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Rusty Piece of Metal Turns Treasure

An old piece of damaged metal found when cleaning out a garage turned out to actually be rare (and quite expensive) 15th-century Scottish sword.

Last year, a man, while cleaning out his deceased father’s garage in North Yorkshire in the UK, found a rusty piece of metal that appeared to be a sword with its tip missing. Searching for more info on his find, he brought it to an Edinburgh swordmaker, in hopes that he would be able to shed some light on the history of the piece.

This sword, which is deeply pitted and corroded but still retains all its original pieces (except its tip), was most likely buried, submerged in water, or exposed to the elements, for many years. Even so, the swordmaker, after carefully looking the piece over, explained that it was a rare 15th-century sword used by elite Scottish Highlander mercenaries called Gallowglass (shown below), warriors who often acted as bodyguards to Irish chieftains.

Armed with this knowledge, in February 2020, the owner placed his garage find up for sale at a London auction house, at an appraised value of $250. Yet to everyone's great surprise, at auction it sold for almost $40,000 to an anonymous Canadian buyer.

The sword was designed to be light and fast so was the perfect weapon for mercenaries. It was also favored by soldiers during the wars between the Scots and English and was last used during the 1689 Battle of Killiecrankie. Even so, it’s a relatively rare weapon, usually only found in museums or on display at ancestral estates.

It is unknown how the sword was found or how long it lay, rusting away, in the garage. It is also not yet known whether the sword will end up in a private collection or be displayed in a museum in Canada.


For more info on the Gallowglass warriors, check out this video.



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