EXCAVATED M1839 OVAL US BELT PLATE

$225.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-5895

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This is the standard Union infantry enlisted man’s belt plate of the Civil War. Adopted in 1839, these plates are stamped, rolled brass with a lead solder filled back that anchors the fastening studs and belt hook. The belt hook is missing on this one, but the oval fastening studs are in place and indicate early or mid-war production since the flat, arrowhead or snakehead studs began coming in in 1863, though with a few makers still producing this pattern for a time.

This is a caramel brown in tone, with some gray and light brown in recesses along the edge at lower right. There are a number of light scratches, but the letters remain well defined. At upper left there is a narrow crease or cut mark across the edge. At right there is a broad bump to the edge. The lead solder fill on the back, however, does not seem to have been affected, though there are some brown stains around the belt studs. A bigger mystery is what seems to be a rust stain at upper right on the face, extended over the top of the “S.” Between the letter and the rim is a small splay mark that looks like something hit it, fanned out and later rusted. We see a round spot at center and what looks like the sides of it splayed out. There is a slight bend to the edge further down, about the middle of the “S,” but we don’t see a real impact dent at the center of the rust spot. This may be something made of iron that rested on top of the plate while in the ground and then oxidized, but opinion here is divided. It is an good example of a Civil War US infantryman’s regulation belt plate in any case.  [SR] [PH:L]

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