Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As I've said before, one never knows what will turn up here in the historic old town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This small 43-page "book" is a good example. It's an 1848 first edition of Chief Okah Tubbee's autobiography. That said, I have to admit that Tubbee's background raises questions as to whether or not he was really a Native American. If you're interested in reading a quick summary of the book, go here: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/tubbee/summary.html. What a wild ride this fellow had in his life! Read it and you'll be fascinated.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This is my favorite. It doesn't look like much, but when you consider the conditions under which it was probably made, this small object takes on a whole new meaning.

I dug it from a Confederate camp many years ago. Though not supported by fact, its story is almost certain: Short of supplies and with no means of replacing even common everyday items, a Confederate soldier who lost one of the simple overcoat flower buttons that he and his comrades used in lieu of regulation state or government-issued CS buttons was forced to be resourceful. The soldier removed one of his remaining buttons and used it to make a mold. The only metal available to him was the lead in his bullets, so he melted a bullet or two and poured the molten metal into his mold. He was no artist, but the crude fastener, manufactured in the field, probably served its intended purpose. I suppose the soldier went on to fight the invaders from the northern states, ever devoted to his country and his state. I only wish I knew his name.

And that, my friend, is why this small, crude button is my favorite.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


This gorgeous old lamp once resided in the lobby of the Carroll Hotel. It interested me because the Carroll was located directly across the street from where I now live. The lamp is of heavy brass and features a "halo" of flowers and tiny bulbs that surround the nearly-nude body of the buxom young lady. It's one of my favorite pieces; I consider myself fortunate to have made its purchase.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


This is not exactly a "Vicksburg" treasure, though it now resides here - in my home. I purchased it several years ago from a local lady who came by it in a very interesting manner (which I cannot divulge at this time). Suffice to say its acquisition was completed during an all-night initiation wing-ding involving several wild sorority girls.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Vicksburg has produced and is home to many fine artists of many different genre. The piece shown, "Montana Mare with Foxtail Hair," was produced by local artist Janet Akers. I purchased it in 2000 during a local showing in which it won "Best in Show." It's one of my favorite pieces. If you visit our town, be sure to go by "The Attic Gallery," which is located downtown on Washington Street. There you'll find the works of many local artists. Maybe you'll do as I did - fall in love with one of them.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Vicksburg's grand old homes produce some fine "pickings." This beautiful oil-on-canvas painting is the work of Eva Makk. It was brought to me by a local lady who was interested in selling it. Entitled "Southern Belle," it was at once one of my favorites - I fell in love with it. Now it occupies a special place in my apartment.

From the Makk Studios website (http://www.makkstudios.com/Eva-Makk.html):

Eva Makk - Biography

Eva Makk has been called "the world's foremost living impressionist painter". She is celebrated for graceful, light-infused compositions executed with shimmering strokes of color. She is also noted for her ability to reach the spiritual essence of her subject. Frances Maier of Southwest Art wrote of Eva Makk: "Her feelings for life are reflected in all her paintings; they express love, beauty, dignity and a gracious elegance. They are lyric poems realized visually, with a quality at once spiritual, ethereal, yet glowing with the warmth of life."

Eva Makk’s distinguished career spans more than half a century. Her work has been the focus of major public exhibitions, including U.S. Senate Rotunda (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie International Center (New York), St. Stephen Museum (Hungary) and numerous other galleries and museums in the United States, France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Monaco, Hungary, Brazil, Canada and Japan.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


This little cast-iron smoothbore cannon is a carronade. Carronades were produced by the Carron Company in Britain from roughly the 1770s to the 1850s and used by the Royal Navy as short-range weapons during ship-to-ship warfare. As rifled cannon increased the accuracy and range of the warships, carronades were phased out. This one has an unusual bore - appx. 4" and possibly a 9-pdr., though no such caliber is listed - and was reportedly raised from the Savannah River after use by the Confederate Navy. But... Who knows for sure?

