Deals From The DarksideEpisodes

Beheading Axe
Season 1 - Episode 12
Beheading Axe

Privateseller D.J. Carroll calls Steve to have a look at a prized piece of his collection - a German beheading axe. Steve can tell it's from the 16th Century, and when D.J. says that the previous owners got it from a Chrystie's auction, he's ready right then to pay the full asking price of $5,500. But when D.J. tells him the paperwork isn't in his possession, Steve drops to $4,000, and they have a deal. Steve takes it to his blacksmith friend, Thak, who says that it's certainly at least 300 years old, but the shape looks English, not German.

While Stef does some research on the axe, Steve and Robb visit their friend Tom, a restraint collector. He's selling his entire collection, and Steve picks up three pieces - a hangman's strap to hold the legs of the condemned together, another one to hold the arms by the sides, and a Chinese hand pillory - for the cool price of $1,500. After speaking to Anthony Lee, an expert in Asian antiques, he learns that the pillory, being made of iron rather than wood, is probably from the mid 1700s. Since China is doing so well economically, this could go for up to $6,000 dollars.

Stef has more good news - based on the oral history of the axe being bought at a Chrystie's auction in London in the 1800s, she's able to link the item to an influential collector, Baron de Cosson, who was a friend and consultant to the master of arms at the Tower of London. To get a better sense of whether this axe could've beheaded infamous royalty, Stef sets up a meeting with Richard Clark, author and antiques expert. He shows his guests a picture of an authentic axe that was used in the Tower, and it's a dead ringer for Steve's axe. Without the provenance, however, it's only worth a few hundred dollars at market, but its museum value could be quite high. 

To round out the week, Steve sets up shop at the Criminals Hall of Fame Wax Museum, and dozens of people line up to get their dark artifacts appraised by Steve. One gem of the evening, which Steve buys on the spot, is a Mayan knife, most likely used for human sacrifice. The seller earns ten times what he paid for it, Steve gets a historically significant and beautiful piece, and everybody wins.

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