Confederate Georgia Pike, ca. 1861
Appraised Value: $1,500
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (-1:43:34)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: Found it about 30 years ago. A fellow had it in his attic, almost tripped over it, and I worked out a deal with him and bought it, brought it home, and about the only thing I know is it's a Joe Brown or Georgia Pike.
APPRAISER: Well, you know that it's called a Joe Brown pike or a Georgia Pike, and I think what's fascinating about it is the story behind how it gets the name. Joe Brown is the governor of Georgia during the American Civil War, and early on, in February of 1862, he publishes this huge broadside that says, "To the mechanics of Georgia," and basically what he's asking for is these pikes, just like the one we're looking at here today. In the letter, he says, "I need to arm every able-bodied person in the state of Georgia," because he is afraid there's going to be an imminent coming of the Union troops into the state. It seems like kind of an archaic weapon, but in his broadside, he explains that when the enemy runs out of bullets or when they can't fire anymore, their muskets are empty, then you can advance on them with a pike and their bayonets would be useless because of this link that you have. He intended to arm children, women, men, anybody that he could. If the Union soldiers were roaming throughout Georgia, well, a young child could even sneak out from behind a bush and stab a Yankee soldier with a pike. By this time, soldiers and armies are armed with really advanced weapons. We have the repeating rifle, the revolver, there's cannons, an artillery piece, and here in the South, in the state of Georgia, they're building pikes. The state of Georgia had more pikes manufactured than all the other Confederate states combined. At the very end of the Civil War, a Union soldier who'd been a part of capturing a fort on the coast of South Carolina, wrote home and said, "It's a very sad thing to see that the Confederate army has armed themselves with such ancient weapons," and he actually thought it was a Medieval weapon and this is what they had to use to protect themselves. Do you have any idea who made this one, or... ?
GUEST: I don't.
APPRAISER: It is an unmarked specimen. It's by a pattern from the governor by a local blacksmith or a mechanic. Any idea what you paid for it at the time?
GUEST: Around $100 or $125.
APPRAISER: Well, the haft is in perfect condition. The pike itself, the metal parts are all really wonderful, a beautiful patina. And on today's market, they trade around $1,500.
GUEST: Oh, great. That really surprises me. The truth is, under the circumstances that he's mentioning, it is a viable weapon. I wouldn't want to fight with it.
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