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Civil War Relics and Material Culture

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627. One of the most famous “relic” books for the Lincoln bibliophile…. with fabric from Mary Todd Lincoln’s childhood home! The True Story of Mary, Wife of Lincoln, Katherine Helm. (Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York: 1928.) Limited (First) Edtion, #135 of 175, with inlaid red damask swatch on cover. 310pp., small owner’s signature on front board, a clean, tight copy. Katherine Helm (1857-1937) was the daughter of Emilie Todd Helm and Ben Hardin Helm. Emilie was the younger half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. The fifteenth of Robert Todd’s sixteen children, Emilie was but three years old when Mary left their Lexington home. During the Civil War, Ben Hardin Helm, a Confederate general, was killed at the battle of Chickamauga. After her husband’s death, Emilie and her daughter Katherine stayed with the Lincolns at the White House. Emilie also knew the Lincolns quite well from a stay in Springfield in 1855-6. In 1928, Katherine Helm published The True Story of Mary, Wife of Lincoln based on her mother’s recollections, diary and articles Emilie had written about her relationship with the Lincoln family. Though a rather sentimental work, the book still provides an intimate glimpse into the life of Mary Lincoln. It was published in two editions, a trade edition and a special limited printing of 175 copies. The limited edition is unique in that laid onto the front cover is a 6-1/2 x 3” piece of red damask material taken from a drapery panel that hung in the Robert Todd home in Lexington when Mary Todd Lincoln was a child. The drapery material was preserved in the Todd and Helm families. Thus the rarity of the book results not only from the small number of copies printed, but through the relic preserved on the cover as well. This is one of the finer copies we’ve seen. (Est. $1,500-2,000)

A GREAT relic display!

628. 15 x 18” framed fragment of the Lincoln White House, a strip of  wood, 8” long. Decorated with ribbons, applied die-cut flag with calligraphic inscription: “White House Washington, D.C. June 1912 A piece of wood from the White House in the room where President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and used as a private office by the Presidents since Jefferson’s time. Presented to Mr. H.E. Bates as a souvenir by his friend Lt. Col. Wm. M. Palmer, staff of the late Major Genl. Wm. J. Sewell.” Sewell (1835-1901) served during the Civil War with NJ Vols. and rose to the rank of Major General. He received America’s highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for action at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was also a postbellum Senator of New Jersey. A real treasure!  (Est. $500-800)

A Lincoln relic gavel displayed at the Lincoln Tomb.

629. Magnificent gavel made from the old flooring from the home of Abraham Lincoln. Al Jones, the carpenter who laid the new floor in Lincoln’s home in 1897, secured some of the old flooring and made this gavel at C.A. Power’s planing mill. Mr. Jones intended to present this gavel to the Carpenters Union, but was killed shortly afterwards and buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. Mrs. J.C. Hendrick, widow of Mr. Jones and owner of this gavel, sent it in 1921 to the custodian of Lincoln’s tomb and world renown collector of Lincoln material H.W. Fay to be placed for exhibition in the Lincoln Monument. The silver band on the handle reads, “Lincoln Relic Wood.” A handsome, functional item!     (Est. $300-500)

630. Relic piece of wood from Lincoln’s Springfield home housed in a 7 x 10” paper frame; accompanied by two original photos from 1944 of Herbert Wells Fay, the custodian of Lincoln’s Tomb, one of which depicts Fay presenting a similar relic piece of wood. Also included is a 1932 pamphlet detailing the history of Lincoln’s tomb. After Lincoln’s body was returned to Springfield, it was placed in a receiving vault in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The body was transferred to a temporary vault while plans were made to create a permanent monument. On September 19, 1871 the body was placed in a crypt of the new monument and later, on October 9, 1874, in the sarcophagus in the center of the catacomb.    (Est. $250-300)

Split by the Railsplitter!

