GAR NATIONAL LEVEL SERVING OFFICER’S BADGE FROM THE MOLLUS MUSEUM

$125.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-27

This is one of several G.A.R. badges we recently acquired from the War Library and Museum of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U.S. (MOLLUS,) the veterans’ organization composed of former Union officers. 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 buff border of the ribbon and black ground of the miniature shoulder strap indicate the officer is serving is at the national level and the silver eagle he is Assistant Adjutant General or Aide-de-Camp to the national Commander in Chief, or possibly a medical director at the national level.

This form of G.A.R. badge, with several changes over the years, was introduced in 1869. 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. Numbered along the edge, “W6877”. 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 a 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 excellent, with a solid ribbon showing some slight dust (mostly on the back,) but good color and the star has a nice patina.  [sr]

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