Nathan Bedford Forrest Ban

Texas Johnny

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Jan 29, 2019
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Texas
I have been collecting Civil War artifacts since I was a little kid. Since I am now a "senior citizen" I have decided to dispose of some of my collection, to make it easier for my wife when I am gone.

I cannot part with my period firearms or the items I personally dug just yet so I decided to sell my paper items first. I have a collection of over 60+ items which includes diaries (including a daily diary by a Confederate soldier during the Gettysburg campaign), letters, 2 hand written battle orders (T.J. Jackson & W.T. Sherman), pre and post war letters signed by Civil War notables (R.E. Lee, Hood, Mosby, J.E. Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Davis, Stephens, Gordon, etc.), cut signatures (Longstreet, F. Lee, J. Brown, JEB Stuart, N.B. Forrest, etc.). I even have some Union notables, (Grant, Butler, Burnside, etc.).

I contact one of the largest auction houses, dealing in historical documents, in the United States to see if they were interested in handling the sale of these at one of their upcoming auctions. After they reviewed what I had they said that they were interested in handling all of it, except for the cut signature of Nathan Bedford Forrest. I was told that they will not handle anything in their auctions related to Forrest. When I asked why I was told it was their corporate policy. They also noted that the value of all things Confederate has declined over the last couple of years.

I assume some of you will say "good for them," but their anti-Forrest policy just doesn't sit well with me. I have decided to seek other avenues to sell my paper collection. I am curious what others think, do you think that this is this the start of a ban on Confederate memorabilia by some?
 

lelliott19

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They also noted that the value of all things Confederate has declined over the last couple of years.
You might want to speak with other collectors about this statement. From what I understand, that is not an accurate statement.

I think I'd just find another auction house --- one that is willing to broker the sale of all your items at once, including the Forrest autograph. @ucvrelics @Package4 @covers @History hoarder63 would you guys weigh in on the OP please?
 

NH Civil War Gal

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They also noted that the value of all things Confederate has declined over the last couple of years.
Wow - I find that statement strange. I thought, and had been told, that Confederate items have gone up in value because of their scarcity and that makes sense. And the ban on Forrest alone? That seems extremely odd to me.
 
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Southwest Mississippi
You might want to speak with other collectors about this statement. From what I understand, that is not an accurate statement.
Absolutely !

My first thought was this crew is trying to cheat him out of the potentially most valuable item in his collection.
I'm not a collector, but I occasionally glance at the current market for rare historic items.

I'm sure the experts will correct me ... but I think the rarity of real Forrest items along with renewed interest in such a
controversial figure would increase the value of anything Forrest.
 

ucvrelics

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Absolutely !

My first thought was this crew is trying to cheat him out of the potentially most valuable item in his collection.
I'm not a collector, but I occasionally glance at the current market for rare historic items.

I'm sure the experts will correct me ... but I think the rarity of real Forrest items along with renewed interest in such a
controversial figure would increase the value of anything Forrest.
They are not trying to cheat him as they don't want to take it. It's a post war cut signature on a RR bond. If they think CS items are going down find another auction house
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I have been collecting Civil War artifacts since I was a little kid. Since I am now a "senior citizen" I have decided to dispose of some of my collection, to make it easier for my wife when I am gone.

I cannot part with my period firearms or the items I personally dug just yet so I decided to sell my paper items first. I have a collection of over 60+ items which includes diaries (including a daily diary by a Confederate soldier during the Gettysburg campaign), letters, 2 hand written battle orders (T.J. Jackson & W.T. Sherman), pre and post war letters signed by Civil War notables (R.E. Lee, Hood, Mosby, J.E. Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Davis, Stephens, Gordon, etc.), cut signatures (Longstreet, F. Lee, J. Brown, JEB Stuart, N.B. Forrest, etc.). I even have some Union notables, (Grant, Butler, Burnside, etc.).

