Model 1851 New Jersey Militia Shako Cap with Box
This is my great-great-grandfather's Civil War hat. It's been handed down through the family. And I wanted to bring it in to get some more information about it.
This is what's called a model 1851 Shako, and they were used till the later part of the 1850s. They're very rare, there's not that many that survive anymore. It was actually pre-Civil War, and later on they changed styles of cap. They took the stiffener out and the top crown here flopped down towards the visor. So it was a lot more comfortable cap. This particular cap has the insignia here, with a wreath and an "NJ" for New Jersey. It's got a painted leather chin strap, and if we look on the side, we've got general service buttons here for an officer. If we turn it back around and take a look on the inside, you can see it's got its sweatband in tact, which is extremely rare, and there's a silk liner. Silk normally would not survive this long. It's a little bit tattered, but it's still in place. Inside is also Smith Young & Company in New York City. It also has its original pasteboard box with the name and the maker here. Now, as far as taking care of it, I would not keep it in the box. I would take the newspaper out and I would put this in an acid-free box with acid-free paper and keep the two separate. Because if you keep the newspaper and everything else in there, it's eventually going to eat away at the lining and destroy the rest of the cap, which we don't want to do. Having the two together is fairly rare. It's rare enough that this cap even exists the way it does. But with the box, it's going to add a little bit of value to it. In an auction setting, this cap would probably be in the $3,000 to $5,000 range. It's in great condition.
Great, great. Thank you.
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