Friday, October 11, 2013


One never knows what may turn up at the auction of a Vicksburg estate. I won this old print at a local auction many years ago. Dated 1867, it commemorates Confederate dead. The inscription beneath the Confederate battle flag reads "The warrior's banner takes its flight to greet the warrior's soul." It's surrounded by scenes from some of the great battles of the War for Southern Independence. There are many reprints of this famous poster, but this, I believe, is one of the first. It must have been a treasured possession of an old Rebel who once resided in Vicksburg.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


I remember when a tag like this was bolted to the front bumper of many of the local vehicles. This one I came across at a garage sale several years ago. They're a rarity nowadays, so rare that I keep this one in my apartment rather than risk damaging it  by placing it on my vehicle. If you are aware of others like this one, let me know - I'd love to buy them.

Friday, September 13, 2013


I didn't dig this one - a fellow relic hunter discovered it in a Bovina camp under a tree that had been downed by a storm. He had hunted for hours without digging anything worthwhile when he spied the large excavation created by the uprooted tree. Within a short time he'd located the buckle with his metal detector. One never knows, does one?

The plate is of the thin, stamped brass, rope border, western-style, and, fortunately, has retained all three belt clips. It appears as though the Confederate soldier who discarded the buckle had inserted a bent nail between and under the clips. Perhaps he had a very thin belt that he fitted between the clips and under the nail.

Monday, September 2, 2013


There's an interesting story behind this shell and its companions. Way back in the early sixties a local Vicksburg relic hunter (a good friend of mine) noticed the tang (if that's the correct word) of what he assumed was an old farm implement projecting from the Big Black River near the site of the old town of Bridgeport, Mississippi. Later, he regretted his error, for the "tang" was a part of an artillery caisson that had fallen from the bridge at that location as Sherman's troops were galloping toward Vicksburg after the Battle of Champion Hill. Another person (I assume a relic-hunter) came along later and pulled the caisson, along with its load of 3" Confederate shells, from the river. If you're wondering why the Union troops were pulling a caisson loaded with Confederate munitions... The caisson had been left behind by the Confederates after the battle; Sherman's men knew they could fire the shells in their own 3" rifles, so they took them along. However, the caisson was lost when it fell from the Bridgeport bridge.

In the ensuing years some of the shells were sold or given to collectors, but at some point most of them were given or sold to the Grand Gulf museum, where they resided for many years - until some unscrupulous scoundrel absconded with all that remained. The shell pictured is a great example of the group. A portion of the wood sabot and the center bolt remain, and the protrusions from the cast iron to the brass portion of the sabot are evident.

Years later, as I was hunting the artillery emplacement of the First Missouri Light Artillery in south Vicksburg I dug one of these shells that had been fired by Confederate troops; Sherman obviously didn't capture them all!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I dug this one years ago at a local 1860s camp and at first couldn't figure out what it was. I finally found a similar piece in Harris' civil war relic book (page 209). There are apparently very few of these recovered.

Friday, August 16, 2013


This is a photo of a cased post-mortem daguerreotype that I bought from a gentleman several years ago. According to him, the young girl was the daughter of a family from Natchez who owned one of Natchez' old (antebellum) homes. He said the home was located just outside the Natchez city limits, but he did not know the name or the owner of the house.

Apparently, post-mortem photographs of young loved ones were common and acceptable in the 1850s, which is about the date of this one.

Collecting artifacts from the past is a never-ending source of surprise and gratification; an artifact like this one is a perfect example.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


These are some photos from years back when the "cannon ball digging" was really hot. Included is a photo of the first artillery shell my son and I ever dug in 1967 or 1968 - a 3.8" James type I. We didn't know what the heck we'd dug until a fellow digger identified it for us.

This is a photo of one day's dig back in 1979 while I was experimenting with long hair and a beard (ugh!). I remember I had a heck of a time carrying all those shells from the woods. The detector is an old Fisher Research with a 13" head.

I loved the wool jacket I was wearing in the last photo. It was made for me by the mother of one of my girlfriends back when I was single. Unfortunately, it burned during a house fire in 1982.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Joseph Biedenharn of Vicksburg was the first to bottle Coca-Cola. From the Biedenharn Museum website:

"In 1894, Joseph A. Biedenharn, a country businessman in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and owner of the Biedenharn Candy Company, made a world changing decision. In order for his customers outside downtown Vicksburg to have Coca-Cola, he had his brother Herman put Coca-Cola in a bottle, making the Biedenharn Candy Company the first to ever bottle Coca-Cola. Today, Coca-Cola is sold in more than 200 countries."
Under Joe's leadership, his brothers, sons, and grandsons, established plants in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas eventually becoming the ninth largest bottling corporation in the United States."

Coca-Cola collectibles range from the 1894 period through present day, including original bottles and the large metal side plate from a Coke cooler pictured above. Local bottle diggers often discover the original Hutchinson style bottles while digging local bottle dumps.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I can't take credit for finding this one, but it "walked" into my place a while back along with some other assorted Nazi items, including more caps; the same fellow who found these also brought several Nazi caps to me a couple of years ago. Some of the caps are in poor condition, having been found in the attic of an abandoned house. But they are in demand by collectors of WWII relics.

Friday, June 28, 2013


This rare cartridge belt, designed as a complement to the "Model 1903 rifle," was found here in Vicksburg. It's prior owner probably participated in WWI, the "Great war." 
A number of unopened boxes of rare rifle cartridges were found along with the belt. The cartridges shown here were made by Winchester for a .41 caliber Swiss  rifle and are marked ".41 Swiss Smokeless Rim Fire." Additional cartridges are shown on the Adolph Rose Antiques website.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


It's amazing what people will throw out when they're cleaning house. This 2" Crucifix - marked 14K - along with various and sundry other gold and gold-plated jewelry was recovered from a trash bag placed alongside the street for pickup by the Vicksburg city garbage haulers. I can't take credit for finding it, though I'm not above dumpster-diving myself.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


This large (5" vertically) brass/lead heart-shaped device came from a trash dump here in Vicksburg. It features in relief the capital building in Louisville, Kentucky. It's intriguing in that it appears to be a very thin brass stamping with a very thin lead backing. If that's the case, it is quite old - possibly War Between the States old. It's use is not known. One never knows what he might find in the trash dumps of this old town.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


From a local estate sale, this little composition doll is in amazingly good condition, having apparently been in the same family for quite a while.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I'm not sure what time period this canteen is from, but it was dug here in Vicksburg this past week. It's apparently made of tin with a soldered joint. The spout has threads, which I believe would indicate a post-Civil War production, perhaps 1880s to 1900s.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I love the graceful lines of this reproduction art nouveau sculpture. Perhaps my enjoyment has something to do with the subject.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I purchased this Crucifix at an estate sale here in Vicksburg many years ago. It's one of my favorite pieces.

The wooden cross and rendering of Jesus are meticulously carved

I have no idea the age of the piece, but I would guess it is quite old.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This cap was bought along with some other WWII relics a while back. I haven't been able to identify it. I suspect it may be French, but that's just a guess.

The number "59" is stamped inside.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Without examining its contents, I bought an old stamp album at a local auction a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn't have normally bought such, but the price was so low ($5) that I couldn't resist. The US stamps were the best of the lot, but there were many stamps from other countries as well. I was most intrigued by the hammer and sickle images on the Russian stamps. These date back to just after the Russian Revolution of 1917. Though they're not valuable, they are a reminder of the country's turbulent past.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Along with the bottles and miscellaneous other diggin's that come from old dumps and privies, one will find parts of early toys, like this assortment of ceramic and bisque doll arms, legs, eyeballs, etc. 
Many have numbers that identify the manufacturer and the country of origin. They're not worth much, but they are interesting. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


This ca 1860 Pleyel piano, one of the very first uprights, came to us from an old family here in Vicksburg. It's in only fair condition; a restoration would yield a magnificent antique fit for the finest antebellum home. According to Wikipedia,

"Pleyel pioneered the player piano with the Pleyela line of pianos. These were often very small pianos of a very unusual design.
"Pleyel was the first to introduce the upright piano to France[citation needed], adapting the best features of pianos built in Britain. They introduced these pianos by 1815. Their pianos were such a success that in 1834 the company boasted 250 employees and an annual production of 1000 pianos."