Non-Dug “Sheet Iron” C S

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     This exceptional plate is super rare in any condition, and usually they are in very poor condition.  This is attributable to two things; first, their manufacture and distribution was very limited.  Second, because it is made of die-struck sheet iron, most would have deteriorated beyond recognition after only a few years lying in the ground.  Usually when one is found it is nearly illegible due to excessive oxidation.  Even above ground, they are generally oxidized badly.

     There is a non-excavated example in the Virginia Historical Society Collection on its original belt and even its face is in very poor condition.  From close examination, Steve Mullinax determined that its face had originally been painted with black enamel.  I have owned one circa 1997 that had no hooks and its face had oxidized to where there was little paint, but the reverse was obviously painted black and it has been assumed that all were painted black originally.  Now with the discovery of this example, which turned up in Florida in 2012, something totally new and before undiscovered has come to light; its face is gold plated or painted with a gold wash; and most of the gold still remains.  Perhaps it was intended for use by an officer or perhaps it was just another option that the maker offered.  One of the great joys of collecting is when new and exciting antiques are brought to light.

     This particular example could arguably be the best example in existence; it is perfect except for the broken copper tongue.  Thank God its owner did not discard it when it broke, but put it away for future generations. 

     Of the few examples that have been excavated all have been in the Western Theatre and principally Arkansas.  That this one was found in Florida makes no statement as to where it was used; only excavated specimens can do so.

     To give some idea of the rarity of the iron CS plates, I will say that I am constantly looking, attending shows and networking with others in the field, and I have only known of two, in any worthwhile condition, to change hands in my more than 30 years of collecting and dealing.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

   

 

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