Archive of Charles Edward Minor, African American Sailor
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:50)
Arms & Militaria, Science & Technology
Gary Piattoni, Inc.
GUEST: This material is about Charles Edward Minor, who was my great-grandfather. He was born in Virginia and joined the Navy in Washington, D.C., in around 1887. The material has been in my family for a number of years. It was compiled by my grandmother, Joan Minor, who has really done a magnificent job of archiving and collecting all of the materials that I've brought.
APPRAISER: What type of different ships did he serve on?
GUEST: 1887-- in and around that time, I think he started on the Dale, went to the Franklin, the New Hampshire, finished up with the Constellation, but was on the Buffalo, the Brooklyn, the Vermont, a number of ships. Served in various wars, as far as the Spanish-American War; the Boxer Uprising, or Boxer Rebellion; World War I. He'd been around the world approximately five times.
APPRAISER: He was a busy sailor.
APPRAISER: Well, it really is a pretty amazing group. As a sailor during the Spanish-American War and World War I, he really did have a lot of different ships that he served on. What rank did he eventually reach in the service?
GUEST: Well, in 1907, he was appointed as a petty officer, but in 1917, he reached the rank of chief petty officer, which was pretty much unheard of. There were four African-American chief petty officers at that time. His total service to this country was in and around 34 years. We're very proud of that, and I think that there's some folks that should know in this country that African Americans served in a very meaningful capacity in the armed forces at that time.
APPRAISER: Absolutely. And here is a great cabinet card of your great-grandfather. We see him in his sailor's uniform. This would have been from the Spanish-American War period.
APPRAISER: And then here is his... basically the record of his enlistment and the record of his service that he would have carried with him, which includes the different ships he served on, but it also includes his promotion to chief petty officer right here, that was in 1917. The enlistment is actually printed on vellum, or sheepskin.
APPRAISER: Even as a group that belonged to a white sailor, this would be quite unique because of all the service that the sailor saw. But as an African-American sailor, it's really amazing and rare, as you say. And there's much interest in preserving the heritage of African-American soldiers, sailors, et cetera.
APPRAISER: Conservatively, at auction, for the enlistment book with the record and the different ships he served on, including the two promotions, together with the original cabinet card from the Spanish-American War, we're talking $2,500 to $3,500 at auction. And I'm just really glad you brought it in. Incredibly rare.
GUEST: Just very happy to share it with this country.
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