1872 - 1876 7th Cavalry Archive
Appraised Value: $25,000
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:53)
Arms & Militaria
Bonhams & Butterfields, SF
GUEST: Well, it was passed down through my family. It came from my great-grandfather. It was letters that were written to him from his friend George Brown. They went to school together in Baltimore, Maryland, before George joined the army.
APPRAISER: So explain to me who this is in this photograph.
GUEST: That is George Brown. He was with the Seventh Cavalry and he was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
APPRAISER: This is an archive of a Corporal George Brown who served in the Seventh Cavalry with Custer and died at the battlefield on June 25, 1876, and correspondence after the fact from a friend of his, Private Kim, who served with him, to your great-grandfather.
APPRAISER: The Battle of Little Big Horn is a pivotal moment in American history, and so anything that sort of survives from the Seventh Cavalry and that event is pretty special. And what is this here?
GUEST: That's a map of what the battlefield looked like after the battle was over. It was made by John Kim. He was with the Major Reno group. And what we have here is this is actually George Brown's appointment as a corporal in the Seventh Cavalry.
APPRAISER: That's pretty impressive.
GUEST: And this is George Brown's documentation of his trips to the Black Hills with Custer.
APPRAISER: Yes, it is.
GUEST: And do you know this letter over here?
APPRAISER: Yes, that was from Kim telling about finding George's body and being with Custer and E Company. The letter is dated July 20, 1876, and as you probably know--
GUEST: It was after the battle.
APPRAISER: --the battle was on June 25. So here you have notes of his travels with Custer up until the battle. Then he died at the battle and then his friend continued his correspondence.
GUEST: Yes, that's correct.
APPRAISER: Yeah, it's really wonderful, and I mean, I haven't had time to look through all these letters, but they're really special. I have, I believe it's a total of 23 letters all told. Do you have any idea of what this material is worth?
GUEST: I had someone tell me that they might be worth $10,000 and up.
APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. Yeah, well, I would think that $10,000 is a fairly conservative value, and I think that in the right environment and the right circumstances, the whole archive could be worth around $25,000 or more.
GUEST: That's very good.
APPRAISER: That's a very special gift that your mother left you.
GUEST: Yes, it is, certainly is.
APPRAISER: But what you should do is you should sort out all the documents. You should try to have them transcribed so that they're more readable-- because they're in the antique script-- and then you should document your family history, and that will really support the value. And it should be a lot of fun, too.
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