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Crossbows

Historically considered one of the deadliest weapons in existence, the crossbow has evolved from a tool of human warfare to an option for hunting and shooting sports. With its ease of use and high draw force, the crossbow is noted as a highly-accurate weapon even for a novice marksman.

It’s thought that the first crossbows were used in China as early as the 5th century B.C. for both defense and hunting. In the following years, the Greeks, Romans, and Medieval Europeans added crossbows to their military arsenals. During the 11th century, the Roman Catholic Church banned the use of the weapon in Christian-to-Christian warfare, warning that offenders would risk excommunication for violating the rule. By the 16th century, crossbows were nearly eliminated in human warfare, replaced on the battlefields by black powder weapons. More recently, crossbows have gained popularity in game hunting and sport shooting.

Antique crossbows were often made of wood and steel, and sometimes included intricate carvings and parts made of ivory, stag horn, or ebony. Locating one with all original elements intact is a valuable collector’s find. Modern crossbows are often made of fiberglass or carbon fiber, but some are still made of wood or metal. Determining factors in purchasing one are typically the intended use and cost along with weight and design.


Quick Facts

  • Crossbows were referenced in Gaston Phoebus’ 1387 "Book of the Hunt"
  • Some world military organizations still use crossbows today, from ambush missions to anti- sniper operations and bomb detection. The silence of the weapon is a reported advantage
  • Crossbowmen were an esteemed group in medieval times. They often received higher pay than foot soldiers

Recommended Items at Auction

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Old crossbow
Oct 07, 10:00 AM CEST
Old crossbow
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€401 Bid
Zwei Sportbögen im Koffer / Two sport bows with case, Seefab Centaur, Schweden/Sweden, 1939/40
Oct 08, 9:00 AM CEST
Zwei Sportbögen im Koffer / Two sport bows with case, Seefab Centaur, Schweden/Sweden, 1939/40
by Auktionshaus Schwab
Est: €10- €20
€100 Bids
Northwestern Style Bows & Quiver
Oct 08, 10:00 AM MST
Northwestern Style Bows & Quiver
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$100 Bids
A Saxon crossbow with bone inlays, 17th/19th century
Oct 26, 10:00 AM CEST
A Saxon crossbow with bone inlays, 17th/19th century
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€2,8000 Bids
A German Renaissance crossbow, circa 1550
Oct 26, 10:00 AM CEST
A German Renaissance crossbow, circa 1550
by Hermann Historica GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€3,8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Crossbows


Sofe Design Auctions

Sofe Design Auctions

Hermann Historica GmbH

Hermann Historica GmbH

Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal

EJ'S Auction & Appraisal