First Sergeant Frock coat

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Hindsight is always 20/20 I guess. I'm sorry you missed out on that grouping. I missed an opportunity to purchase a Sgt's Sack coat a couple of years ago, it ended up being sold to the Fort Worth Civil War Museum. I kick myself all the time for not pulling the trigger on it.

Another dealer currently has a LT. frock coat that has shadows on the sleeves where 1st Sgt. Chevrons were removed. It is also missing the light blue trim but is attributed to the 52nd Massachusetts. I was curious why it would be missing the trim and thought maybe it was just a private purchase coat.
I’ve seen that coat in person, might have pulled the trigger except the promotion to Lt. was post war. The coat was altered to an officer’s coat. There is another very nice coat running around attributed to a Sgt, but is an officer’s coat, the sgt was wounded before his commission came through and never served as an officer due to invalid status. I have his GAR uniform, canteen, cartridge box, belt, war date slouch and stencil, but did not buy the officer’s frock when it appeared, since it was never used.
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
I’ve seen that coat in person, might have pulled the trigger except the promotion to Lt. was post war. The coat was altered to an officer’s coat. There is another very nice coat running around attributed to a Sgt, but is an officer’s coat, the sgt was wounded before his commission came through and never served as an officer due to invalid status. I have his GAR uniform, canteen, cartridge box, belt, war date slouch and stencil, but did not buy the officer’s frock when it appeared, since it was never used.
I've been tempted to buy it but I think I'm going to hold out because I really want a sack coat. I also have my eye on a Major General frock coat attributed to John B. McIntosh but it appears he was brevetted as Major General of volunteers toward the end of the war so the coat is possibly just post war era and only worn until 1866 when he was mustered out of the volunteer service. I still like the coat and may try to add it to my collection later if it's still available.

That sounds like a very nice grouping, you are very lucky to have it. If you get a chance I would love to see pictures.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Horror of Horrors! I know - but I really think you'll need to POLISH the brass (something I do normally, at least to Union items) for this to look *right* with the uniform.
I know it would look much nicer if it had a mirror shine on it but I have a hard time bringing myself to polish/clean antiques. I've always been taught antiques should be left as is or you risk diminishing the value. I may bring myself to do it eventually but its going to be difficult 🤷‍♂️
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
I know it would look much nicer if it had a mirror shine on it but I have a hard time bringing myself to polish/clean antiques. I've always been taught antiques should be left as is or you risk diminishing the value. I may bring myself to do it eventually but its going to be difficult 🤷‍♂️
If you're careful and only remove the tarnish it shouldn't hurt - and they'll always darken again if anybody cares! Here are two M.1840's I cleaned up, though they were already in very nice condition when i got them, now many years ago:

M. 1840 U.S. Musician's and N.C.O.'s Swords by Ames | Small Arms & Edged Weapons (civilwartalk.com)
 

Billw12280

Sergeant
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
If you're careful and only remove the tarnish it shouldn't hurt - and they'll always darken again if anybody cares! Here are two M.1840's I cleaned up, though they were already in very nice condition when i got them, now many years ago:

M. 1840 U.S. Musician's and N.C.O.'s Swords by Ames | Small Arms & Edged Weapons (civilwartalk.com)
Those are very nice examples and they do look nice cleaned up, what product did you use on them? It's definitely something to consider although, again, it will be hard to bring myself to do it. My grandmother was an avid coin and antique collector and preached the evils of cleaning/polishing coins and said most antiques should only receive a light surface cleaning/dusting. I'm not saying your advice is wrong and I do like the look of your polished swords, I just have years of my grandmother's "education" to the contrary and its not going to be easy to overcome.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Those are very nice examples and they do look nice cleaned up, what product did you use on them? It's definitely something to consider although, again, it will be hard to bring myself to do it. My grandmother was an avid coin and antique collector and preached the evils of cleaning/polishing coins and said most antiques should only receive a light surface cleaning/dusting. I'm not saying your advice is wrong and I do like the look of your polished swords, I just have years of my grandmother's "education" to the contrary and its not going to be easy to overcome.
I remember my first sword purchase, it was at a local auction and IIRC an 1863 dated Emerson & Silver non com sword. Well I couldn’t wait to get it back home and go to work on it. I got that piece in issue condition and when I showed it to Dave Taylor, proud as a peacock, he said, ”very nice, you just cleaned about $200 off of that sword.” Lesson learned.
 

Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
All this talk reminds me of my former step-dad, a religious collector of 1st Gen. Colt SAA's.

I remember when I was a kid, he'd buy a nice condition one, then right away, and I mean immediately send it off to be restored. Usually to a gunsmith he never used before. I remember SO MANY great condition guns he got for what would now be a steal, only to send it off and it come back with something wrong.

The most memorable being a circa-1890 Colt SAA in .41 Colt. It was in great shootable condition, he sent it off to be restored, and after two years threw a fit at the gunsmith to get it back, and it came back looking like a brand new Colt SAA, BUT with the topstrap of the frame bent so slightly that the barrel had an upward tilt that really wasn't discernable at first glance.

I swear, he never got as much money selling or trading those guns as he thought they were worth, and to this day he still insists he didn't destroy their value. But the benefit of such an upbringing was me and my brothers didn't run around the woods shooting .22's at the range. We got to play with 1st Gen Colts and pre-1800 M1873 Winchesters, more than any kid could expect.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
Those are very nice examples and they do look nice cleaned up, what product did you use on them? It's definitely something to consider although, again, it will be hard to bring myself to do it. My grandmother was an avid coin and antique collector and preached the evils of cleaning/polishing coins and said most antiques should only receive a light surface cleaning/dusting. I'm not saying your advice is wrong and I do like the look of your polished swords, I just have years of my grandmother's "education" to the contrary and its not going to be easy to overcome.
I tend to use nothing stronger or more abrasive than Brasso applied with a soft cloth and/or a commercial polishing cloth. (Do NOT let the Brasso or anything similar get into the crevices of the faux-wire grip; if you do it will turn GREEN and need to be dug out with a toothpick!) I too have heard that cleaning coins is a definite no-no. Rust on blades is another matter, however, and it is my belief that anything like active surface rust SHOULD be removed, even with a 0000 grade steel wool and a little oil. Nothing that would leave scratches or do permanent damage should likely be done though.

I remember my first sword purchase, it was at a local auction and IIRC an 1863 dated Emerson & Silver non com sword. Well I couldn’t wait to get it back home and go to work on it. I got that piece in issue condition and when I showed it to Dave Taylor, proud as a peacock, he said, ”very nice, you just cleaned about $200 off of that sword.” Lesson learned.
This issue is largely a matter of opinion; for example Europeans seem to prefer their weapons to be clean and shiny, as they are in Paris' Musee de l'Armee. I would certainly agree with not doing anything to a Confederate piece, especially if it would in any way muddy the likelihood of it being questioned as to authenticity. But with relatively common Union items, I'm more likely to do whatever I want to satisfy how I think they should look best.
 
Top