Appraisal Video: (3:06)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: These are badges that were handed down from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, my father, and then my sisters and I and cousins, actually, all have some that we cherish.
APPRAISER: What do you know about the gentleman who owned them?
GUEST: That is my great-grandfather. And that was taken towards the end of his life.
APPRAISER: And he was, I presume, a Confederate soldier?
GUEST: He was a Confederate soldier, and at the time of active service, he was Captain Dashiell, and I believe his rank went higher after the war.
APPRAISER: Do we have some idea of who he served under?
GUEST: He served under Nathan Bedford Forrest.
APPRAISER: Okay. So after the war, he's a member of the United Confederate Veterans. They liked to get together, to meet, reminisce about the war. There's some politics that's involved and also health care issues and pensions. But they really liked to go, wear special uniforms in remembrance of their time in the war, and they created these wonderful badges. Now, an interesting thing about these particular badges is these are for someone that's on the staff, and that's very special. So we have here a staff badge from Louisville, Kentucky, for 1900. And then here we have a staff badge from Memphis, for 1901. And then in the middle, we have what's actually a very unusual badge. And this says, "Forrest Cavalry Corps, Memphis, 1901," so it's the same meeting. This is a special badge because not everyone could have it. You actually had to serve with General Forrest, who was considered at this time in history a real true hero of the South. Another interesting aspect is if we look at the photograph that you brought in, this is not him in his Civil War uniform. This is his Confederate Veterans' uniform.
GUEST: I did not know that.
APPRAISER: And if we look very closely, we can see that he actually still has Tennessee state seal buttons on. So it's kind of nice, because when we look at this photograph, we can actually see what he looked like at the time he was wearing these badges and the uniform that he carried. Another interesting thing that you do have that's from this same time frame, after the war, a little earlier, there's a letter from Nathan Bedford Forrest to Mrs. Dashiell. And that's also a nice object. If you take these two staff badges in context with this gentleman in his uniform, these would easily sell for around $500 apiece, okay? The letter would probably sell on its own for around $2,500. Oddly enough, in recent times, this letter was capable of bringing around $3,500, but the market is a little heavy with Forrest signatures right now.
GUEST: Is it?
APPRAISER: But what it does is, it ties just this little ribbon... This one would bring $3,500 on its own.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: And I think as a group, in context to the original owner, in a retail situation, they might sell for as much as $10,000. They're really nice, they're quite rare. And you can imagine these are very flashy, and the higher you are in the hierarchy of the United Confederate Veterans,
GUEST: Oh, my gosh.
APPRAISER: the more flashy your ribbon is going to be. And this would have been a coveted ribbon.
GUEST: Oh, my gosh, that is absolutely wonderful news.