Old South Military Antiques

N.O. Louisiana Belt Plate Die
Item #: OS-6495

  Though difficult to see in the image, N.O. can be clearly seen

  Back of die

  The plate's brass wraps around the end of the broken die

  Example of a finished N.O. plate

This waist belt plate bears the state seal of Louisiana; a mother pelican feeding her young from the blood of her own breast. Louisiana, or rather, New Orleans was very prosperous prior to the War. The local New Orleans companies had the very best of accoutrements. Numerous of the antebellum Louisiana plates bore the motto "Justice, Union and Confidence” signifying that justice was of utmost importance in her laws. In this interesting adaptation, the Scales of Justice are depicted rather than the text. After the War the motto was changed to "Union, Justice and Confidence” making clear that justice was no longer to be tolerated as the highest ideal; Union had crushed all opposition and left justice bleeding in the dust. The latter motto is still used today in occupied Louisiana.

There were four nearly identical style plates made for the New Orleans elite companies. It has long been supposed that these were made in New Orleans by a local die sinker. The excavated receiving die shown here positively proves the accuracy of that supposition. It was recently excavated out of a well in New Orleans. It produced the variant with N.O. under the seal. The last plate that this particular die stamped still covers its face and the untrimmed scrap wraps around the broken ends. A photograph of the plate it produced is included here for comparison purposes.

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