πŸ₯‡ BANNER Unexpected 1825-1835 Militia Waist Belt Plate! Rare Variety Too!!!

paleomaxx

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Aug 14, 2016
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Wouldn't have guessed in a million years I would be digging this up yesterday! Pretty standard yard hunt and my expectations were low. The house is relatively modern, but sits where an 1860's house once stood. I presume there had been lots of landscaping done during and after to construction, but it's not too far from the town center so I wanted to give it a try anyways. The first hour was the usual yard bits like aluminum, nondescript iron, and the occasional modern coin. I got to one spot that was filled with trashy overload signals and pulled out two zinc mason jar lids which were at least older than what had been turning up before. I get another shallow overload and flip over the plug to see a square of metal. Held it up to the light and saw this:

Plate 1.jpg


:hello2: That's not trash! Flipped it over and confirmed what I suspected:

Plate 2.jpg


Somehow I had stumbled on an early waist belt plate in the middle of this yard! I saw the tongue was there, but the bar was missing so I re-scanned the hole and sure enough found the bar. The solder had corroded from ground action so it separated right where the solder joint was on either side. Apart from a few bends and dings that the landscaping had imparted, this thing was in fantastic shape and I could see lots of the original gold gilt still under the dirt. All it took was a few minutes with dilute lemon juice and a toothbrush to bring it back!

Plate 5.jpg


Plate 6.jpg


I knew it was a waist belt plate and likely an early 1800's one from the style, but I had never seen one like this before either posted here or in Campbell's 'American Military Insignia 1800-1851.'

I posted it in the 'What Is It' forum and TheCannonballGuy ID'd it as an 1825-1835 militia waist belt plate (#188 in American Military Belt Plates by Michael J. O'Donnell; J. Duncan Campbell)! There isn't a ton of background information on it, but it may have been a British-made plate that was available for purchase by the various US local militias at the time. It's most associated with New York, but it definitely wasn't a popular purchase as these plates seem to be vanishingly scarce. It took me hours, but I found a single archived auction listing from back in 2009 where a silver washed specimen sold:

Sale Plate 2.jpg


Unlike most other plates of the day, these ones are stamped on copper and not brass. This would have made them much softer and easier to damage so perhaps that was why not many were purchased. Any militia plate is a rare dig, but this one is a well preserved and scarce to boot! Definitely over the moon with this find!

Plate 4.jpg
 
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Upvote 99

Florida Finder

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Wouldn't have guessed in a million years I would be digging this up yesterday! Pretty standard yard hunt and my expectations were low. The house is relatively modern, but sits where an 1860's house once stood. I presume there had been lots of landscaping done during and after to construction, but it's not too far from the town center so I wanted to give it a try anyways. The first hour was the usual yard bits like aluminum, nondescript iron, and the occasional modern coin. I got to one spot that was filled with trashy overload signals and pulled out two zinc mason jar lids which were at least older than what had been turning up before. I get another shallow overload and flip over the plug to see a square of metal. Held it up to the light and saw this:

View attachment 2049006

:hello2: That's not trash! Flipped it over and confirmed what I suspected:

View attachment 2049007

Somehow I had stumbled on an early waist belt plate in the middle of this yard! I saw the tongue was there, but the bar was missing so I re-scanned the hole and sure enough found the bar. The solder had corroded from ground action so it separated right where the solder joint was on either side. Apart from a few bends and dings that the landscaping had imparted, this thing was in fantastic shape and I could see lots of the original gold gilt still under the dirt. All it took was a few minutes with dilute lemon juice and a toothbrush to bring it back!

View attachment 2049008

View attachment 2049009

I knew it was a waist belt plate and likely an early 1800's one from the style, but I had never seen one like this before either posted here or in Campbell's 'American Military Insignia 1800-1851.'

I posted it in the 'What Is It' forum and TheCannonballGuy ID'd it as an 1825-1835 militia waist belt plate (#188 in American Military Belt Plates by Michael J. O'Donnell; J. Duncan Campbell)! There isn't a ton of background information on it, but it may have been a British-made plate that was available for purchase by the various US local militias at the time. It's most associated with New York, but it definitely wasn't a popular purchase as these plates seem to be vanishingly scarce. It took me hours, but I found a single archived auction listing from back in 2009 where a silver washed specimen sold:

View attachment 2049010

Unlike most other plates of the day, these ones are stamped on copper and not brass. This would have made them much softer and easier to damage so perhaps that was why not many were purchased. Any militia plate is a rare dig, but this one is a well preserved and scarce to boot! Definitely over the moon with this find!

