General Cox Militaria, ca. 1860
Appraised Value: $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:41)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: Well, they came into my possession through my mother. The original owner, Jacob Dolson Cox, is my great-great-grandfather. The sword always sat at the top of our bookcase in our home in Ohio.
APPRAISER: Tell me what you know about General Cox.
GUEST: Well, what I know is that he was a general in the Civil War and that he later became the governor of Ohio. And then he became the Secretary of the Interior under President Grant. I also know that he resigned from being Secretary of the Interior, um, apparently because he was in disagreement with some of Grant's policies.
APPRAISER: Okay, okay. We have a group of items here that actually on their own have value, okay, like a general's shoulder board, for instance. This is a type of thing, even if we don't understand who the individual owner is, might bring $1,000 or $1,500. This is a set of presentation-grade spurs. They have the eagle head design on them. The spurs are brass and then they're gold-gilded. They're very beautiful. It's the type of thing you might expect to privately purchase at one of the major fancy retailers. The spurs would bring $3,000 or $4,000. Then we have a model 1850 staff and field officer's sword. It's Army regulation. The blade is steel, the scabbard is steel and it has brass mounts.
GUEST: Is there anything on it that signifies that it was an officer's sword?
APPRAISER: It has the pattern for an officer of 1850 and it has the large "U.S." in the basket, which tells us it's for a staff officer. And I have a feeling he spent most of his time in the field. He didn't go buy a sword and get a big presentation put on it. It's actually left plain, which tells me this guy was probably a fighter. This was a gift-- that's the fanciest thing we see. Everything else is just left standard. The shoulder board-- knowing it's General Cox's-- goes from around $1,500 up to about $2,000 to $2,500. Okay, the presentation on the box that tells us these were presented to General Cox takes the spurs from $3,000 to $4,000 up to maybe $8,000, okay? The sword-- a $1,200 sword, without knowing who owns it-- in relation to the other two items, the sword moves up to around $3,000. And this is what's important: write down your family oral history that this is, in fact, the sword that he carried. The box will handle itself because his name is on it. The other two items can't speak. So if you take all three items and then combine them with the image, now we don't just have three items that were used; we can put them in context to the owner, we can see him and understand him. If I had them in my gallery, I'd want $15,000 for it.
APPRAISER: Yeah, it's a great set.
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