631. Fabulous Lincoln relic: a cross section of rail split by Abraham Lincoln and his stepbrother John D. Johnston, on the Lincoln Farm in Coles County, Illinois owned by Lincoln. Mounted on a 4 x 7” wooden plaque with DETAILED printed statement on verso accompanied by affidavits proving the claim. “Cross Section of Rail split By A. Lincoln From Lincoln Farm Coles County Illinois.” Sold at the Century of Progress Chicago World’s Fair 1933.  Neat!  (Est. $250-300)

632. Oak wood removed during the reconstruction of Lincoln’s law building at Springfield, Illinois. Framed and accompanied by a an eagle seal medallion in a fine display. Frame is 20 x 16” overall; piece of wood 1 1/2” square loose from mount.  A nice tribute.  (Est. $200-300)

633. Two Lincoln relics: a 2 1/2 x 3/4” piece of wood and an oak leaf, laid to a sheet of paper, signed and inscribed “To Robert Anderson, at Lincoln’s Tomb, July 6, 1939. A piece of wood from Lincoln’s Springfield home. Oak leaf from Mr. Lincoln’s Tomb. H.W. Fay.” Fay, the long-time custodian at the Lincoln Tomb and famous Lincoln collector, loved to share his passion with visitors personally creating relic touchstones to the great man. Attractively framed. (Est. $200-300)

634. Civil War Officer’s import sabre with sheath. Detailed eagle inscribed E Pluribus Unum on a wonderfully decorated hand guard. (Est. $800-1,200)

635. Model 1862 Naval Boarding Cutlass by Ames Manufacturing. A handsome piece of weaponry together with adorned leather scabbard.    (Est. $600-800)

636. Model 1860 Union Cavalry Sabre with metal scabbard, dated 1864, by Ames. Another fine weapon!     (Est. $600-800)

A Union General’s sword.

637. Foot officer’s sword and scabbard that belonged to General Nathaniel Collins McLean. McLean (1815-1905) of Ohio, son of John McLean (an 1860 Republican presidential candidate at the Wigwam and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court) organized the 75th OH Vol. Infantry under Frémont. In 1862, McLean’s troops were at the head of the march in the Valley Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. He fought at Second Bull Run where his troops took heavy casualties, but successfully delayed Confederate advances giving Pope’s forces time to regroup. This line of defense allowed the Army of Virginia to withdraw from the field without being destroyed. For his actions here, McLean was  rewarded with a brigadier generalship. At Chancellorsville, he was part of the line that Stonewall Jackson attacked with his famous Flank March. McLean also commanded a brigade during the Atlanta Campaign. This relic was obtained directly from his estate and represents a rare chance to add to your collection a true Civil War officer’s weapon used by a full general during the war. It is offered here for the first time at a major public auction.  (Est. $1,000-1,500)

638. Civil War regimental drum from the 5th Maryland U.S. Infantry carried during the war by Matthius Lowman, provenance and inscription inside the shell. Drum made by the Union Drum Manufacturing Co. of Baltimore, MD, is inscribed: “Co. D., Capt. Faehtz – Elkton Guards 5th MD Vols. USA Head quarters Camp Hamilton…” (Fort Munroe, VA.) Also detailed as having also been owned by Samuel Lowman of Elkton, Maryland. Accompanied by original torn head (the top of drum), needing restoration, has both rims, with six of the original leather tensioners. Can easily be restrung.
  (Est. $3,000-5,000)

639. An evocative relic! A model 1842 Springfield-type musket ground at tip for affixed bayonet (a Confederate-used weapon), collected in 1863 from Morris Island, smashed/struck during the midst of battle by a shell that split the stock! Talk about an “engagement!” (We have to believe the original owner was severely wounded if not killed.) Certainly a museum display piece.  (Est. $3,000-4,000)

640. Pair of Union general’s Civil War epaulets. Red morrocan leather on underside, elegant bars and stars! Quite sizable and showy. Excellent condition. (Est. $800-1,000)

641. Bull’s-eye canteen with replacement homespun cloth strap, light typical rust. Sold with a sixth-plate ambrotype of a standing soldier, tinted blue and red, quite solarized, from the same estate – soldier likely owner of the canteen. (Est. $200-300)