View attachment 2049011
That’s truly astounding. I’m getting goose bumps just looking at the pics. Congratulations.
 

billb

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Sep 23, 2010
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Wouldn't have guessed in a million years I would be digging this up yesterday! Pretty standard yard hunt and my expectations were low. The house is relatively modern, but sits where an 1860's house once stood. I presume there had been lots of landscaping done during and after to construction, but it's not too far from the town center so I wanted to give it a try anyways. The first hour was the usual yard bits like aluminum, nondescript iron, and the occasional modern coin. I got to one spot that was filled with trashy overload signals and pulled out two zinc mason jar lids which were at least older than what had been turning up before. I get another shallow overload and flip over the plug to see a square of metal. Held it up to the light and saw this:

View attachment 2049006

:hello2: That's not trash! Flipped it over and confirmed what I suspected:

View attachment 2049007

Somehow I had stumbled on an early waist belt plate in the middle of this yard! I saw the tongue was there, but the bar was missing so I re-scanned the hole and sure enough found the bar. The solder had corroded from ground action so it separated right where the solder joint was on either side. Apart from a few bends and dings that the landscaping had imparted, this thing was in fantastic shape and I could see lots of the original gold gilt still under the dirt. All it took was a few minutes with dilute lemon juice and a toothbrush to bring it back!

View attachment 2049008

View attachment 2049009

I knew it was a waist belt plate and likely an early 1800's one from the style, but I had never seen one like this before either posted here or in Campbell's 'American Military Insignia 1800-1851.'

I posted it in the 'What Is It' forum and TheCannonballGuy ID'd it as an 1825-1835 militia waist belt plate (#188 in American Military Belt Plates by Michael J. O'Donnell; J. Duncan Campbell)! There isn't a ton of background information on it, but it may have been a British-made plate that was available for purchase by the various US local militias at the time. It's most associated with New York, but it definitely wasn't a popular purchase as these plates seem to be vanishingly scarce. It took me hours, but I found a single archived auction listing from back in 2009 where a silver washed specimen sold:

View attachment 2049010

Unlike most other plates of the day, these ones are stamped on copper and not brass. This would have made them much softer and easier to damage so perhaps that was why not many were purchased. Any militia plate is a rare dig, but this one is a well preserved and scarce to boot! Definitely over the moon with this find!

View attachment 2049011
Congratulations on your major accomplishment
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Digger RJ

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Aug 24, 2017
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Wouldn't have guessed in a million years I would be digging this up yesterday! Pretty standard yard hunt and my expectations were low. The house is relatively modern, but sits where an 1860's house once stood. I presume there had been lots of landscaping done during and after to construction, but it's not too far from the town center so I wanted to give it a try anyways. The first hour was the usual yard bits like aluminum, nondescript iron, and the occasional modern coin. I got to one spot that was filled with trashy overload signals and pulled out two zinc mason jar lids which were at least older than what had been turning up before. I get another shallow overload and flip over the plug to see a square of metal. Held it up to the light and saw this:

View attachment 2049006

:hello2: That's not trash! Flipped it over and confirmed what I suspected:

View attachment 2049007

Somehow I had stumbled on an early waist belt plate in the middle of this yard! I saw the tongue was there, but the bar was missing so I re-scanned the hole and sure enough found the bar. The solder had corroded from ground action so it separated right where the solder joint was on either side. Apart from a few bends and dings that the landscaping had imparted, this thing was in fantastic shape and I could see lots of the original gold gilt still under the dirt. All it took was a few minutes with dilute lemon juice and a toothbrush to bring it back!

View attachment 2049008

View attachment 2049009

I knew it was a waist belt plate and likely an early 1800's one from the style, but I had never seen one like this before either posted here or in Campbell's 'American Military Insignia 1800-1851.'

I posted it in the 'What Is It' forum and TheCannonballGuy ID'd it as an 1825-1835 militia waist belt plate (#188 in American Military Belt Plates by Michael J. O'Donnell; J. Duncan Campbell)! There isn't a ton of background information on it, but it may have been a British-made plate that was available for purchase by the various US local militias at the time. It's most associated with New York, but it definitely wasn't a popular purchase as these plates seem to be vanishingly scarce. It took me hours, but I found a single archived auction listing from back in 2009 where a silver washed specimen sold:

View attachment 2049010

Unlike most other plates of the day, these ones are stamped on copper and not brass. This would have made them much softer and easier to damage so perhaps that was why not many were purchased. Any militia plate is a rare dig, but this one is a well preserved and scarce to boot! Definitely over the moon with this find!

View attachment 2049011
Awesome !!!!! Congrats!!!!!
 
OP
P

paleomaxx

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Aug 14, 2016
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  • #16
Couldn't you have found one that wasn't dirty?:laughing7: That's one of the nicest looking early plates I have ever seen! Nice! Actually, beyond nice.
I know, right! Hideous! :laughing7: Crazy how much variation you see from the soil chemistry. I'll dig up a hundred corroded flat buttons and then find one that looks like it was dropped yesterday. The soil here was super sandy and this was so close to the surface that it had to be close to perfect conditions. It's also possible given the close proximity to the trash area and all the mason jar lids, that this was discarded in the late 1800's. That would have saved it 60 years of ground action too.
 

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