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.
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).
RelicRecord.com founders Will and Mitch appeared on American Digger Magazine’s Relic Roundup podcast to share why maintaining thorough records of your collectibles is so important, tips on organizing your collection, and how your feedback can help them build a product you’ll use and enjoy. Listen here…
Q. How would you describe yourself?
A. First and foremost, I would say that I’m an historian. To be great at the hobby of recovering Civil War relics, you have to have a passion for it–researching and discovering all of the nuanced, intricate historical details. I think most everyone in this hobby is an amateur historian in their gut.
I have a passion for Civil War history and I only focus on that time period. My degree is in chemistry; and I liked it at the time, working for both Textron and DuPont for a while. However, there’s a difference between liking what you do and having a passion for what you do.
Q. When did you fall in love with this hobby?
A. It started with the Centennial Anniversary of the Civil War. I was 10 years old in 1961, and 14 years of age come 1965. Those are real formative years for a young boy. During the Centennial, the newspaper had a big section every week, and living history presentations were also a big deal. I attended a few of them, and as a 10 to 14 year old, it made quite an impression. Those were the years when I said “you know what, this stuff is cool.”