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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (10/2004) AMP (09/2004) AMP (11/2004)   Vol. 38 October 2004 
Ask Mark Parker!
As seen in the October 2004 edition of W&ET Magazine
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR FINDS

IT JUST WENT TO WAIST


Question Mark, I'd like some information about this buckle tongue that I found. In the center is an eagle similar to those on military buttons of the mid 1800s, and the border inscription reads, " * Taussig Pollack Co. * San Francisco."

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Answer William Taussig & Co. was listed in 1850 as a New York purse manufacturer. By 1852 Taussig had begun producing a wide range of leather goods for both the military and the California gold rush trade: belts, gloves, holsters, money belts, gold bags, etc. In order to capitalize on the new Western market, the firm opened a branch in San Francisco. A new partnership resulted in Taussig, Pollack & Co. in 1855, and the following year they became Pollack Bros., "importers of fancy goods and watches." Produced for civilian wear in the goldfields, the buckle would reportedly be worth $600+ if complete; the tongue alone, perhaps $300.


CHARLES IN CHARGE


Question I dug this coin at an Indian Wars site in Kansas. It is silver, about dime size, and very thin. If possible, please tell me where it is from, how old it is, what the writing on it means, and what it is worth.

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Answer It's a 17th century British halfgroat of Charles I,probably just about the last thing you'd expect to turn up at such a location. The obverse bears a bust of the king facing left, with the Roman numeral II behind, signifying the value of the coin, twopence. Above the king's crown is the tun (barrel) mintmark used by the Tower Mint in London in 1636-38. The surrounding inscription, which appears to be CAROLVS D. G. M: B: D: ET H: REX, is an abbreviation of Carolus Dei Gratia Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex, Latin for, "Charles, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland." On the reverse is a crowned shield, the royal arms, and the Latin motto IVSTITIA THRONUM FIRMAT, or "Justice strengthens the throne." If the coin were unholed and in Very Good condition, it might retail for $50 or more. Obviously, it's lost much of its numismatic value, but as a relic it's definitely a dandy!


FOWLED UP


Question This brass rooster was recovered in an area which saw action in the Revolutionary War. Coins from the 1700s were also found there, and Civil War relics were found nearby. The rooster is standing on top of some other animal, and the item, possibly a hat badge, is 1-1/2" x 2-1/4". Any idea of what it might be?

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Answer No guarantee, but the guess is free! I believe it's an early 1900s political pin, and that the other animal depicted is an opossum. In the presidential election of 1908, the Republican candidate, William Howard Taft, was known as "Billy 'Possum," and at that time the rooster was widely used as a symbol of the Democrat Party; thus, the pin would have been an anti-Taft piece issued by supporters of William Jennings Bryan, the Democrat candidate. Taft, who won the election, ran again in 1912 and was defeated by Woodrow Wilson. While it's possible that the pin is from that race, I think it's more likely to date from 1908. For a second opinion, W&ET forwarded the photo to a leading authority on political memorabilia, who says he's never seen another like it either but agrees with this tentative attribution. He also feels that it's "pretty high on the rarity scale"; however, due to its being dug, and to the current level of collector demand for metal political items not picturing candidates, he estimates its retail value at less than $100.


BOLDLY THEY RODE


Question This Inniskilling Dragoons VI badge was found on Cape Cod, but as far as I can determine it is from a British regiment which never served there. The badge measures approximately 2" x 3-1/2". Your help in identifying it would be appreciated.

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Answer This is a horse harness martingale badge, c. 1860-1902. Originally raised in Ireland in 1689, the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons were a cavalry unit and remained in existence until 1922, when they were merged with the 5th Dragoon Guards. The crown at the top of the badge is the Guelphic crown of Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. He was a German, and this is the crown of the dukes of the House of Hanover, of which he was a member, as were the British royal family. Its use on the badge would have been memorial, as Albert died in 1861, and Victoria in 1901. During that period, the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons saw duty in Great Britain, Africa, India, and the Northwest Frontier (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc.). According to British militaria specialist Jeremy Tenniswood (www.militaria.co.uk ), as excavated the badge would bring £10-20, or a little less than $20-40 U.S.


MYTH-TAKEN IDENTITY


Question While detecting here in Georgia, I came up with this silver-plated button. It's flat, two-piece, about 1" in diameter, and has a plain gilt back. How old is it, what type of person wore it, and most important of all... can I buy a Corvette with the money when I sell it?

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Answer What you've got is a late 19th or early 20th century lady's dress button depicting the ancient Roman warrior goddess Minerva. Often shown wearing a helmet and mail armor, Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter. (In Greek mythology she was known as Athena, the daughter of Zeus.) Ranked third among the Roman gods, after Jupiter and Juno, she was also the goddess of wisdom, and of the crafts of weaving and spinning. Figures from classical mythology were often featured on Victorian era buttons, ornaments, and jewelry, and yours is a nice example worth perhaps $25-35. So, no 'Vette yet... but at least you've got the kind of driving ambition that a TH'er needs to succeed!


PUTTIN' ON THE DOG


Question At the bottom of this 1" pin is a banner with the words, "Don't Kick Our Dog." Does it have any particular significance, or is it just a novelty item?

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Answer Since 1925, it's been the distinctive insignia (DI) of the 203rd Engineer Battalion, a Missouri Army National Guard regiment also proudly known as the Houn' Dawg Outfit. The 203rd was most recently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has played a vital role in the stabilization and rebuilding of Iraq. As for the DI, it's made in both left- and right-facing versions, and WWII/silver ones are worth $25-35; post-war/brass, $7-15.





HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR FINDS



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