ANTIETAM RECOVERED CONFEDERATE FRAME BUCKLE AND PART OF ITS BELT FROM THE REMSBURG COLLECTION

$1,295.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 88-39

If there was a “typical” Confederate belt buckle, it was the fixed-tongue frame buckle. This one is the standard size for this widely issued southern belt buckle produced by a large number of contractors and known from excavated examples from all theatres of the war. The design was eminently practical: the belt is sewn around the central belt loop bar and after passing around the soldier’s waist comes up under the adjustment bar with two fixed tongues that engage pairs of holes punched in the belt and the loose end then passes over the belt loop bar and is secured under the “idle bar” on the far side. Lon Keim praises the practical and sturdy design in Confederate General Service Belt Plates, “Perhaps the most reliable of all Civil War accoutrement plates were the sold cast brass frame buckles. Without movable parts or soldered hooks, these sturdy plates were virtually impervious to the rigors of field service.”

This is an excellently preserved example recovered from the battlefield of Antietam and once part of the Remsberg Collection. Many of the “old-timers” will remember Mary Remsberg and the family’s large collection of Civil War relics, mostly from Antietam. References to it and photographs of items from it can be seen in Sylvia and O’Donnell’s Illustrated History of Civil War Relics. This is a superb provenance, especially in a time when some people have been manufacturing tags for relics claiming an Antietam background or even inventing “named” collections to lend a spurious legitimacy to a piece.

The buckle is complete, undamaged and in very good condition even for an early battlefield pick-up. Measuring 65 mm by 75 mm, brass has a very pleasing uniform patina and is constructed with the center belt loop bar rounded on both sides and extending onto the upper and lower edges of the frame on the reverse. Both tongues are there, with good points, and full length, showing a typical slightly rounded form. Both sides of the plate are well finished and the left and right edges of the frame face show a well-defined edge.

The leather belt is original to the plate and, while not full-length, is a remarkable survivor nonetheless. Measuring 24 inches long, it preserves four sets of the paired fastening holes at one end, indicating there is not much missing from that end. A couple of weak spots were reinforced on the reverse with black tap, but this does not show from the face and the belt displays very well.

For other examples of this plate see Mullinax (1991) Plates 142-152; and, especially, Keim (1987) Figures 221-361. This is opportunity to acquire a reasonably priced, dead-real Confederate buckle still on a substantial portion of its belt, and recovered from the site of the deadliest day’s fighting of the entire war.  [sr]

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