I purchased a Design Toscano sword because I think it may offer some data to help me evaluate my hypothesis about the two "generations" of swords. Copies cannot have details that are not present in the original. Just looking casually at the Design Toscano sword, it obviously lacks much of the fine detail that is visible in at least one of the brass/bronze swords (the California sword). That could possibly be explained by the fact that the Design Toscano sword is of rather crude manufacture (it is billed as a "rough iron foundry casting," after all): perhaps it is just a poor copy of a very fine original artifact. I think it's more likely, however, that the Design Toscano swords were copied from a worn example of a brass/bronze sword from the 1800s rather than a replica of an actual artifact from Pompeii.
The Hercules figure on the Design Toscano sword appears to be about the same size as those of the brass/bronze swords. I've made arrangements to borrow the California sword (hopefully it will shipped to me in the coming week) so I'll be able to make a direct comparison. My plan is to use a 3D scanner to create three-dimensional models of the figures that I can then compare directly. Then I'll be able to tell, hopefully, if the differences in detail between the two swords can be attributed to material being lost (as in details being rubbed off) and/or material being added (as one expect from a crude cast of a detailed artifact). The 3D scan data may reveal other interesting things as well. I'll make those data available as I generate them.
I also hope to do my own XRF analysis of the California sword to determine the composition of the metal. I'm pretty sure the facilities for doing such an analysis exist at USC, so I'm hoping it will just be a matter of figuring out who I need to talk to get it done (there may be direct costs involved, which is another thing I'll be using the Woo War One money for). I've only just begun looking, but it seems that there are plenty of data available on composition of Roman era copper-alloy artifacts as well as brass of more recent manufacture.
This will all be fun, and I'll keep you updated as I make headway and get results.
Finally, for the record, the Design Toscano sword has thus far exhibited no magical properties. I'll let you know if the California sword points to "true north" when it gets here. Or increases my armor class or hit points. Or helps me save a princess. In Swordgate, anything is possible.