Hardee-Jeff-Davis-Hat-Pin

Anita Holcombe of American Digger Magazine recently shared her story of recovering a Jeff Davis Hat Pin from a Civil War site in Belle Plains, Virginia. With Anita’s help, we explore the hat pin, its origins, and the purpose it served. Let’s first start with a little background on where the hat pin was recovered.

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5-Rare-Expensive-Stamps

If you’re a millennial, let me explain: A stamp is like a sticky paper thing with a fancy design on it that you put on an envelope so the person who drives that funny looking white truck/jeep with the eagle on it while dressed in a Cub Scout uniform will pick it up and take […]

Super-Bowl-Memorabilia

With Super Bowl 50 upon us, we got to thinking about historical NFL memorabilia that made its way to auction. From coveted Super Bowl Championship rings to game-worn jerseys, helmets, and game-used footballs, we pulled together a quick list of items whose auction prices made headlines.

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“Colonel Woodward did not weigh more than 110 lbs, had long curling hair flowing over his shoulders. His very small legs were stuck in high cavalry boots reaching above his knees; and on which, was an enormous pair of Mexican spurs. He had a cavalry saber that was much too long for him and an army pistol attached to his belt; which contrasted with his size, looked like a small cannon. His grey pantaloons were stuffed in his boot, while a dark grey hunting shirt with a narrow brimmed corduroy slouch hat completed his apparel. All this, with an extremely dust-begrimed face, made a picture ridiculously amusing.”

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We recently attended the American Digger Magazine Civil War Relic Show & Sale, in Mt. Pleasant, SC. While publishers Butch and Anita were busy managing the show and greeting visitors, we were fortunate enough to be entrusted with running their merchandise table. In addition to meeting the many fans of the magazine, we also had the opportunity to see some amazing Civil War relics and American history. Here are a few highlights.

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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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