I got my start in photography shooting artifacts for the State of North Carolina. Recently I've been doing some similar work for MESDA (the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts) in Old Salem (in Winston-Salem, North Carolina). Here is a gorgeous early 19th century cavalry sword made in Richmond, Virginia by James Winner. You can see his mark on the edge of the blade.
(Photographs copyright 2013 by Dan Routh. Used with permission of MESDA. Do not reproduce.)