Veteran’s Coat with Civil War Buttons

Value (2008) | $7,000 Retail

GUEST:
I brought in a Civil War Confederate Cavalry frock that belonged to John Donelson. I bought it from a dealer right here in Wichita.

APPRAISER:
Did the dealer tell you from what time frame Donelson had the coat?

GUEST:
About 1861 to 1865.

APPRAISER:
John Donelson was recruited by Rip Ford, because they were both Texas Rangers, into the Second Texas Cavalry. Second Texas Cavalry patrolled the border along the Rio Grande. How long ago did you get the coat?

GUEST:
I got the coat 15 years ago. I spent $3,000.

APPRAISER:
Have you ever noticed the buttons?

GUEST:
Well, I knew that they were cavalry buttons.

APPRAISER:
They're the block C. They were actually made in England and brought over. They ran the blockade and were put on cavalry coats of this style. As for the coat itself, it has quite a bit of wear. If you notice, there's wear where it's been patched on the sleeves. There's wear everywhere except the thread on the buttons. Did you ever notice that?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
It has all 14 buttons intact. But there's no wear on the threads. Do you know what causes this?

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
It's because we have a veteran's coat with Civil War original buttons put on the coat. So we have a wonderful thing that was worn during the veteran's time frame-- 1890s, 1880s, around through there-- for the United Confederate Veterans, the organization for the veterans of the Civil War that were in the Confederacy. It's a nice coat. It's a good early coat, and it's actually cut very similar to what the Civil War coat is, which is one of the reasons the gentleman probably felt that it was an original coat that sold it to you. Because it's an easy mistake. There's a few things you look for. This one is machine-sewn. A lot of the early coats like this are hand-sewn. And the buttons are nice and early buttons. They're 1862-63 production. At the time, 15 years ago, you paid too much for the coat. But, on the bright side, now these buttons are $400 apiece. So if we go ahead and add up the 14 buttons, at retail of $400 apiece, you have about $6,000 worth of buttons and you still have a thousand-dollar veteran's coat. So you have a $7,000 return on your $3,000 investment.

GUEST:
Great.

APPRAISER:
Works out perfect. Those are nice buttons.

GUEST:
Yeah.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Shiloh Civil War Relics
Savannah, TN
Appraised value (2008)
$7,000 Retail
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Form
Button, Clothes
Material
Cloth, Metal

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