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How Much Are Old Cannon Balls Worth?

Old cannon balls are fascinating historical artifacts that can fetch high prices for collectors and museums.

If you’ve come across a cannon ball and are wondering what it might be worth, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Old cannon balls can sell for anywhere from $20 for a common ball up to $10,000 or more for a rare, historically significant ball in excellent condition.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about determining the value of antique cannon balls.

We’ll discuss factors like age, historical significance, condition, size and material. We’ll also provide tips for identifying cannon balls and showcase some record sales prices. Let’s dive in!

Identifying Cannon Balls

When it comes to determining the value of old cannon balls, it’s important to be able to accurately identify them. Here are some key factors to consider:


Cannon balls were typically made of iron or lead.

Iron cannon balls were more commonly used due to their durability and effectiveness in combat. Lead cannon balls were occasionally used, but they were softer and less effective at penetrating enemy structures.

Identifying the material of a cannon ball can provide valuable insights into its historical significance and potential value.

Cannon balls


Some cannon balls may have markings or engravings that can help identify their origin and age. These markings could include the manufacturer’s name, a specific date, or even a coat of arms.

Researching historical records and consulting with experts can help decipher these markings and provide a better understanding of the cannon ball’s history.


Cannon balls came in various sizes, depending on the type of cannon they were meant to be fired from.

The size of a cannon ball can provide clues about the type of artillery it was used with and the era it belongs to. Common sizes range from small grape shot projectiles to larger balls weighing several pounds.


The condition of a cannon ball is another important factor in determining its value. While some collectors may prefer pristine examples, others may find value in cannon balls that show signs of battle damage or wear.

Rust and corrosion can also affect the value, so it’s important to assess the condition and consider any necessary restoration or preservation efforts.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with experts or appraisers who specialize in historical artifacts, as they can provide valuable insights and help determine the potential worth of old cannon balls.

Additionally, resources such as National Park Service or Bonhams can offer further guidance and information on historical items like cannon balls.

Factors that Determine Value

Age and Historical Significance

The age and historical significance of old cannon balls play a crucial role in determining their value. Cannon balls from significant historical periods or events tend to be more valuable.

For example, cannon balls from famous battles like the Battle of Waterloo or the American Civil War can fetch a higher price due to their historical importance.

Similarly, cannon balls from ancient civilizations like the Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire can be highly sought after by collectors and history enthusiasts.


The provenance or the documented history of an old cannon ball is another important factor in determining its value. If a cannon ball can be traced back to a specific historical event or a famous collector, its value can significantly increase.

Provenance adds an element of authenticity and adds to the overall historical value of the artifact. Cannon balls that come with detailed documentation, such as letters, certificates, or photographs, proving their origin and history, are often more valuable in the market.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of the cannon ball can also impact its value. Larger and heavier cannon balls are generally more desirable among collectors, as they are rarer and more visually impressive.

The size and weight can also provide insights into the type of cannon or artillery used during a specific period, adding to the historical significance of the artifact.

However, it’s important to note that the value is not solely determined by size and weight, but rather in combination with other factors.

Condition and Rarity

The condition and rarity of an old cannon ball are crucial factors in determining its value. Cannon balls that are in excellent condition, with minimal damage or corrosion, are typically more valuable.

Rarity also plays a significant role, as cannon balls that are uncommon or hard to find can command higher prices. It’s important to note that cannon balls that have been altered or restored may have a lower value compared to those in their original condition.

It’s worth mentioning that the value of old cannon balls can vary greatly depending on these factors and the current market demand.

If you have an old cannon ball and are curious about its value, it’s recommended to consult with experts or reputable antique dealers who can provide a professional appraisal.

Record Sale Prices

When it comes to historical artifacts, cannon balls hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and history enthusiasts alike. These heavy iron projectiles not only symbolize the power of ancient artillery but also carry with them the stories of battles fought in the past.

If you’ve ever wondered about the value of old cannon balls, you’ll be interested to know that some of them have fetched impressive sums at auctions and private sales.

Revolutionary War Cannon Balls

The Revolutionary War was a pivotal moment in American history, and artifacts from this time period are highly sought after by collectors.

Cannon balls from this era have been known to sell for anywhere between $500 and $5,000, depending on their condition and historical significance.

For example, a cannon ball found at the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill sold for $4,000 at auction. These prices reflect the rarity and historical value associated with such artifacts.

historical artifacts

Civil War Cannon Balls

The Civil War, another crucial chapter in American history, saw the extensive use of artillery, resulting in a large number of cannon balls being fired during battles.

As a result, Civil War cannon balls are more common compared to those from the Revolutionary War. However, their value can still be significant, with prices ranging from $100 to $2,000 or more.

The condition, provenance, and any unique markings can greatly influence the selling price of these artifacts.

Cannon Balls from Famous Ships

Some of the most coveted cannon balls are those associated with famous ships from naval history.

For example, cannon balls recovered from the wreckage of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which sank off the coast of Florida in 1622, have sold for over $50,000.

Similarly, cannon balls from the HMS Victory, the famous British warship of the 18th century, have fetched impressive prices at auction. These artifacts carry immense historical weight and are highly sought after by collectors.

It’s important to note that the value of old cannon balls can vary greatly depending on factors such as rarity, condition, historical significance, and provenance.

If you’re interested in buying or selling cannon balls, it’s recommended to consult with reputable antique dealers, auction houses, or historical artifact experts. They can provide valuable insights and help determine the true worth of these fascinating pieces of history.

Selling Your Cannon Ball

Auction Houses

If you have an old cannon ball and you’re looking to sell it, one option you may consider is auction houses. These establishments specialize in selling unique and valuable items, including historical artifacts.

Auction houses often have a wide network of collectors and enthusiasts who are interested in purchasing cannon balls and other military memorabilia.

They can help you determine the value of your cannon ball and connect you with potential buyers. Some well-known auction houses include Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonhams.

Online Marketplaces

Another popular option for selling your cannon ball is through online marketplaces.

Websites like eBay, Etsy, and Ruby Lane offer a platform for individuals to sell a wide range of products, including historical artifacts. These platforms allow you to reach a large audience of potential buyers from around the world.

When listing your cannon ball for sale, make sure to provide detailed information about its history, condition, and any relevant documentation or certificates of authenticity. This will help attract serious buyers and ensure a fair price for your item.

Dealers and Collectors

If you prefer a more personal approach, you can also consider reaching out to dealers and collectors who specialize in military artifacts.

These individuals have extensive knowledge and experience in the field and may be willing to purchase your cannon ball directly. They can provide you with an expert assessment of its value and offer you a competitive price.

You can find dealers and collectors through online directories, military history forums, or by attending specialized trade shows and events.

Before selling your cannon ball, it’s important to do some research and gather as much information as possible about its history and provenance. This will not only help you determine its value but also make the selling process smoother and more transparent.

Remember, the value of an old cannon ball can vary greatly depending on factors such as age, condition, rarity, and historical significance. Consulting with experts or appraisers in the field can provide you with a better understanding of what your cannon ball is worth in today’s market.

Dealers and Collectors


Old cannon balls are fascinating relics of history that can be worth anything from a few bucks to thousands of dollars depending on their age, history, condition and other factors.

With some research and expert help, you may uncover a treasure. If you have an old cannon ball, carefully examine it for identifying markings and assess its condition.

Reach out to experts to verify authenticity and importance. Then you can decide whether to hold onto a valuable piece of history or cash in on a lucrative sale.

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