Confederate Belt Buckle with Stars

Value (2013) | $10,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
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GUEST:
Brought this Confederate belt buckle that I found in my father's cotton field about two miles east of Selma, Alabama. I think it was 1963, in the fall. I was out hunting and found a clump of dirt that looked like a piece of coal, and it was strange for something that... be out of place, and so I picked it up and brought it home and busted it open, and this belt buckle was in it.

APPRAISER:
And what do you know about the buckle itself?

GUEST:
Well, I just know it's a Confederate belt buckle. It has 11 stars with the "CS" on it, and I imagine the 11 stars stand for the 11 Confederate States. That's all the information I know about it.

APPRAISER:
This is one of the most desirable style of Confederate buckles ever made. It's made by a firm named Leach and Rigdon. They were in Memphis, Tennessee, and they moved out of Memphis because Memphis fell so early in the Civil War. They moved to Columbus, Mississippi. And so it could have been made either place.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They were one of the premier military makers for the Confederate government during the American Civil War. This is a cast-brass buckle. They would take a sand mold and actually mold the buckle out of molten brass, and they would cast the hooks at the same time. They would be sticking straight up and they would be hammered down after it cooled. But you can imagine when they're making that sand mold, the hooks get air bubbles in them. And a little air bubble inside that small hook caused it to break just like that.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Oftentimes, this buckle is found missing hooks.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It looks like you've been wearing it.

GUEST:
Right. As soon as I found it, two of the prongs were cut off with the plow point, and so I fashioned these on here so I could wear it, and I wore it for around 20 years until I was offered so much money for it I decided it was time to put it up.

APPRAISER:
As you mentioned, we have your alteration so you could wear it. I'm going to get onto you for that. You shouldn't have done that, but that's okay, at least you found it.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
Have you ever had the buckle appraised?

GUEST:
No, I've just been offered money for it. When I first started wearing it, I'd wear it to gun shows, and the first show I went to, a man offered me $300, and I thought that was pretty good-- $300 belt buckle. And that was in '65. And from then on, about once a year, somebody'd offer me a little bit more money for it. And I think in about '85 or '86, I was offered $3,000.

APPRAISER:
$3,000.

GUEST:
And I decided then it was time to retire the belt to a vault.

APPRAISER:
So you had to go to the store and get another belt to wear.

GUEST:
I had to get another belt to hold my pants up.

APPRAISER:
If the buckle had all the original hooks, I have sold them anywhere from $17,000 to $25,000. Even though it's had the hooks replaced on it, I would ask between $10,000 to $12,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
Not bad.

GUEST:
Not bad for finding something in the cotton field.

APPRAISER:
I got to know where that cotton field's at now.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Update (2013)
$10,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
Appraised value (2006)
$10,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
Event
Mobile, AL (July 08, 2006)
Period
Civil War
Material
Brass
December 23, 2013: We contacted appraiser Rafael Eledge for an updated appraisal in today's market.

Current Appraised Value: $10,000 - $12,000 (Unchanged)

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