Civil War Artifacts

After waking up from sweet dreams of finding a CSA (Confederate States of America) plate (buckle or accoutrement), Butch Holcombe set out with his metal detector to explore a site in North Georgia that saw action during the Civil War. It was 1973, a time in which finding Civil War artifacts was much more prevalent than it is today – especially those rare relics that are coveted by collectors both then and now.

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History Christmas Decorations

A few weeks ago, I made my annual pilgrimage to the garage to sift through the boxes and Rubbermaid bins filled to the brim with Christmas decorations from years past. My family and I started unpacking the boxes to decide which ornaments and other knickknacks would make this year’s decorative cut.

As I fumbled through the ornaments, lights, garland, nutcrackers, and other trinkets, I started to wonder if any of the generational hand-me-downs had any collectible value – other than the obvious sentimental value. My curiosity got the best of me, so I did a little digging to learn more about Christmas decorations – their origin, purpose, and overall collectability.

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Civil War Cannonball

On the side of a ravine in Vicksburg, Mississippi, young John Jr. squirmed on the ground with his outstretched arm desperately trying to reach an object buried deep inside the Mississippi soil. Having just dug a 14-inch deep hole with the help of his Brother, Mother, and Father, John Jr. extended his hand and fingertips just enough to make contact with the object. He could see enough; and feel enough, of the object to know that something cool was waiting to be unearthed. Being the kind of mom that she is, Nikki pushed her metal detector to the side, rolled up her sleeves, and helped her sons unearth a piece of Civil War history – a Confederate cannonball from the Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863).

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Collection Care Handbook

When you introduce a new item to your collection, your first goal should be record management. Records should include photographic documentation combined with written details that will provide you and future caretakers with the state of the object’s original condition, provenance, value, and location. Your second goal (and responsibility) is to ensure the object’s long-term safety and preservation while in your care.

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For more than 25 years, I’ve collected various genres of Civil War artifacts, each with the excitement and fervor of Gallagher at a farmer’s market. Of all the things I’ve collected over the years, my Civil War collection provides me the greatest joy… and pain! Yes, pain! Every time I admire my collection, I’m reminded of the many mistakes I’ve made. I’ve passed-up items that I wished I had purchased, sold a few things that I kick myself for letting go, and let collecting get in the way of other, more important things in life. Sound familiar?

Based on my personal experiences in amassing my own collection, I’ve put together 9 tips for collectors that I hope will help lead you to a more enjoyable and fulfilling journey of collecting.

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recording family history

Most mornings on the drive into work, I’ll have NPR playing on the radio to catch up on the news or the occasional odd story. On most Friday’s, NPR will play a short segment from StoryCorps. For those of you who have never heard of StoryCorps, it is a U.S. based, non-profit organization whose goal is to record and preserve the oral history of Americans from all walks of life. Usually, it is just two individuals sharing a short conversation about their past or discussing a life changing event. Topics cover a whole range of life events and are always interesting. Check out an example at the bottom of this post.

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Like it or not, advertising has long been a powerful force in shaping and depicting our changing moods and social values – for better or for worse. Print advertisements of the late 19th, through the mid-20th century, were notorious for being sexist, racist, and advocating plenty of unhealthy advice. All reasons why collectors flock to antique and vintage ads. Let’s revel in our former ignorance shall we?

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From liquor, beer, and wine, to soda and medicinal bottles, there are many different sizes and shapes for collectors to collect. Physical characteristics such as embossed lettering, shape, and color accounts for much of a bottle’s popularity and value. A bottle’s age, provenance, and overall condition also impacts a bottle’s collectible appeal. For the novice collector to the pro, we’ve put together a few tips to help guide your adventures in bottle collecting.

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I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years. I’ve hunted down arrowheads, saved odd coins I’ve come across, and even collected Buckeyes from trees around our family farm. When I was a kid, my big collecting focus was on baseball cards. I loved picking up a pack when I was out with my parents. I have many fond memories of sitting in the back of the car and peeling back the wax sealed paper on the pack to see what cards I got and which ones I could possibly trade to complete my collection.

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It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Google here at RelicRecord.com. In a previous article, we demonstrated how collectors can use Google’s Reverse Image Search to help find similar items on the web for research purposes. Now we’re going to introduce you to another hidden gem – Google Alerts.

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