642. Tin bull’s-eye canteen marked “J. Hall & Ehrman, Phila.” Indentation on one side, holes near bottom with old solder repair. With a 9 x 7 x 2” leather cartridge pouch with attached brass “US” emblem, sound and complete.    (Est. $400-500)

643. Group of three Union soldier accoutrements: leather cartridge box 8 x 4 x 2”, complete and sound; brass oval belt buckle marked “US” with original leather belt, minor dings and bends to rim; and a bull’s-eye canteen with original carrying strap and stopper and marked “Porter & Bros.”   (Est. $700-900)

644. Tin canteen, original stopper, light rust, quite clean, with a rectangular “US” brass belt buckle on original leather belt, complete, great shape.    (Est. $400-600)

645. Model 1858 smooth side canteen with original cloth cover, replaced straps, original cork stopper. A superior example.   (Est. $200-300)

646. Supple brown leather Civil War-era messenger bag, approx. 11 x 14”. Intact with a strap fastened by a buckle with two additional buckles to secure the top flap. Oddly, the front of the bag is postmarked in two locations with corresponding circular cancellations. (March 16, Dumerbay[?] n.y. Pa.) This may appeal to our philatelic clients.  (Est. $100-300)

647. 3” gutta percha sailor’s soap dish, lacking mirror inside lid, belonging to Charles Poole of the U.S.S. Mahopac, a twin-turret ironclad. Lid has raised radiating design surrounding a roundel reading “Don’t Give Up The Ship”, twisted rope, an anchor below “U.S.N.” and a semi-circle of stars. A real NEAT piece!!   (Est. $300-400)

648. Original Civil War leather cavalry sword knot. Used for model 1860 and 1864 cavalry sabre, hooked to the hilt of a sword. 18”, normal age.     (Est. $100-150)

649. Civil War fuse, 5” tall, identified as “a fuse from an artillery shell fired at Confederate Ft. Bartow, Roanoke Island, NC. February 7, 1862. Found in the water where the fort was located.” Moderate corrosion, explosive!   (Est. $50-100)

650. Group of four (4) military emblems: musician’s insignia; Hardee hat plate; 12th U.S. Inf. hat insignia; and a Smith patent Union colonel’s shoulder strap. “Uniform” excellent condition.    (Est. $150-200)

651. Three corps badges: the 19th (mother of pearl); the 7th (silver moon and star); and 10th (gilded brass square lacking pin). Lovely, desirable emblems.    (Est. $200-300)

Prisoner-of-war, bawdy folk art.

652. The coward’s shame! X-rated camp-made effigy doll. Wooden soldier crudely hewn in-camp with artillery button and paper tag with carefully sewn border. The tag reads: “Coward of Company A.” The soldier is wearing the barrel-of-shame notoriously bourne by soldiers who were thieves, cowards, drunkards, miscreants, and otherwise “bad.” There is a mechanical aspect to this effigy. When his head is pushed down, the barrel goes up, exposing his “musket” which stands at attention! Measures 7” tall. Might be considered by the more prurient as “lewd” — by those appreciative of folk art, an ingenious master-PIECE! (pun intended!)  (Est. $800-1,000)

653. Prisoner-of-war handcarved art group. A pine chain, 27” long, comprised of fifteen links, inscribed in ink: “J. N. B. Capt. CS, Capitol Prison, Wash. July, 1864.” Excellent condition and most unusual. Think about it… there would be no way to take solid wood links and interlock them — these were not pieces joined-together — making this remarkable piece something carved from a SINGLE, solid piece of wood. Cool!!
Sold together with a small, chaplain’s pinky-ring decorated with a cross and an 1 5/8” movable ball whimsy, both in excellent condition. Great relics speaking to how some clever, artistic prisoners spent their time!  (Est. $800-1,000)

654. Star from the 110th Ohio battle flag with provenance. “This star fell from the flag of the 110th Reg’t. on its way to Piqua to regimental reunion. The flag was presented to the regiment by the Ladies of Piqua when it left Camp Piqua for the front in 1862. Picked up on train by I.S. Dear, Co. F, 110th Reg’t.” A special item for an Ohio collector! (Est. $600-800)

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