Sunday, May 25, 2008

Deep Pockets? Interested in Schuylkill County Civil War history? Then see this. . .

I frequent ebay quite regularly, hoping to find 48th PA items. Over the years, my collection has grown quite a bit because of it. However, it is rather seldom that items relating to the regiment, or to Schuylkill County's Civil War history, come up for auction.
This past week though has been rather unusual. . .incredible even. Now, before I go on, please know that I do not know the sellers of these items and I do not stand to gain anything from the selling of these two items. It is because these items are so scarce--and that they came up for auction within days of one another--that I have decided to post about them.

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Up for auction this week are two are the rarest pieces of Schuylkill County Civil War history imaginable. . .They may be even be considered "crown jewels."
First is a CDV of Nicholas Biddle, the elderly African-American orderly to Captain James Wren of the Washington Artillery who many consider to be the Civil War's first casualty. . .at least to hostile fire. Biddle was struck in the head by a brick while he marched, in uniform, alongside the members of the Pottsville company through the streets of Baltimore on April 18, 1861. I have only ever seen a Biddle CDV come up for auction once over the past decade, so yes, it is rather rare. Currently, the auction price stands at over $200.00, but this will no doubt soar as the auction's end date approaches. . . Follow this link to view the complete listing:

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Secondly, we have a set of First Defenders' Medals presented to one Albert F. Bowen, of the Washington Artillery and later the 48th Pennsylvania. The First Defenders were the soldiers comprising the ranks of the first five companies of Northern volunteers to arrive in Washington following the outbreak of the war. All of these companies hailed from Pennsylvania, with two of them--the Washington Artillery and National Light Infantry--based out of Pottsville. There were 476 First Defenders and years after the war ended, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania sought to honor the service of these troops by striking INDIVUALIZED medals, each inscribed with the name of each of the First Defenders. You can see then why they are so rare. Only 476 of each type of medal were ever made, and few. . .so very few. . .survive. Over the past ten years or so, I have seen these medals come up for auction maybe half a dozen times. The set of two that are currently on ebay are not listed in the auction format, but rather as a "Buy It Now" item. The price the seller is asking, well, $9,800.00. See for yourself:

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So, if you have deep pockets and want to collect hard to find Schuylkill County Civil War items, then you could not get more rare than these two items up on ebay this week! Happy bidding!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey John - One day to go & the Biddle CDV is up to $499.01 !