Posted November 2015

If you have a Civil War item that you can't identify or something you want to know the value of, contact John (mail: Box 510, Acworth, GA 30101; email John at seantiquing@go-star.com with Civil War in the subject line or call 770-329-4984 or 770-974-6495). John needs a good description of the item, condition, manufacturer's marks and any other markings, and photos. Please Note: All questions MUST be accompanied with a Photo, it should not be more than 200k in file size.

We found a flag hidden in the rafters of our old garage in Midway, Ga. Wrapped inside the flag was a piece of paper which simply said Ft. McCallister Battle. There was also a bullet inside the flag. The flag appears to have a bullet hole in it and dried blood. There is also a doctorís signature on the flag itself. The name appears to be Dr. W. R. Dandy. We have had a couple of antique dealers look at it, and they feel it is authentic. Would you please take a look at the pictures and see if you could give us an idea if it is indeed authentic and if so what an estimate would be if its value. Thank you for your time.

JS: Your flag is a 20th century copy of an Army of Tennessee battle flag. I'm not sure of the history or the name inked on the hoist, but it is possibly from a reenactment or a living history event. Fort McAllister is a beautifully preserved earthwork Confederate fortification, now a state park near Savannah, Ga. Similar flags of machine-sewn cotton with some age like this one can be found priced around $100-$200.


John, about 50 years ago, I bought a socket bayonet in an antique shop. Its overall length is 25 inches, the blade portion being about 21.5 inches. It appears to have originally been coated with a bronze or copper-color gilt. The markings are difficult to read, but I believe there is a crown stamped twice on the bayonet, which makes me think it is not American made. Also, there appears to be the numbers 51 and 37 stamped on the piece as well as the letters ND or perhaps WD, BR, and 80 or 89. As I recall, it is supposed to be a Civil War bayonet.

JS: Your bayonet is Civil War Era, but it is for a British Enfield rifled musket. The capital initials "WD" with the broad arrow (which looks like an inverted "V") denote British military acceptance. The other various markings are various British proofs and rack numbers and of little little significance in value. These bayonets are quite common to the market, and an average brown in very good condition can be found priced at various trade shows for about $75-125. 


Would like to know the value of these. They were my -great grandfatherís that I found in a photo album.

JS: These two broadsides are quite impressive when you first see them; however, the verbiage is not typical of the era. I know of no original examples, and these appear to me to be fantasy pieces made maybe about the time of the Centennial. Broadsides of the Civil War Era were made on a very thin newsprint-type paper. These appear to be made of the vellum-like material often seen in reproduction broadside posters from the 1950s-1970s.

I do see facsimile broadsides sold at trade shows as decorations, framed and priced for $50-$100 typically. Original broadsides from the Civil War are quite valuable and quite varied as to content and size. You can search the archives of auction houses such as James D Julia Americana sales or Heritage Auction Galleries for original examples that have sold over the past few years. 


John, I purchased what was advertised to be a Civil War presentation sword to Henry Bingham who won the Medal of Honor in the Battle of the Wilderness. I bought it at what should have been a higher price than I should have paid. It got me thinking it is not authentic. I have a four-day window to return the sword if itís not authentic.

JS: You are lucky you bought this from a reputable auction with guarantee of authenticity. Not only is the inscription not correct, the entire sword is not authentic. It is a well-made facsimile, made most likely in the last 20-25 years.

There have been a couple of articles written about these clever copies made 20 years ago or so. I recall a very good article written by sword collector Don Ball and I believe published in North-South Trader Civil War Collectors magazine when these facsimiles first turned up. I am not sure if they are still being made (Spain or India), but I often see them in antique venues and even in some large collections and museums! Inscriptions are usually to KIA (killed in action) heroes or winners of MOH. 


John Sexton is an independent appraiser and expert of Civil War memorabilia. He is an accredited member of various appraiser organizations. He can be contacted at 770-329-4984 or www.CivilWarDealer.com. If you have a Civil War item for him to appraise, email a photo and a description to seantiquing@go-star.com .

 

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