I contact one of the largest auction houses, dealing in historical documents, in the United States to see if they were interested in handling the sale of these at one of their upcoming auctions. After they reviewed what I had they said that they were interested in handling all of it, except for the cut signature of Nathan Bedford Forrest. I was told that they will not handle anything in their auctions related to Forrest. When I asked why I was told it was their corporate policy. They also noted that the value of all things Confederate has declined over the last couple of years.

I assume some of you will say "good for them," but their anti-Forrest policy just doesn't sit well with me. I have decided to seek other avenues to sell my paper collection. I am curious what others think, do you think that this is this the start of a ban on Confederate memorabilia by some?
All of this sounds odd to me, Forrest items if anything fetch a premium, as do all Confederate items.

I'll admit, Confederate items have diminished in value some, just not in the way you'd think. The internet has made them more available, more by the day, and certain items like say a Richmond Rifle-Musket, fetch $4k compared to the $10k and $20k because there's more often seen on the market than they used to be. Then there's the fact that the numbers of actual collectors is dropping and thus prices.

Less competition+less buyers+more items= lower prices

I don't think politics has a thing to do with it at all, and the market is still strong, I ain't ever heard of banning CS artifacts anywhere.
 
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Mar 19, 2018
The last 2 C.W. online auctions in Wisconsin brought crazy prices. In both auctions 1 person bought 80 % of the lots. GAR items had strong bids in both. Some auction houses will not sell *German WWII* items (Edited.) I would shop around and observe how the auction houses handle their business . Some do a poor job in the descriptions of the items. Good luck !
 
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Package4

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Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I have been collecting Civil War artifacts since I was a little kid. Since I am now a "senior citizen" I have decided to dispose of some of my collection, to make it easier for my wife when I am gone.

I cannot part with my period firearms or the items I personally dug just yet so I decided to sell my paper items first. I have a collection of over 60+ items which includes diaries (including a daily diary by a Confederate soldier during the Gettysburg campaign), letters, 2 hand written battle orders (T.J. Jackson & W.T. Sherman), pre and post war letters signed by Civil War notables (R.E. Lee, Hood, Mosby, J.E. Johnston, Beauregard, Bragg, Davis, Stephens, Gordon, etc.), cut signatures (Longstreet, F. Lee, J. Brown, JEB Stuart, N.B. Forrest, etc.). I even have some Union notables, (Grant, Butler, Burnside, etc.).

I contact one of the largest auction houses, dealing in historical documents, in the United States to see if they were interested in handling the sale of these at one of their upcoming auctions. After they reviewed what I had they said that they were interested in handling all of it, except for the cut signature of Nathan Bedford Forrest. I was told that they will not handle anything in their auctions related to Forrest. When I asked why I was told it was their corporate policy. They also noted that the value of all things Confederate has declined over the last couple of years.

I assume some of you will say "good for them," but their anti-Forrest policy just doesn't sit well with me. I have decided to seek other avenues to sell my paper collection. I am curious what others think, do you think that this is this the start of a ban on Confederate memorabilia by some?
Not knowing the auction house, it is hard to comment, but Confederate memorabilia has a much higher value than Federal. One must understand that all ACW values have declined after the halcyon days of the pre 2008
housing crash.

Authenticated Confederate items still bring a very high price tag, the auction house may not have the expertise to authenticate the signature, but didn’t want to admit.

Case in point, Federal Cav and Artillery jackets that were easily selling for $3,500 now struggle to get $2,500. Forage caps have held their value, but Federal officer uniforms have literally crashed.

Couple this with the graying of the collecting audience with very little new blood coming in and you have a natural decline in values. Good Confederate items will still bring a premium, but must have a bullet proof provenance.

I would look at another auction house, but first have the items authenticated by an expert, at one of the shows.
 

Texas Johnny

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Jan 29, 2019
Location
Texas
Not knowing the auction house, it is hard to comment, but Confederate memorabilia has a much higher value than Federal. One must understand that all ACW values have declined after the halcyon days of the pre 2008
housing crash.

Authenticated Confederate items still bring a very high price tag, the auction house may not have the expertise to authenticate the signature, but didn’t want to admit.

