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
730..Confederate buckles and plates, two piece Leech & Rigdon plates

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.

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, Leech & Rigdon style, 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 thin poorly formed letters without serifs, wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc bar is stepped up behind the disc and is flat, wreath has a channel. Plate is believed to have been made by Leech & Rigdon, Memphis Novelty Works, there can be many variations one casting to the next. Wreath will usually show an "L" in the flat well, this was apparently cast in the master and is not stamped.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 043.

P0312...Confederate tongue and wreath buckle, CS, Leech & Rigdon style, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture.
P0312.jpg (32148 bytes)P0312B.jpg (23822 bytes) P0312C.jpg (20719 bytes) Buckle depicts "CS" and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for thin poorly formed letters without serifs, wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc bar is stepped up behind the disc and is flat, wreath has a channel. Plate is believed to have been made by Leech & Rigdon, Memphis Novelty Works, there can be many variations one casting to the next. Wreath will usually show an "L" in the flat well, this was apparently cast in the master and is not stamped. Note very flawed lettering on this example indicating crude finishing. Plate measures: tongue keeper 48.2mm, wreath keeper 49.5mm, wreath 48.5mm. Dug buckle, both halves dug together. Recovered: Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 043, this is the example published.


Confederate two part buckle, plain face, Leech & Rigdon style, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture
Buckle depicts a plain face and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for absence of letters, wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc bar is stepped up behind the disc and is flat, wreath has a channel. Plate is believed to have been made by Leech & Rigdon, Memphis Novelty Works, there can be many variations one casting to the next.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 048.

P0447...Confederate two part buckle, plain face, Leech & Rigdon style, keepers are plain, wreath adorned with oak leaves, cast, Confederate wartime manufacture.
P0447.jpg (33959 bytes)P0447B.jpg (23380 bytes) P0447C.jpg (22512 bytes) Buckle depicts a plain face and is a two part tongue and wreath plate broadly used in the Confederacy. This style is noted for absence of letters, wreath with oak leaves, and plain keepers. Plate is cast, tongue disc bar is flat, disc bar is stepped up behind the disc and is flat, wreath has a channel. Plate is believed to have been made by Leech & Rigdon, Memphis Novelty Works, there can be many variations one casting to the next. Plate measures: tongue keeper 49.8mm, wreath keeper 50.4mm, wreath 49.2mm. Dug buckle is attractive, correct fit, both halves believed found together. Recovered: Shiloh, Tennessee.
Ref: Mullinax Expanded Edition, Plate 048.