Civil War Bugle & Photographs
Appraised Value: $14,000 - $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:03)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: I don't know a lot about it except that it's from the Civil War. My great-grandfather went into the military when he was only 16 years old. Was probably rather smallish and so he got put to work as a bugler.
APPRAISER: Did you get the photographs at the same time was this...?
GUEST: No, I found those later in among some of my father's things after he died.
APPRAISER: Well, that had to be pretty exciting to find the two images
APPRAISER: After you'd had the bugle for so long. It is an American Civil War bugle. One of the reasons that we know that is, it's very properly marked. Says "Stratton & Foote, New York." And they actually had a contract with the United States government to provide musical instruments, bugles specifically. So this is a readily identifiable object. What's really interesting is when we lead into the photographs. You said he was 16 years of age, and that just kind of tugs at the heart of anybody who's interested in the American Civil War. But we have a opportunity here through the writing that's behind the images themselves to discover all this information that you gave it, and know and bear out that that's in fact true. If we look at the top image, it's marked "John Dyer Welsh." Gives us his regiment-- Iowa Cavalry. His age-- 16 years. We look over at the photograph, he's carrying this bugle. He has a cavalry saber-- basic accoutrements. Behind him we see this wonderful backdrop of a fort with the cannonballs. The writing that's behind the images helps us identify specifically who this individual is. We move down to the bottom image, it says "Mr. George Benson." And it goes on to state that he is a cousin of Mr. Welsh,
APPRAISER: and that they have served in the same regiment. And we look at his photograph, we'll see the same backdrop. You just know they went in together on the same day to have the image taken. He also is carrying a cavalry saber. It may actually be the same one. They may be... being used as props. One of the things that makes his photograph special is, he's actually holding what's called a Starr carbine. And this is a gun that was made-- purchased by the government, carried by Union cavalrymen, but very rarely do we see a hard image-- these are ambrotypes, by the way-- that has a carbine in it. So that's a very, very special feature. All of these pieces individually do have value, but in a whole with a history behind them it increases the value tremendously. I was talking with some of my colleagues and I was trying to get a feel for what they thought this was worth as a group, and they were coming back with numbers between $8,000 and $10,000. Personally, I tend to think that there may be more value there. I think that if some proper research is done on each of these individuals, and we can lead a little bit more of a window into their lives and understand where they went and the service that they had, it might bring the value up some. I think retail, maybe, it might be more between the $14,000 and $15,000 range. If I were to insure it, I certainly would at least insure it for the $15,000. It's the perfect scenario for a group of Civil War collectibles. You don't see them tied so tight.
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