The American Civil War fought over a four-year period (from 1861-65) embodies the most significant phase in American history after the ‘American War of Independence’. The Union or the Northern States defeated the Confederate States or South in the protracted Civil War that finally led to the abolition of slavery for good. A whopping 4 million slaves became free men.
Apart from being the most talked about and documented event in the history of the US, the Civil War left behind a treasure trove of artifacts, objets d'art, and memorabilia. Civil war artifacts, including civil war weapons, are highly sought after by antique dealers and collectors because of their historic value. Also, because of their heavy demand and collectors’ obsession to stockpile, there exists a well-entrenched, thriving black market for counterfeit and stolen memorabilia including artifacts, works of art, and relics.
The total value of the turnover from the sale of forged, fake, and reproduced collectibles, like Civil war guns are estimated to be $6 billion from year to year. Individuals usually collect American civil war memorabilia and artifacts for business, as a pastime or purely for nostalgic reasons.
What comprises Civil War Memorabilia?
The collectibles that can be grouped under the category of ‘Civil war memorabilia’ is indeed myriad. The collectible items would cover both vintage objects belonging to the actual period and modern articles honoring the civil war. Artifacts usually entail calendars, Civil war maps, relics, calendars, books, guns, swords, artwork, photographs, slave tags, journals, magazines, posters, and so on.
As the range of items that qualify as Civil war artifacts are almost infinite, antique dealers, appraisers, and professional collectors have created subcategories or subgroups for their convenience:-
Nevertheless, the items included in the above subcategories are not all-embracing. However, these subgroups serve as vital indexes for finding out and deciding on memorabilia worth collecting.
More on Civil War Memorabilia
An array of modern and contemporary objects that commemorate the Civil war can be deemed as memorabilia:-
Civil war weapons
A near countless number of weapons were used by both the Northern States and Confederate States during the ‘Civil War’ that went on for 4 years at a stretch. Weapons and firearms that found extensive wise include swords, knives, muskets, rifles, pistols, repeating rifles, and rifled muskets, and much more. Artillery weapons like cannons, field guns, infantry guns, mountain artillery, and mortars.
Following types of weapons were heavily used in the war:-
Civil war maps
The Civil War is often referred to as the ‘Second American Revolution’ and for good reasons. The war on one hand, set innumerable slaves free and put an end to slavery for once and all, and on the other hand, gave sweeping economic powers to the North. The Library of Congress Geography and Map Division archives Civil war maps, charts, sketchbooks, and atlases that detail and depict fortifications, battles, troop movements and positions, and engagements.
One could look up maps, atlases, and charts in the several museums, libraries, and archives relating to battles, fortifications, and troop movements. A collector may find maps on following battles (this is not an exhaustive listing):-
Civil war artifacts
Civil War artifacts include:-
Crosschecking the genuineness of an artifact or memorabilia
As there is a high possibility of your getting duped while collecting artifacts, you can abide by the following guidelines to make sure that you’re not paying for counterfeits:-