Civil War Relicman
Harry Ridgeway
Winchester, Virginia USA (changed hands 70 times in the Civil War!)
http://relicman.com/

Ridgeway Reference Library, Civil War plates and buckles
713..Confederate buckles and plates, two part CS balls serif style

This is the "Ridgeway Reference Archive", a research tool for educational purposes only, and is provided at no cost to the reader. Some of the relics listed are retained in the author's collection, most reside in other collections and are not owned by the author. None of the items listed in this section are for sale, please refer to relicman.com sales listings for items offered for sale. This is a work in progress, I list items as I get to them, there are many patterns that are not listed yet, this list will be regularly updated as I get pictures and descriptions for more items. I will also correct mistakes, so if you see any please tell me. All items listed are believed to be authentic to the Civil War or as otherwise described. Any excavated relics have been recovered from private property with owners permission. This information is available for research purposes, pictures may be used by permission only
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Most information on this page is from:
Plates and Buckles of the American Military 1795 - 1874, by Sydney C. Kerksis
Confederate Belt Buckles & Plates, by Steve E Mullinax
American Military Belt Plates, by Michael J. O'Donnell & J.Duncan Campbell

The manufacturing quality of these cast Confederate plates, varies considerably one casting to the next. Flaws in the master will theoretically appear in each successive example, but there are also flaws introduced or "cleaned up" one casting to the next. In addition, the rough castings needed to be milled and finished, and this process may introduce more variation, particularly as to size. In addition production may have been shared amongst more than one small producer, in which case some original castings could have been made from second generation master patterns. These flaws have been aggressively exploited by the fakers, some fakes are very difficult to tell, some authentic examples may have been inadvertently condemned by the "experts", or the experts simply cannot agree. There is no absolutely certain way to determine the authenticity of any of the plates, other than by making comparison to other examples and having definite irrefutable documentation of original ownership or provenance. An attempt is being made here to narrow the possibilities by showing multiple examples, by comparison conclusions can be drawn and and judgments made, more examples will be added as they can be found to analyze and publish.

Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, style with balls serifs and flat back wreath,keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture
Buckle depicts "CS" and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for lettering with rounded serif referred to as "balls serif", wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers which are not symmetrical. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc is stepped up and flat on the back, wreath does not have a channel and is flat around the back. Plate is believed to have been made in Virginia during the war and production may have been shared with more than one manufacturer, there can be variations one casting to the next.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 013.

P0311...Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, style with balls serifs and flat back wreath, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture.
P0311.jpg (35070 bytes)P0311B.jpg (24250 bytes) P0311C.jpg (22077 bytes) Buckle depicts "CS" and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for lettering with rounded serif referred to as "balls serif", wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers which are not symmetrical. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc is stepped up and flat on the back, wreath does not have a channel and is flat around the back. Plate is believed to have been made in Virginia during the war and production may have been shared with more than one manufacturer, there can be variations one casting to the next. Plate measures: tongue keeper 46.5mm, wreath keeper 47.3mm, wreath 49.5mm. Dug buckle, both halves dug together. Recovered: Woodville Virginia, by Larry Connors.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 013.
Old Court House Civil Wa Museum, Winchester, Virginia

P1265...Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, style with balls serifs and flat back wreath, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture.
Buckle depicts "CS" and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for lettering with rounded serif referred to as "balls serif", wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers which are not symmetrical. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc is stepped up and flat on the back, wreath does not have a channel and is flat around the back. Plate is believed to have been made in Virginia during the war and production may have been shared with more than one manufacturer, there can be variations one casting to the next. Plate measurements not obtained. Dug buckle, both halves dug together. Recovered: Culpeper, Virginia, by Lewis Frazier.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 013.

P1980...Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, style with balls serifs and flat back wreath, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture.
Buckle depicts "CS" and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for lettering with rounded serif referred to as "balls serif", wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers which are not symmetrical. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc is stepped up and flat on the back, wreath does not have a channel and is flat around the back. Plate is believed to have been made in Virginia during the war and production may have been shared with more than one manufacturer, there can be variations one casting to the next. Plate measures: tongue keeper 48.4mm, wreath keeper 48.0mm, wreath height 48.0mm.. Dug plate, both halves dug together. Recovered: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, from collection of Howard Crouch.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 013.
This plate was lost in transit and we have now learned that this was part of a post office registered mail pouch, which was stolen in its entirety. So if this piece shows up again in the market place it is stolen merchandise.


Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, style with balls serifs and flat back wreath, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture. Fake.

Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate
013.

P1485...CS two part buckle "ball serifs" style.
Editor note: yep relicman got stuck with this one! Plate was originally purchased from Cal Packard, Mansfield Ohio, at the Charleston SC show in 2000. The plate was determined to be fake in 2006. Cal does not believe he should accept this plate back, he paid $500 toward the original purchase price of $2,000, I do have a written receipt from him, in his handwriting at the time of the sale. It matches the Hanover Brass example in every detail so I have to eat it so I am left with the loss, not Cal. There are no maker marks on this plate, never were that I can find. Cal says he "guarantees" the items he sells, I guess that means we are supposed to simply accept his authority, it means he guarantees that it is his opinion that the item is good, but it does not mean he will refund money when his judgment is proven wrong! That seems like a rather hollow "guarantee" to me. I should note that I have had items returned to me, which I have honored, and I have returned other items to other dealers. Additional note: This plate has been handled, scraped, rubbed, smelled, tasted, hundreds of times. By now there are spots of raw brass passing through, but I can assure you none of this was present in 2000 when I bought this plate. This had a patina to kill for. You cannot authenticate or condemn a plate based on patina alone, you have to use other clues. Apparently this plate was manufactured originally by Hanover Brass. There are no maker or other distinguishing marks on this plate, so was this intended to be a "repro" as suggested or was this made to be placed into the fakes market from the beginning?