Case in point, Federal Cav and Artillery jackets that were easily selling for $3,500 now struggle to get $2,500. Forage caps have held their value, but Federal officer uniforms have literally crashed.

Couple this with the graying of the collecting audience with very little new blood coming in and you have a natural decline in values. Good Confederate items will still bring a premium, but must have a bullet proof provenance.

I would look at another auction house, but first have the items authenticated by an expert, at one of the shows.
Thanks Package4, excellent points! I hadn't considered a lack of expertise in authentication as being the reason not to accept the NBF signature, but not sure that is it. They seem perfectly willing to accept all the other documents without question, I did send them photos of each. I really think the ban on NBF is related to being politically correct.
 

ucvrelics

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@Package4 makes a valid point but in this case its the auction house. I looked at the piece in question and is a cut signature from a SM&M railroad bond which I have an original complete bond sighed twice by NBF and the signature is right as rain. Ray Charles could have authenticated it😎. The auction house is a major one that's auctions everything from A to Z and they not want the "F" disrupting the apple cart. About 8 years ago I bought a collection of KK&K stuff from them, Oh times have changed. I sent him to 2 of the top auctions that deal in CW ephemera.
 

rebracer

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Southern Louisiana
Well its their loss, what an absurd position. Nothing short of actual human remains should be "banned" from being sold. Its safe and easy to bash Forrest today and there is nothing brave about it.

As all of you have said, Confederate items going down in value is laughable and I wish for my selfish sake this was actually the case.

I have been saying for years that as we all get older the price of all ACW items should come down as fewer of us care anymore, but I have really yet to see this happen yet.
 
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Mar 19, 2018
Well its their loss, what an absurd position. Nothing short of actual human remains should be "banned" from being sold. Its safe and easy to bash Forrest today and there is nothing brave about it.

As all of you have said, Confederate items going down in value is laughable and I wish for my selfish sake this was actually the case.

I have been saying for years that as we all get older the price of all ACW items should come down as fewer of us care anymore, but I have really yet to see this happen yet.
As I said earlier. The last 2 online auctions I was in the prices were crazy. I think what may influence prices are the Stock Market real estate and investments has been way up the last 2 years and has created some extra disposable income for some people . I managed to get a group of photo's where there were 2 Civil War soldier CDV's that they did not list or photograph the group properly that cost me $22. Other than that I wasn't willing spend big money . On top of the big prices was the 18% buyers fee. On the other hand my wife collects antique dolls and that market has crashed lately and she got 6 dolls for about $400 where 10 years ago they would have been $2500. The nice thing is my Christmas shopping is done lol
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
You would think the bad rap ole Forrest is getting would drive the price up on his items. The history of collecting it seems the value of the losing sides items are more expensive then the winning sides items (except WW2 Japanese items, go figure?). Reb items all my collecting years got top dollar. Thank goodness my ancestors fought for the Union so it's cheaper to afford their items. You Rebs are expensive, more so than Wives and Daughters! I can't afford them either.
 
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Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
Reb items all my collecting years got top dollar. Thank goodness my ancestors fought for the Union so it's cheaper to afford their items. You Rebs are expensive

Basic economics.
Supply/demand.

Example:
For every ten thousand Yank buttons that still exist, there may be only one hundred Reb buttons on the same market.

You Rebs are expensive, more so than Wives and Daughters! I can't afford them either.
:rofl:

Yep, that's one fact where both North & South guys could put down the weapons and agree upon a
common issue.

:D
 
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Joined
Nov 15, 2019
You might want to speak with other collectors about this statement. From what I understand, that is not an accurate statement.

I think I'd just find another auction house --- one that is willing to broker the sale of all your items at once, including the Forrest autograph. @ucvrelics @Package4 @covers @History hoarder63 would you guys weigh in on the OP please?
Confederate material is still bringing serious money at shows and auctions. Many CW items of the more common variety dropped in value over the last 15-20 years because of a flood of material going up on eBay etc but rare stuff still is in high demand and hard to get. Heritage Auctions, Alexander Autographs and a few other big firms are seeing record sales prices on certain Confederate material nowadays.
 
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