1861 Civil War Wool Socks
Appraised Value: $1,500 - $2,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (-1:-1:52)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: These socks were given to my father by a lady in Los Angeles, mid-1960s. She had no relatives to pass them on to. They're originally from the Civil War, Virginia State Army. The socks were darned by an aunt of a brevet colonel in the Virginia State Army. He never wore the socks because he was afraid that if he was to be caught, that he would be persecuted for trespassing on their flag.
APPRAISER: When you look at these socks, you notice that there's 34 stars on this American flag. 34 stars is going to be the very beginning of the war. Now, I think it's interesting that you said that this gentleman was from Virginia, but I think that he may have served in the United States Army. The reason I believe that is the American flag here is up on the calf, where you could readily see it. If we look down on the bottom, there is, in fact, a Confederate flag, and this is called the First National. It's the very first flag for the Confederate government. We have seven stars, which is going to be 1861. It's going to be the very beginning of the war. They have three national flags. As the war continues on, they change it. They decide that the First National flag looks too much like the U.S. flag, so then they go and change the flag altogether, and they put the battle flag in the canton, and then it had a white border. But then, as the flag furled, that battle flag would close up. So then, suddenly, it just looks like a white flag, which, obviously, would mean surrender. At the very end of the war, what they did is they kept the white body, they kept the Confederate battle flag in the canton, but they put a red stripe on the end, so even if it was furling, it would not be all white. I think what's going on is these are homespun woolen socks. I think they were made kind of as a folky, patriotic thing, and I believe the Confederate flag is on the heel of the sock because it's literally to stamp out the rebellion, and your pride is on your calf where you would display it. If you saw a pair of socks and they were nice woolen socks from the American Civil War, maybe $100, $150, something like that. But because of this wonderful folky aspect, if I had these in my gallery, I would be thinking $1,500, maybe $2,000.
APPRAISER: I think they're fantastic. I'm just glad to see them. I mean, you never see anything like this: cloth items from the Civil War. They're just... they're hard to come by.
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