Civil War Uniform Group: Hat, Coat & Pants, ca. 1864
Appraised Value: $15,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (3:00)
Arms & Militaria
Shiloh Civil War Relics
GUEST: This is a Civil War uniform that is my husband's two-time great-grandfather's.
APPRAISER: Who did he serve with during the war?
GUEST: The Union Army.
APPRAISER: We have the coat, the hat, and his pants. Of the pieces, what do you think's the rarest?
GUEST: Well, my guess would be either the hat or the pants.
APPRAISER: And they are, and the reason being when you come home from war, you didn't always wear the coat, but the pants and the hat the soldiers wore a lot. So they'd wear them out and throw them away. We have the eagle button with the "I" on it, which stands for "infantry". We have the blue on the shoulder straps of the uniform, which lets us know, again, that it's infantry. We have the two bars in the shoulder strap that let us know that it was worn by a captain. And what's wonderful is we have a picture of him wearing this coat. The coat is a single-breasted frock coat, and it has the traits that we like to see in a Civil War coat. It has functioning cuffs, it has the nice balloon sleeves, and it actually has pockets in the back of the coat.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: This is what they call a McDowell-style forage cap. On the inside of it, it has the maker's label of Baker & McKenney, who were located in New York City. Laura Baker was one of the few ladies that owned manufacturing companies during the Civil War. The pants are what's special to me, because there's several thing that you look for on a pair of Civil War pants that you don't see on later pants. We don't have a back pocket. We have this wonderful tin strap adjuster. We have, inside the leg, they reinforced the front because it rubs against the boot, and that's one of the places it wears out first on a pair of pants. They've still got very nice color. This is about as nice as you could hope for a pair of pants that actually saw service to be in, condition-wise. When did you get them?
GUEST: It's been in the family forever. My husband and I took possession of them just a few weeks ago.
APPRAISER: Where had they been stored?
GUEST: In a steamer trunk in a barn.
APPRAISER: Glad you got that steamer trunk out of that barn.
GUEST: Yeah, we are too.
APPRAISER: They're all worth about the same individually. The coat, the hat and the pants are worth about $4,000 apiece.
GUEST: (laughing) Okay. Did not expect that, okay.
APPRAISER: And that's if we didn't know who owned them. Because we know who owned them, we know what he did--his service was an impressive one-- as a group, it's something I would insure for $15,000.
GUEST: (laughing) I had no idea. That's amazing, that's amazing. Thank you.
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