How to Determine the Value of a Powder Flask

Written by harvey birdman
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How to Determine the Value of a Powder Flask
Flintlock guns used powder flasks for reloading. (to pull the trigger image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Powder flasks are portable containers of gun powder that were used when guns were muzzleloading. These containers were made in the millions by many countries and some have survived to the current times. Their value can vary widely from a few dollars for a corroded metal container of some rifleman to possibly millions for gold engraved powder flasks used by royalty. However, there are also a lot of fakes on the market, so the value of a powder flask can only be ascertained by an professional appraiser. Without an appraiser, few buyers would risk their money.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Professional appraiser
  • Plastic bag

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  1. 1

    Place the powder flask in a plastic bag to help preserve it. If the powder flask is genuine, then it is very old and needs to be handled with care. Look over the powder flask to identify if it is made of wood, metal, horn or some other material. Note any letters written on the flask as well. Many owners would put their initials on the powder flask and the manufacturer or smith would also mark the flask with their brand logo. Flasks made by state factories will also bear the flag of their nation or king.

  2. 2

    Contact a professional appraiser, preferably one specialising in military artefacts. Provide them with the details of the powder flask and ask about an appraisal. Most appraisers will be more than happy to look at the flask for a fee. If you have any papers or proof of authenticity, bring those to the appraiser.

  3. 3

    Obtain a appraisal of value certificate from the appraiser. If the appraiser thinks the flask is a fake, then the powder flask will be close to worthless. However, if the flask is genuine, then the appraiser can give you a range of values that others like it have gone for at auction. Keep in mind that antique values can vary with the economy; few people splurge on these items when times are bad. On the other hand, some powder flasks may actually be priceless. For example, if you had the powder flask of Gustav Adolphus, a famous king of Sweden, there may be no way to actually price the flask as it has never been sold on the open market.

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