Two Civil War Canteens & Civil War Book
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (2:43)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: Well, this is part of a collection of Civil War items that has been passed down in my family for, uh, several generations. These are items from a collection from my great- great-grandfather.
GUEST: Often here on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, people bring in knives or swords or pistols that were actually manufactured in the South, but we find them where they belonged to soldiers who fought for the Union army. So, they were obviously traded, bought, bartered, some kind of souvenir item. That's what's really nice about this, because very seldom do we actually know how this transpired. Here we have a standard Union bull's-eye canteen. This company, Hall, made a couple hundred thousand of them. Over here, we have the Confederate tin drum canteen. Again, probably made prewar, probably a militia type thing, but it was just put into service because that's what was available. One of the reasons that we know this is Confederate is, obviously, it says it's a Confederate canteen here on the tag that your dad or someone in your family made. You have a Johnny Reb, and you have a Billy Yank. And this is kind of a colloquial term or jargon of the day for a Confederate soldier. A Union soldier might call him a Johnny Reb. On the canteen, written also in old pencil, basically says the same thing here, that this canteen was exchanged at the Battle of the Wilderness from a member of the 14th Tennessee for his Union- style canteen. So, what it does is it takes this inanimate object and actually gives it a little bit of a life. And it also shows that even in the animosity of war, people are bartering. But it really makes it come alive. The Battle of the Wilderness was a horrible event. The armies are really kind of fractured. It's called the Wilderness because they really don't know where the lines are. It's a devastating day, but here in the middle of it, this little exchange has taken place. The other thing that I liked is you have the little testament, and it actually gives us a photograph. So, that ties it all together, and that's what really excites a collector. A standard Union bull's-eye canteen like this might sell for around $200 without any history. A Confederate tin drum canteen with no history and without the sling... maybe it would sell for $400 to $700, but because we have the wonderful note, we have a face, this canteen is actually probably worth more like $2,000 retail. You know, so $200 retail for this, $2,000 retail for that, but as a group, with the book, maybe $3,000 retail.
APPRAISER: So, it really, really adds to the value, and it's what collectors desire. They want the story. That's what they're buying.
APPRAISER: And I think it's a great story.
GUEST: Wow, that's-that's... that's a little bit more than I thought it might be worth.
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