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High-end collectors target the unusual. Mr. Bagby recently obtained a set of Civil War body armor excavated near Fredericksburg, Va. The two pieces of iron fit around the torso and were secured by brass fittings. Having never seen a similar relic, he’s still trying to assess the price.

Artillery shells fascinate a segment of collectors. Mr. Lown’s website offerings mirror the variety of explosives used during the war, including a 6-pound solid shot recovered in Charleston, a 32-pound mortar round and a 2.94-inch Hotchkiss shell with a spot for a wooden fuse adapter.

Mr. Hundley said the artifacts are considered valuable for a simple reason: “A lot of folks just want a piece of history.”