sword is dated to the Late Medieval Period. The man decided to auction off the sword at Hutchinson Scott.

The Scottish Highland sword is in relatively good condition. (Image: Pocketmags)

The Scottish Highland sword is in relatively good condition. (Image: Pocketmags)

The sword is somewhat pitted and corroded, but it is intact and has all its original elements. According to the auctioneers, ‘Its condition meant that it was likely it had been buried, submerged or exposed to the elements for many years’ reports The Yorkshire Post . The sword attracted the interest of many specialists and collectors, such as  Paul Macdonald, a ‘Sword maker and master-at-arms at Macdonald Armouries in Edinburgh’ reports The Scarborough News . This is because the sword is quite rare. The majority of these weapons that have survived are to be found in museums or in stately homes.

Amazing auction

Mr. Macdonald was hoping to purchase the sword. He believed that the weapon was much more valuable than indicated by the auctioneers. As a sword maker, he wanted to purchase it and make replicas of it. However, he was shocked when the bidding began. He is quoted by The Scarborough News as saying that ‘I was surprised when it went up to £6,000 and then £7,000’.

This Claymore Highlander replica shares many design similarities to the auctioned sword. (ClaymoreHighlanderReplica.jpg: Douglas Whitaker(CC BY-SA 2.5)

This Claymore Highlander replica shares many design similarities to the auctioned sword. (ClaymoreHighlanderReplica.jpg: Douglas Whitaker( CC BY-SA 2.5 )

The sword fetched a price of £30,000 ($37,000) and this does not include the auctioneer’s fees, of 20% of the final bid. Mr. Macdonald was disappointed not to secure the weapon, but he was glad that the price reflected its historical importance.  He told The Yorkshire Post that ‘Clearly, its significance has been recognized and you can only hope that it has gone to a good home and that it will be looked after’.

Mercenary highlander sword

This sword is so valuable because of its rarity and history. It is believed that the weapon comes from Scotland and dates to the 15 th or 16 th century. The weapon originated somewhere in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and the experts think it would have been owned by a mercenary. The Scots were renowned as mercenaries in Europe in the Late Middle Ages and in the Early Modern period. According to Mr. Macdonald, ‘These swords were incredibly light and incredibly fast’ reported the   The Yorkshire Post . They would have been ideal for use in close-quarter fighting.

The sword could have belonged to a Scottish mercenary. (Marko Stamatovic/ Adobe Stock)

The sword could have belonged to a Scottish mercenary. ( Marko Stamatovic / Adobe Stock)

It is believed that the sword belonged to a class of Scottish mercenaries from the Western Highlands and Isles known as ‘galloglass’, who were famed for their fighting prowess. They came from Gaelic clans who had intermarried with the Vikings and were employed as heavy infantry. Galloglass would often fight in inter-clan warfare, in Ireland from the 14 th to the end of the 16 th century. They often served as the bodyguards of Irish chieftains and many settled in lands given to them, in return for their service.

It is believed that the sword had been shipped from Yorkshire and is in storage in London. The weapon is expected to be eventually sent to Canada. It is not known if the weapon will be put on display or kept in a private collection.

Top image: Representative image of highlander sword.   Source: Marko Stamatovic / Adobe Stock

By Ed Whelan

Ed Whelan's picture


My name is Edward Whelan and I graduated with a PhD in history in 2008. Between 2010-2012 I worked in the Limerick City Archives. I have written a book and several peer reviewed journal articles. At present I am a... Read More

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