GAR POST LEVEL SERVING OFFICER BADGE FROM THE MOLLUS MUSEUM

$125.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 1052-26

This G.A.R. membership badge has the rank bar positioned at the top of the 1887 pattern ribbon indicating the member is a currently serving officer. The blue border of the ribbon and blue ground of the miniature shoulder strap indicate the office is at the individual post level and the single bars indicate he is a post officer of the day, adjutant, or quartermaster.

This form of G.A.R. badge, with several changes over the years, was introduced in 1869. An eagle with arms guards the flag, used as ribbon for the medal, on which the goddess Minerva, associated with justice, wisdom, and victory, stands over a soldier and sailor clasping hands representing Loyalty and Fraternity, and two children receiving protection, representing Charity, the three cardinal precepts of the organization. Around the vignette the border reads: "GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC" and "1861 VETERANS 1866,” the dates referring to the official start and end dates of the war that qualified veterans for membership. At the corners of the star are branch of service insignia. On the reverse the national shield at center is protected by rings of the insignia of the various army corps in keystones, stars representing the states and departments of the G.A.R. around the edge and sprigs of laurel in the upper points of the star and three more corps badges added in 1886.  Founded in 1866 and dissolved in 1956 with the death of its last member, the organization reached a membership of 410,000 in 1890 and was an national political force with a natural interest in veterans’ affairs.

This comes from the recently dispersed collections of the War Library and Museum in Philadelphia. Incorporated in 1888 by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the veterans’ organization for Union officers, the museum was the repository for a world-class collection of artifacts housed since 1922 in a Philadelphia townhouse. The museum closed in 2008. Many of their holdings made their way to other institutions, but we recently purchased a number pieces from them at auction. The condition is good, with a solid ribbon showing some dirt and stains, and a stain on the reverse of the star. A museum inventory number is on the back of the pin bar, and nice indicator of the provenance.  [sr]

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