- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
- 68,000 more file for unemployment — in one week
- Michigan bans in-state insurers from covering abortion
- Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats to pass budget: ‘Embrace the suck’
- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- Sen. Mike Lee: We must stop ‘the prez’ from acting like the queen
Civil War sentiment raises value of relics
150 years since 1st shot fired
Question of the Day
Helping set the scene are the $4,700 pine officer’s chest from the 2nd Mississippi Regiment and two bullets from the Spotsylvania Courthouse that collided in midflight. Also, the rare script “C” Confederate cavalry button unearthed in Goochland County is available for $2,499.
One hundred fifty years after the first shells fell on Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C., Civil War memorabilia remains a lucrative business. Sales are up 20 percent at Mr. Hundley’s shop from last year. He attributes renewed interest in the war to the sesquicentennial.
“It’s a contest that still captures the imagination of the American public,” Mr. Hundley said. “Any one of us who would’ve been alive at the time would be on one side or the other.”
The fort, designed to protect the harbor’s entrance, was incomplete. It mounted only 60 of a possible 135 cannon and faced dwindling supplies of food and ammunition.
By April 13, U.S. Maj. Robert Anderson surrendered the fort, evacuated his troops and ended the Civil War’s first battle. The ensuing four bloody years still grip the attention of collectors.
“The 150th anniversary, that’s going to recharge a lot of people’s interest in the Civil War,” said Brian Lown, who runs Hampton Roads Relics in Virginia Beach. “They’re fascinated by history. There were so many skirmishes and so many battles. You read these personal accounts and they’re almost like fiction. ‘Wow, this really happened?’”
Added Pleasant Bagby of Virginia Civil War Relics in Charlottesville, Va.: “There’s a passion for this stuff because it played out in their backyards. … There’s the idea of having a piece of what their ancestors may have held on to, part of their own folklore.”
The April 15 release of Robert Redford’s film “The Conspirator,” chronicling the aftermath of President Lincoln’s assassination, also is expected to drive interest in the war.
Buttons and belt buckles, particularly those marked U.S. or C.S., and bullets are the most popular items. Also attracting attention are campsite relics — lead Minie balls carved into unique objects, harmonica reeds, bullet molds, chess sets and ax heads — because they make the conflict personal.
“With serious collectors, if they have something they need or want, they will find a way to buy it,” said Angelo Scarleto, who works at the Union Drummer Boy in Gettysburg, Pa.
Even what appears to be an everyday item can command a significant price. Take the buttons. A common Union button may sell for $20 or $30, but anything Confederate commands a premium. Find a button with the gilt covering intact and shank undamaged from, say, Florida, Georgia or Mississippi, and the price could approach $2,000 to $5,000. Buckle prices zoom higher.
All of that goes back to the relative rarity of Confederate gear and something more.
“There’s a certain romance attached to the Confederacy,” said Ross Smith, who operates Shenandoah Trader in New Market, Va., and specializes in Civil War books and relic display cases.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- FENNO: Honestly, Mike Shanahan, why should we believe you now?
- Robert Griffin III surprised at being benched by Mike Shanahan
- FENNO: High schooler Chris Cotillo balances MLB scoops, Spanish homework
- Turmoil now a major part of Redskins' game plan
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return to Redskins
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Selfie at heart of Obama fiasco to stay secret
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Fake interpreter at Mandela service: 'Sorry,' I have schizophrenia
- DIVEST! Oil is the new apartheid on college campuses
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow