πŸ₯‡ BANNER FIND OF A LIFETIME- South Carolina CONTINENTAL Dragoons

VMI Digger

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Hey guys,

While this hobby certainly has its highs and lows, perseverance always seems to pay off. A little over a year ago I got my first Safari and like most my initial finds began modest (lots of iron nails and aluminum pull tabs). Then after months swinging the machine something amazing happened- I found my first British pewter buttons from the Revolutionary War. Matching 3rd and 19th Regiment of Foot pewter buttons. My research proved that the British had landed at the site and with Gheenoe's recent discovery of a 23rd Regiment of Foot button, we can confirm occupation by the 3rd, 19th, and 23rd...tasked with capturing Francis Marion, the famed "Swamp Fox". While the British were unsuccessful in Marion's capture, the British ambush did result in the capture of 67 Continentals.

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From this point forward I was hooked on detecting and the history of the Revolutionary War. Tons of research later, multiple remote explorations with Gheenoe78, and a new CTX 3030 proved to make the difference today. My find of a lifetime- an ultra-rare SOUTH CAROLINA DRAGOONS pewter coat button! Given that the site was exclusively occupied by the British, it is possible that this button may have belonged to a continental POW! I also managed an unknown pewter cuff that I suspect to be British. Props to Vino for some excellent programming advice and Gheenoe78 for the ID. I will certainly remember this day for a long while!

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Thanks for looking

UPDATE: Given the provenance of the site as a British staging camp, Troiani's updated classification as a loyalist button, and Robert Silverstein's research on the SC light mounted cavalry, it appears the button MAY in fact be attributed to the SC Loyalists. In the interest of full disclosure, significant mystery still surrounds this particular pewter, and ones like it, however I have yet to see another example with a flag aft of the rider. Still my favorite and most rare find to date! Here's a link to learn more from Silverstein's research http://www.georgewashingtoninauguralbuttons.com/1776-1783american-torybritish-crown-loyalist/ For Don Troiani's take, reference the "Loyalist" section in his book Insignia of Independence.
 
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Iron Patch

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I'll send Don some pictures and see what his current opinions on the subject are, will post his comments once received!


I'm guessing he'll probably tell you what he knows is what's in the book, but he might be more familiar with how many of these are around these days in general. I wish I had a picture of the silver tack I had, it being the same design but something so different.
 

Erik in NJ

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IP,

Based one what you described here there's a good chance you may know more than Don T about these "mounted rider buttons" having owned six of them yourself--there are only three referenced in the book. Have you communicated with him regarding what you know and have learned esp in regard to the ones dug in England etc? If not it may be helpful in expanding the knowledge base and perhaps getting some better answers with regard to origin and use of these seemingly enigmatic Rev War-era buttons.
 

Iron Patch

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IP,

Based one what you described here there's a good chance you may know more than Don T about these "mounted rider buttons" having owned six of them yourself--there are only three referenced in the book. Have you communicated with him regarding what you know and have learned esp in regard to the ones dug in England etc? If not it may be helpful in expanding the knowledge base and perhaps getting some better answers with regard to origin and use of these seemingly enigmatic Rev War-era buttons.


No, it's never come up, and I never really had a good reason to. If you look in the latest book he calls the category "Misc. and Post War buttons," and only has two different types listed. These are simply not a priority and I'm pretty sure any communication with him will reflect that, although I'm sure he is curious about them as he did think enough of them to put them in the book.
 

Erik in NJ

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I ask because you feel they are still mislabeled in his book. Priority or not, I assume he wants his book to be as accurate as possible and you may have better insight into these buttons than he does at this point such that the English samples can also be referenced regarding origin and provenance for the next version of his book. I was just curious--thanks for the reply.

Regarding the Silverstein site, I agree that the GW buttons for him seem to be more of a serious hobby and an attempt to pull together as much information that is out there regarding them. I contacted him once regarding a potential new variation posted here several years back and he was quite busy with other matters. I'm not sure I consider him to be a bona fide scholar on these buttons, but it is an interesting site and a reasonable on-line reference.

Fascinating thread so far!
 

Iron Patch

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I ask because you feel they are still mislabeled in his book. Priority or not, I assume he wants his book to be as accurate as possible and you may have better insight into these buttons than he does at this point such that the English samples can also be referenced regarding origin and provenance for the next version of his book. I was just curious--thanks for the reply.

Regarding the Silverstein site, I agree that the GW buttons for him seem to be more of a serious hobby and an attempt to pull together as much information that is out there regarding them. I contacted him once regarding a potential new variation posted here several years back and he was quite busy with other matters. I'm not sure I consider him to be a bona fide scholar on these buttons, but it is an interesting site and a reasonable on-line reference.

Fascinating thread so far!



He was just going by what he knew, and it says found in VA, PA, and other sites. The question is how many that are turning up are actually from early American sites. I believe far more are found in the UK based on what I've seen over the past decade, but it would be interesting to know how many are dug on this side. I believe the ID could change again if there was another book, but the current one is good enough that I suspect there will not be. These buttons are not of high interest to people and you just have to look at the pricing to know that. Money talks, and no one will back up calling these significant with cash, and that's because it's an Unknown. $50 $100, $150, because they are interesting, but that tends to be about it.
 

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Awsome Finds! Awesome Research! Those are some killer button finds.
 
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Hey guys,

This thread has definitely been a wealth of knowledge regarding the mystery rider button. Great discussion on both sides, however given the only comparable examples, I am inclined to stick with my original assessment as loyalist cloak button. Having sent multiple images to Don T, an authority on Rev buttons, his original assessment as published "unknown loyalist button" has remained unchanged. Thanks for all the contributions

Jon,

Nice finds. Basically everything that's know about these is in the book. Nothing new since publication sorry to say, however you find certainly reinforces things.

Don
 

Iron Patch

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Hey guys,

This thread has definitely been a wealth of knowledge regarding the mystery rider button. Great discussion on both sides, however given the only comparable examples, I am inclined to stick with my original assessment as loyalist cloak button. Having sent multiple images to Don T, an authority on Rev buttons, his original assessment as published "unknown loyalist button" has remained unchanged. Thanks for all the contributions

Jon,

Nice finds. Basically everything that's know about these is in the book. Nothing new since publication sorry to say, however you find certainly reinforces things.

Don



Being you want to give more credibility to the two buttons you can actually see, then I guess believing what I am telling you, I happen to know the people quite well where a couple of mine went, so to back up my claim a little (a lot I would hope) ....have a look at this one.
 

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Vino

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Being you want to give more credibility to the two buttons you can actually see, then I guess believing what I am telling you, I happen to know the people quite well where a couple of mine went, so to back up my claim a little (a lot I would hope) ....have a look at this one.

Not the same! Nothing like it..
Thats a sporting button
 

Erik in NJ

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Looks just like button A in Troiani's book..you should send this pic to him. Seeing the mint version almost looks like a boy is riding the horse--no military semblance. It does appear that these may be an early sportsman's buttons if this button dates to the same time frame as the others--I'd say you have a pretty compelling match. The OPs button does have a different border and a flag aft of the rider and does appear a bit older.

Being you want to give more credibility to the two buttons you can actually see, then I guess believing what I am telling you, I happen to know the people quite well where a couple of mine went, so to back up my claim a little (a lot I would hope) ....have a look at this one.
 
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Iron Patch

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Looks just like button A in Troiani's book..you should send this pic to him. The mint version almost looks like a boy is riding the horse. No military semblance on this one. It does appear to be an early sportsman's button in this pic. If this button dates to the same time frame as the others, I'd say you have a pretty compelling match. The OPs button does have a different border and a flag aft of the rider.


There's many variants. I may have had one with a different border but don't recall for sure. But as I said I had a solid silver tack that was the same type design, but totally unlike the button.
 

Iron Patch

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Oh its freaking gorgeous! !!!
I would die if i ever found one of them..


I think I got $250 for it. Compare to a true rare mint Rev war button.... over 10 times as much. I have no idea what these things are but does not mean I do not like them a lot. I too would love to find one.
 
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I think I got $250 for it. Compare to a true rare mint Rev war button.... over 10 times as much. I have no idea what these things are but does not mean I do not like them a lot. I too would love to find one.

Thanks for tracking down a picture for comparison IP, I agree with Erik, yours does have a resemblance to example a in Don's book. As far as the monetary value, I am not sure that proves or disproves anything, rather it acknowledges there is still uncertainly surrounding a positive ID.

A few observations regarding construction- mine is 23mm, cast in pewter from a scissor mold, identical to the 3rd/19th/23rd buttons. The rider in relation to the horse is much taller (extending to the top of the inner border and appears to be an adult rather than a child), with a proportionally smaller sword extended vertically rather than at an angle as in your example. Also, consider the subtle details in the horse's demeanor- mine is upright in a trot with the front leg bent at 45 degrees. Perhaps the most glaring element that lends itself to a military variety rather than a sporting button is the flag aft of the rider, a feature missing from all available examples.

Again thanks for tracking down the example, although having reviewed the 2 buttons, I am more confident in affirming yours a fine sporting button, rather than disregarding mine as merely a variant of the same. I suppose this is why these have remained a mystery for so long.
 
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Iron Patch

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Thanks for tracking down a picture for comparison IP, I agree with Erik, yours does have a resemblance to example a in Don's book. As far as the monetary value, I am not sure that proves or disproves anything, rather it acknowledges there is still uncertainly surrounding a positive ID.

A few observations regarding construction- mine is 23mm, cast in pewter from a scissor mold, identical to the 3rd/19th/23rd buttons. The rider in relation to the horse is much taller (extending to the top of the inner border and appears to be an adult rather than a child), with a proportionally smaller sword extended vertically rather than at an angle as in your example. Perhaps the most glaring element that lends itself to a military variety rather than a sporting button is the flag aft of the rider, a feature missing from all available examples.

Again thanks for tracking down the example, although having reviewed the 2 buttons, I am more confident in affirming yours a fine sporting button, rather than disregarding mine as merely a variant of the same. I suppose this is why these have remained a mystery for so long.


There very well may be several in the mix with different IDs... but that doesn't change that there is no id, but makes it more possible yours is American made. Just too bad we'll probably never know for sure. What the price does is shows the interest. There is little demand for these, as is the case with most unknowns. The Snake buttons are really the only ones I know of without a clear ID that fetch some good money when extremely rare or in great condition, or both.

I had taken a picture of my button (or seal) earlier, but decided not to post it.... but since this thread is going again I'll throw it on. It's lead, and not the best detail, but still an interesting find.
 

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There very well may be several in the mix with different IDs... but that doesn't change that there is no id, but makes it more possible yours is American made. Just too bad we'll probably never know for sure. What the price does is shows the interest. There is little demand for these, as is the case with most unknowns. The Snake buttons are really the only ones I know of without a clear ID that fetch some good money when extremely rare or in great condition, or both.

I had taken a picture of my button (or seal) earlier, but decided not to post it.... but since this thread is going again I'll throw it on. It's lead, and not the best detail, but still an interesting find.

Nice Dig IP, more crude than the British variants as you mentioned but certainly the right period.
 

Erik in NJ

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I forgot to ask...what is the source of this button? US or UK? Also can you get a pic of the back of it? I'm assuming due to the mint condition of this button that it was not dug.

Being you want to give more credibility to the two buttons you can actually see, then I guess believing what I am telling you, I happen to know the people quite well where a couple of mine went, so to back up my claim a little (a lot I would hope) ....have a look at this one.
 

Iron Patch

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I forgot to ask...what is the source of this button? US or UK? Also can you get a pic of the back of it? I'm assuming due to the mint condition of this button that it was not dug.


UK and was dug. I didn't request a shot of the back, and he didn't add one... but it does have the shank. If he ever loses it, you might find it. :)
 

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