✅ SOLVED Unknown Waist Belt Plate

paleomaxx

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Just dug this up this afternoon and I'm really excited about it! It's the same size as an 1814-1824 infantry waist belt plate and has the same attachments on the back. The bar separated from the plate, but I found it in the same hole.

Plate 1.jpg

Plate 2.jpg


I've never seen this type though. It has an eagle sitting on either a rock or a mountain peak surrounded by a wreath. It's stamped brass with heavy gold gilt that looks to be mostly intact on the front! Has anyone seen this design before and know if it's State militia, military, or something else?
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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Your waistbelt-plate find is shown in the book "American Military Belt Plates" by Michael J. O'Donnell & J. Duncan Campbell. See page 121, plate #188.
O'Donnell says it is a:
Waist Belt Plate, Common Militia Plate, circa 1825-35.
Remarks:
"Typical stock pattern militia plate struck in the center with a round convex die and no outer border. Possibly an import [from Britain or France], it features the eagle-on-rocks (also "stony mountain" or "rocky crag") motif popular during the 1820s and 1830s, often associated with New York militia. An identical 2-piece plate was marketed."

I see you are located in New York -- which matches up nicely with what O'Donnell says about this plate.
 
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Retired Sarge

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Your waistbelt-plate find is shown in the book "American Military Belt Plates" by Michael J. O'Donnell & J. Duncan Campbell. See page 121, plate #188.
O'Donnell says it is a:
Waist Belt Plate, Common Militia Plate, circa 1825-35.
Remarks:
"Typical stock pattern militia plate struck in the center with a round convex die and no outer border. Possibly an import [from Britain or France], it features the eagle-on-rocks (also "stony mountain" or "rocky crag") motif popular during the 1820s and 1830s, often associated with New York militia. An identical 2-piece plate was marketed."

I see you are located in New York -- which matches up nicely with what O'Donnell says about this plate.

.....And CBG in for the solve and the save!

A purely academic question, CBG, since he has the bar, would/should this be repaired or is better left as is?
 
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paleomaxx

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Your waistbelt-plate find is shown in the book "American Military Belt Plates" by Michael J. O'Donnell & J. Duncan Campbell. See page 121, plate #188.
O'Donnell says it is a:
Waist Belt Plate, Common Militia Plate, circa 1825-35.
Remarks:
"Typical stock pattern militia plate struck in the center with a round convex die and no outer border. Possibly an import [from Britain or France], it features the eagle-on-rocks (also "stony mountain" or "rocky crag") motif popular during the 1820s and 1830s, often associated with New York militia. An identical 2-piece plate was marketed."

I see you are located in New York -- which matches up nicely with what O'Donnell says about this plate.
Thank you so much! I was wondering if the plate would be in that book. I have a copy of American Military Insignia 1800-1851, by J. Duncan Campbell, but I dig plates so rarely that I didn't think I needed 'American Military Belt Plates.' Guess I should find a copy!

It says common, does that mean commonly available at the time? I can't find any other examples of this particular plate online so I doesn't seem like their are that many surviving examples.
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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Retired Sarge asked:
> A purely academic question, CBG, since he has the bar, would/should this be repaired or is better left as is?

IMO, regarding whether or not to repair, every damaged relic is an individual "judgement call" case. This one is quite simple to do, and no "modern" material is needed... except for a tiny bit of Elmer's School-Glue. It is water-soluble, so it can be removed if necessary. The tiny spot of Elmer's will be visible where the bar gets re-attached, which IMO is acceptable so that nobody even in the far future will ever incorrectly think that the plate was found intact.

Speaking as a 40-something-year relic dealer (but now retired) as well as a digger, I do not object to all repairs... just the non-obvious repairs that somebody "forgets to mention" when they are selling the relic.
 
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paleomaxx

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Retired Sarge asked:
> A purely academic question, CBG, since he has the bar, would/should this be repaired or is better left as is?

IMO, regarding whether or not to repair, every damaged relic is an individual "judgement call" case. This one is quite simple to do, and no "modern" material is needed... except for a tiny bit of Elmer's School-Glue. It is water-soluble, so it can be removed if necessary. The tiny spot of Elmer's will be visible where the bar gets re-attached, which IMO is acceptable so that nobody even in the far future will ever incorrectly think that the plate was found intact.

Speaking as a 40-something-year relic dealer (but now retired) as well as a digger, I do not object to all repairs... just the non-obvious ones that somebody "forgets to mention" when they are selling the relic.
.....And CBG in for the solve and the save!

A purely academic question, CBG, since he has the bar, would/should this be repaired or is better left as is?
From a display standpoint the bar wouldn't be visible so I probably wouldn't invest much to reattach it. I also don't mind flaws like that on dug relics as I prefer an authentic "recovered" look. That being said, TheCannonballGuy is correct. A few spots of glue and it would be all set! :laughing7: The solder they used on these tends to corrode first separating the bar from the plate, but leaving a pretty clear surfaces for reattaching.
 
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TheCannonballGuy

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Paleomaxx asked:
> It says common, does that mean commonly available at the time?

Unfortunately, my 40-year friend, co-publisher, and digging-buddy Mike O'Donnell passed away a few months ago... so I am unable to pass your question along to him. I assume the book's use of the term "Common" in the description title of a plate meant something like "generic" rather than "plentiful."
Regarding "generic"... although your plate's emblem does show a patriotic-type American eagle, nothing on the plate represents a PARTICULAR state or militia unit... thus it could be supplied to any American state or city or county's militia unit.
 
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paleomaxx

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Paleomaxx asked:
> It says common, does that mean commonly available at the time?

Unfortunately, my 40-year friend, co-publisher, and digging-buddy Mike O'Donnell passed away a few months ago... so I am unable to pass your question along to him. I assume the book's use of the term "Common" in the description title of a plate meant something like "generic" rather than "plentiful."
Regarding "generic"... although your plate's emblem does show a patriotic-type American eagle, nothing on the plate represents a PARTICULAR state or militia unit... thus it could be supplied to any American state or city or county's militia unit.
That makes sense. It was recovered in New York State, but I've excavated two other pre-Civil War NYS militia plates that seem to be more plentiful and also have "excelsior" or the eagle and globe. I did just find an auction sale listing from 2009 that shows one of these plates sold at Bonhams in San Francisco. That example was silver washed, but otherwise looks to be the same die.

PS
My condolences for the loss of your friend, I'm very sorry to hear that he has passed away.
 
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