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Historical blacksmithing was a critical and crucial part of a community, creating many of the tools needed to ensure people thrived and were safe when doing so.
These included farming implements such as scythes, masonry equipment such as hammers and axes, and weapons such as swords, where a blacksmith’s skill was firmly put to the test to create the sharpest, hardest wearing and most ornate blades possible.
This skill has caused many of these weapons to have huge, borderline mythological legends attached to them, and as a result, have commanded incredible prices when sold at auction as enduring examples of both artistic and artisanal skill.
Here are some of the most expensive blades ever made and the stories behind their forging.
After the end of the 19th century, swords and other blades made by blacksmiths were prized more as ornaments than as weapons, and in that regard, no weaponsmith was more renowned than Buster Warenski.
Joining the Knifemaker’s Guild at a time when there were only 47 members, he specialised in making “art knives” that prioritised quality ornate crafting skill and the use of precious metals.
The most famous and well-regarded of these were his three “Legacy Knives” and the most famous and expensive of those knives was The Gem Of The Orient, a blade that took over a decade to complete and sold for over £2m.
He planned to make four knives but unfortunately passed away in 2005 at the age of 63 before the final blade was finished.
Napoleon Bonaparte, former emperor of France, has several beautifully crafted ornate swords decorated with precious stones and metals, but the most valuable of these was used in the Battle of Marengo.
Considered to be one of Napoleon’s finest victories albeit one shrouded in propaganda surrounding exactly how the French Army turned it around, the curved sabre he used has since sold for over £6m.