Civil War Federal Group Tintype, ca. 1865
Appraised Value: $1,000 - $1,200 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:38)
GUEST: Well, we had a neighbor of ours who used to be an amateur archaeologist. And he gave me and my wife this tintype a long time ago. We just kept it in the closet forever, but I know that it is a Civil War picture. I'm not certain how old it is or what they represent.
APPRAISER: Well, you're absolutely right. It is a Civil War tintype. The Civil War was really the first war where photography was a factor. The gentlemen who made that their business would follow the troops into the field. They could have their photographs taken in towns, they could have their photographs taken with traveling wagons. In many cases, they're fairly boring images. It'll be a soldier wearing his uniform. Maybe he has a weapon or two. But there's not really a whole lot to learn from most of them unless you know the individuals' names. Okay. In this case, however, there is a lot going on. These are most likely western federal soldiers, meaning gentlemen that fought west of the Appalachian Mountains.
APPRAISER: Their clothing tells us that these guys are wearing a real mix of uniforms. There are four-button sack coats in here. This fellow over here is wearing an interesting shell jacket. This gentleman right here has a fantastic civilian hat. He's wearing a civilian shirt too. We've got a gentleman here who appears to be carrying a plant revolver, which is a fairly scarce Civil War revolver. They have the American flag in the background...
APPRAISER: Which has a lot of collector appeal. If you look closely at this fellow right here, he's wearing an ID badge to make sure that his remains are identified after the battle if there's something like that.
GUEST: Like dog tags today, huh?
APPRAISER: Exactly like dog tags today. Did you have an idea what you thought it might be worth?
GUEST: No, sir, not at all.
APPRAISER: Your average Civil War image with just a soldier and a musket or something like that is typically about a $100 image. Images that are of unusual subject matter, group images and images with character. If you just look at these guys, they look like they have a date with Jefferson Davis himself. An image like this in a retail setting today would be approximately $1,000 to $1,200.
GUEST: Wow... wow. Never had any clue that it would be worth that much. I sure thank you. That's very interesting. Thank you very much. Appreciate it a lot.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 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.