Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


Support ANTIQUES ROADSHOW by supporting public television! Give Today
  • ON TV
  • SHOP
  • The Roadshow Archive

    Confederate Belt Buckle, ca. 1861

    Appraised Value:


    Appraised on: July 31, 2004

    Appraised in: Memphis, Tennessee

    Appraised by: Rafael Eledge

    Category: Arms & Militaria

    Episode Info: Memphis, Hour 1 (#907)

    Originally Aired: February 14, 2005

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 1  

    More Like This:

    Form: Belt Buckle
    Material: Brass
    Period / Style: Civil War, 19th Century
    Value Range: $4,500

    Related Links:

    Understanding Our Appraisals
    Useful tips to keep in mind when watching ANTIQUES ROADSHOW


    Appraisal Video: (2:23)


    Appraised By:

    Rafael Eledge
    Arms & Militaria
    Shiloh Civil War Relics

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: Well, I found it about 40 years ago in my great-grandfather's house in an old trunk up in the attic. It was broken, and I didn't figure it was worth a whole lot.

    APPRAISER: Well, what it is, is a Confederate States belt buckle-- Confederate, Civil War buckle. We have the letters "CS" on the front of the buckle. And did he serve North or South?

    GUEST: He served in the North.

    APPRAISER: Well, surprisingly, that happens fairly often. The soldiers would want something to take home as the spoils of war that you hear about. And you mentioned that it was broken. Uh, and on the back of the buckle it has two of the original three hooks. The buckle is made of stamped brass, which is a very quick way to manufacture buckles. They had to have these buckles in the field. They didn't have time to nicely finish every corner, and what they did, they took the scraps of brass left over from stamping the buckles and they'd make the hooks. If you notice that the two hooks that we have are made of that scrap brass. The Union buckles, you have the stamped face, but they went in and they lead-filled that back to make it more sturdy, last longer; but these-- necessity overran craftsmanship. This is the style that's actually called the regulation style-- a simple border around it made of the stamped brass. Have you ever had anybody give you a value on it?

    GUEST: No, I don't figure it's worth a whole lot, because it is broken.

    APPRAISER: What would you guess?

    GUEST: Well, I figured, you know, stretching it, maybe $50.

    APPRAISER: Even with the hook being gone, it would still probably bring about $4,500.

    GUEST: Oh, jeez! Excuse me.

    APPRAISER: Because condition is everything when you get to that price level. With the other hook, this buckle would easily bring $6,000 to $6,500. But it's a beautiful belt buckle and it's one that any Civil War collector, North or South, would love to have in their collection.

    GUEST: Goodness. I shouldn't polish it, then?

    APPRAISER: No. I love this color. It's nice and rich. You've got 140 years worth of history on it, and every time you clean a piece, you take that history off of it. So leave it just like that.

    GUEST: The kids are going to have trouble deciding who's going to get it.

    WGBH This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
    ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
    WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
    PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    ROADSHOW on Facebook ROADSHOW Tweets ROADSHOW on YouTube