1775 Revolutionary War Canteen
Appraised Value: $3,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:26)
Arms & Militaria
J. Christopher Mitchell American Antiques & Militaria
GUEST: I know very little about it. My father was a collector of flintlock and percussion rifles and all the paraphernalia that went with it. He used to belong to a group called "The Powderhorn Clan." And they used to order things and trade things, and so I have no clue how he got this canteen.
APPRAISER: The nice thing about this canteen is it was used during the American Revolution. There are not many available. It's not something that you just see around. One of the reasons I know this canteen dates to the American Revolution is right here. If we look on the side, we're going to see this tiny little pin.
APPRAISER: This goes out of favor after the American Revolution almost immediately, and it's replaced with leather clasps so they could put a bigger and healthier sling in there. Now, obviously you know that this strap is not original to the canteen.
APPRAISER: But it is sort of indicative of what we might have seen. Another really interesting feature is we have this "S.N." These are the initials for the original owner-- we don't know his name-- and then he received this canteen in 1775. Now, this paint was not applied in 1775.
GUEST: He did this after the war, kind of a commemorative to carrying the canteen.
APPRAISER: But one of the reasons that we know that the initials were S.N. during the war also, if we turn it around and we look underneath the newer paint, we'll see where he had scratched his initials in-- "S.N."
APPRAISER: He paid a professional artist to paint the canteen, put on this patriotic flag, and if we look here on the bottom, we'll see these initials. And those are the initials of the artist.
GUEST: Oh, I see.
APPRAISER: It's in really nice shape, and it's got a really wonderful folky paint. If you look at the later canteens-- which are made almost exactly like this, but again, they'll have those little leather straps-- if they're not painted with, like, a fancy eagle, which can bring a lot of money, but if it's just a nice, plain canteen, they're worth around $300. Because this canteen was made during the American Revolution and for the American Revolution, this canteen is actually worth about $3,000 retail.
GUEST: Oh, my word.
APPRAISER: It's a very nice thing.
GUEST: Oh, that's wonderful. I'm certainly going to have to change my insurance.
APPRAISER(laughing): That's a good idea.
GUEST: I'm amazed. I had no idea. No idea.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2013 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.