“Pronounced Serif Virginia Style” CS Cavalryman
Item #: OS-6662
I have always thought this the second most attractive two-piece buckle made in Richmond during the War. I knew that I had seen few of this pattern since I began collecting decades ago.
But, I would not at first have thought of this pattern as a very "rare” pattern, relative to other CS two-piece buckles. Steve Mullinax’s Expanded Edition, Confederate Belt Buckles and Plates lists it as Plate number 006, with a rarity of 6; the same rating as the relatively common "Richmond” style two-piece buckle. According to Mr. Mullinax’s scale that would be 76-150 known. Mr. Mullinax could only estimate from memory its relative rarity. It is only now that we have a digital record kept over the decades to view. This gives us a more "scientific” view of its relative rarity.
In researching my files, I find that I have owned fifty-three two-piece belt buckles bearing the letters CS. Of these, 47 of the 54 were of the common 5-6 rarity Virginia and Tennessee styles. Eight were the Richmond, Virginia manufactured "CS Script”, rarity 8. Five were the Leech and Rigdon manufactured "Rectangular CS” variant, rarity 9+. One was like the "Pronounced Serif CS”, shown here, currently rated a rarity 6. One was made by Haiman in Columbus, Georgia, rarity 7.
I admire the quality work Mike O’Donnell and Steve Mullinax did in writing Confederate Belt Buckles and Plates, and I have worn out a couple of copies of the fine book, but lacking actual records, they were at an extreme disadvantage when trying to establish a relative rarity scale. I fully recognize that my methods of assigning rarity are not definitive either; it is merely the best I can do, just as they did the best they could at the time.
I will not at this time try to assign different rarity numbers to Confederate buckles, but it is clear from the above, a partial overhaul of this system needs to be worked out.
These "Pronounced Serif” belts were made in Richmond, Virginia, perhaps under contract to the Richmond Arsenal and issued with enlisted swords, but it seems to be so rare that perhaps it was made under contract for one of Richmond’s sword makers; Boyle & Gamble or Burger Brothers for sale with their swords. This "bullet shaped” stitch pattern on the wreath side is typical of belts from Richmond, Virginia/Boyle & Gamble. The left-side belt loop was the adjuster side, and this would have come with two leather keepers to hold the adjustment. In this case, the soldier hand sewed the adjuster side so that it could not slip.
With the exception of the intentionally removed sword hangers, this example is perfect, and I mean perfect in every way. It is impossible that a better example (with the exception of the aforementioned hangers) exists anywhere. The belt is soft and supple; the stitching is complete and tight and the patina is of the most desirable hue. Flawless!
If, like most, you can do without the hanger straps, this is the very best and is priced exceptionally well for such a rare and attractive pattern.
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