“WACO GUARDS” STYLE BELT PLATE, CA. 1880

$695.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1179-1584

This belt plate shows to have been dug and has a modern note with it that it turned up at an estate sale in Austin, TX, in 2002. The plate is a deep, olive green with some gray and thin brown residue, and shows bends and waviness, but no cracks or breaks. The plate is stamped, sheet brass, rectangular in shape with rounded corners, a slot for belt loop on one edge, with the slot rounded at top and bottom, and a wide tongue riveted to the reverse. The face is embossed with raised motifs: a five-pointed star at center, and four dots, with zig-zag borders having dots in the angles of the line, and each corner bearing a rosette from which a stem leads to an oakleaf with two acorns.

Among some collectors and relic hunters the plate acquired an association with the Civil War “Waco Guard,” a company formed in 1861 who became part of the 7th Texas Infantry. The construction, however, is certainly postwar and if there is an association at all with the Waco Guard, it would be with the postwar militia unit of that name, founded about 1877, who seem also to show up in newspapers after that as the Waco City Guard, Waco Light Guard, etc. Some examples of the plate have reportedly been found in Tennessee and elsewhere, but members of that unit or their relatives might travel and as a commercial product there is nothing restricting its use to one postwar militia unit. As used in the Civil War the star motif is most often associated by collectors with Texas troops, but shows up in connection with units from other states, Mississippi and Louisiana in particular, and the same likely holds true for its later use.  One modern producer of copies of the plate retains the Texas association, but gives it a broad production date of “1861 – 1890,” and some collectors even push it a bit beyond that. It is an attractive plate in any case, with room for more research.  We give it a tentative date of Ca.1880.    [sr][ph:L]

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