19th-Century Spanish American War Collection

Value (2004) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

It belonged to a great-uncle of our family, John F. Dekiere. He passed away numerous years ago, and his wife presented them to our family approximately 35 years ago.

And you've just kept them packed away?

They've been in a box in a closet.

Okay, well, let me tell you a little bit about what you have here. The piece that excited me the most was his hat. This is called a model 1889 U.S. campaign hat. They were worn by American troops in the Philippine Islands, the Spanish-American War, Cuba and so on. The thing about this hat that's so wonderful, though, is your uncle decorated it. He's put where he was. He's got Manila, the Philippine Islands, Camp Dewey, Fort Bliss, Texas. And I will turn around the other side here. He's got the Hawaiian Islands. One thing that really stood out to me, though, is he's got a little Spanish crest on here, so it's apparently a little souvenir he picked up in the Philippine Islands. The hat is really nice. It's been kept flat, obviously in a trunk over the years. It's very complete. It's basically a log of where he served during the occupation of the Philippine Islands and the Philippine Insurrection, and it's really unusual to see that. Then of course we've got a roster here that shows his name on here and that he did serve in the 18th U.S. Infantry during the Spanish-American War and then the occupation of the Philippine Islands. We've got his Spanish-American War campaign medal, given for army personnel, and the Philippine Insurrection medal that was also part of the occupation of the Philippine Islands. Most of these other things here are just souvenirs it looks like he picked up. He's got a Spanish engineer's belt buckle, 18th U.S. Infantry hat badge. But the other thing that's really unique about this group is this pistol that he carried in the war, and his initials are carved into the grips of the pistol. It's a model 1873 U.S. Army Colt. It's martially marked. It's got "U.S." on it next to the Colt Factory name. It started out life as a 71/2 -inch barrel pistol. Towards the time of the Spanish-American War, they cut the pistol down and re-designated it as an artillery, is what they called it. Very unusual to find these in that kind of condition, that has not been polished, it hasn't rusted, it's not pitted up and it's got great history. It all ties in with the gentleman here with his initials on it. Other thing that's interesting is the original holster. It's got the U.S. marking on it, but it's got an arsenal marking that says "Arsenal D. Manila." Most of these you'll find are marked to an American arsenal. Apparently that's from an army arsenal that was set up in the Philippine Islands during the occupation, and that is somewhat unusual. The hat alone should bring somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 to $1,000, maybe even a little bit more. Because of all the decoration on it, that really makes it special. The medals, they're a few hundred dollars each, but the pistol is the real prize. That pistol, with the holster, would bring probably upwards of $6,000. So a group, all tied in to one man, with the great family history, at auction should probably bring $8,000 to $10,000.

That's tremendous, tremendous.

Appraisal Details

Grenadier Military Antiques Auctions
Long Beach, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)

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