Published: February 6, 2001
OTEGO, N.Y. – A fine crowd kept the bidding brisk from start to finish at a recent Hesse Galleries auction. The catalog sale offered over 300 lots of Civil War and military-related rdf_Descriptions, with a Civil War Kepi hat as a surprise highlight.
Buyers showed particular interest in the Navy blue Captain’s Kepi hat displaying a wool-backed officer’s insignia having metallic embroidery wreath and initials, double soutache trim, and two brass chicken-and-eagle buttons. The hat was manufactured by a listed federal Union Civil War contractor. Markings on the liner read “Jas. S. Smith/564/Broadway/and/15/Dutch St./N.Y.” Despite the fact that the brim was completely separated from the cap, the rdf_Description sold for $2,750.
Other Civil War-era rdf_Descriptions included lots pertaining to General Nelson A. Viall of the Rhode Island Volunteers. General Viall’s diary, written in his hand and titled “Recollections of the Mexican War by Gen. Nelson Viall,” received particular attention with the final price coming in at $1,650. The diary featured Viall’s personal experiences, with detailed and graphic descriptions of the life of a soldier, beginning in the mid-1840s. A large, panoramic photograph depicting a cavalry scene with Viall, General Burnside, et. al., dated December 1861 was sold for $1,695.
The sale also contained numerous long guns, handguns, edged weapons and a small grouping of Indian artifacts. One of the first rdf_Descriptions off the block, a Remington and Sons 1858 new model revolver with octagon barrel also sparked buyers by selling for $1,017.50. An 1862 Springfield rifle in original condition brought spirited bidding toward a final price of $1,540.
Bidding on firearms was highlighted by a Colt .32 caliber 1875 revolver, which sold for $1,925. An engraved US 1860 Cavalry presentation sword and scabbard and an ivory-handled Bowie knife brought $1,100 and $1,045, respectively.
All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
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