SCARCE MILITIA TWO-PIECE BELT PLATE Ca.1855-1860

$450.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1184-140

This is identical to O’Donnell and Campbell Plate 296. A few are known, all showing signs of having been cast about 1855-1860 from mold made from a common original dating to the 1840s. All have a visible bench number “17” that was on the plate used as the pattern, was preserved in the mold, and shows on subsequent castings. On this example the “17” is very visible on the face of the wreath portion just above the slot at center. The matching “17” on the tongue was lost in the casting, but both the symmetrical wreath and the tongue with off-center eagle with one wing cocked higher than the other, large Federal shield, and no tail feathers, are identical to that illustrated by O’Donnell and Campbell, which they describe as, “a peculiar militia symbol generally associated with 1840s plates.”

These two-piece eagle plates became very popular in the 1830s and continued so into the 1840s and 1850s with the addition of state symbols and side-by-side with the 1851 rectangular eagle and wreath plates. O’Donnell and Campbell call it a “sturdy and solid cast plate” that was “part of an 1850s trend toward the mass-production of inexpensive plates to satisfy the demands of a rapidly expanding military and commercial trade.”

The condition is very good. The tongue has just a couple of tiny dings on the edge of the disk. No effort was made to finish the reverse of the belt loops or tongue bar, but the back and gutter of the wreath were smoothed down. This has a very nice, even patina showing as a pretty, aged bronze.  [sr] [ph:L]

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