Category Archives: Famous Buyers

Antique Arms Collector Michael Zomber Gets Rare Civil War Era Artifact


Michael Zomber is a well-respected expert in antique arms and armors. Recently he won an auction at Sotheby’s that netted him a rare artifact from the abolitionist movement. It was the Bowie knife that was used by a person that attempted to assassinate abolitionist leader John Brown. The knife has an inscription stating that a would-be assassin took the knife from abolition movement leader John Brown and attempted to kill him with it. John Brown was a white radical abolitionist leader who felt the only way to end slavery in the United States was through an armed insurrection. When Brown attempted to do just that he was arrested, jailed and hung.


Sotheby’s described the knife, which has a spear-point blade and a coffin handle made of nickel with a mother of pearl inlay, as ‘a remarkable artifact’. One that came from one of American history’s bloodiest periods. Collector Michael Zomber who writes Civil War historical fiction said it is a rare treasure and pointed out it’s from a period in American history about which he’s passionate about. Zomber said it’s an honor to own a piece of John Brown’s personal history. Some fans of Zomber’s historical fiction novels wondered if the knife will appear in a Zomber novel soon. Zomber was non-committal saying only the knife has gotten his ‘creative wheels turning.’


Michael R. Zomber has undergraduate degrees in English and psychology from the University of Illinois. He also earned a masters in English Literature from UCLA. He’s considered an expert in ancient weapons and armor and owns weapons which had belonged to George Washington as well as Simon Bolivar. His specialty is Japanese weaponry. Michael Zomber wrote and produced ‘Soul of the Samurai’ a critically acclaimed full-length documentary. Zomber also wrote a full-length screen play and a television series for Shogun Iemitsu.


With the encouragement of his wife, Michael Zomber began writing screenplays. Many of them became the basis of novels, all of which are listed on GoodReads. Two of the historical fiction novel he wrote deal with how the Civil War affected people’s lives. They are ‘A Son of Kentucky’ and ‘Sweet Betsy That’s Me’.