The Civil War Collector – October 2013
by John Sexton
Q: John, I have a Civil War dog tag that seems very unique. The dog tag is wonderfully engraved and not stamped like most of the Civil War dog tags I have seen whilst researching. I was wondering what a dog tag such as this would be worth? It seems that the dog tag is engraved into a silver half dime, which I also did not see too much of when researching either.
I have some background. William Reed enlisted in Berlin, Wis., in 1862, taken prisoner at Shiloh and discharged Sept. 18, 1863.
Your token is somewhat of a cross between a Victorian Era love token and the Civil War identification pin. I’m sure there were several men in the 18th Wisconsin with the same initials as on this half dime, and it would have been more difficult, but not impossible, to identify “WR” if this token was found sewn inside his uniform with him dead on the battlefield. Love tokens are found in many genres, usually engraved on small silver coins with fancy initials, given to a friend or a lover, and usually anonymous without a complete name.
Typically, Civil War dog tags in good condition with little or no interesting history of the combatant sell for several hundred dollars. With interesting units and combatants with equally interesting wartime history, dog tags can sell for as much as a few thousand dollars. Your token is interesting and has an interesting look, and if sold in an ephemeral or token auction, I would imagine it would be estimated for about $200-$300 and sell in that range.
Q: Mr. Sexton, This sword came from an estate sale in Mocksville, N.C., where I grew up and where my father lives now. I’ll send a series of emails containing pictures that my mom and dad sent me.
Collectors, beware of these cleverly engraved, fake swords that seem to be new to the market with this style of engraved maker’s mark and presentation.
Q: Can you help me with the value of this map? It measures 8 x 10 inches and is detailed with forts, batteries and Louisiana regiments.
Hand-drawn maps have always been popular in the collecting community, especially in nice condition as this one is. There is not a lot of detail or special aesthetics about this map, and it would probably sell for about $200 at a Civil War show or auction.
John Sexton is an independent appraiser and expert of Civil War memorabilia. He is an accredited member of various appraiser organizations. He can be contacted at 770-329-4984 or www.CivilWarDealer.com. If you have a Civil War item for him to appraise, email a photo and a description to firstname.lastname@example.org.