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The E-Sylum (7/7/2013)

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Nick Graver writes:

I just received the monthly New York - Pennsylvania Collector, and the first article to catch my eye has to be mentioned for E-Sylum consideration.

General Quincy Gillmore had 400 very interesting medals struck by the New York firm of Ball, Black, and Co. which he awarded to his men for their performance in his campaign to take Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC 8/23/63.

John Sexton, in his regular column, "The Civil War Collector" tells the story and shows both the writer's medal (missing the hanger) and a complete one.

Thanks - some of our best articles come via alerts from our readers. I got in touch with Mike McLeod, Editor of Southeastern Antiquing Magazine, who kindly provided higher-resolution images and permission to republish the article. Thanks! Here's the Gillmore medal segment of the article. -Editor

I have recently come across this medal from Fort Sumter. I am looking to sell this piece. You were recommended to me by a lady from the Drummer Boy Museum of Georgia. How much do you think that a piece like this could go for?

Gillmore medal obverse Gillmore medal reverse

J.S.: Your medal is a scarce Civil War medal awarded by General Quincy Gillmore to certain soldiers in his command and known as the "Gillmore Medal." The medal's obverse is captioned, "Fort Sumter / August 23d 1863" and shows the once formidable structure reduced to rubble after several days of well-directed federal bombardment. Interestingly for a Union medal, high magnification reveals the Confederate national colors still flying defiantly above Sumter's battered ramparts.

The reverse perimeter legend, "For Gallant and Meritorious Conduct," encircles a central proclamation reading, "Presented by Q. A. Gillmore Maj. Genl." A military engineer trained at West Point, Major General Quincy Adams Gillmore made a gallant effort to capture Charleston, South Carolina. To achieve that goal, he tried neutralizing the city's defenses with all of the considerable firepower at his disposal. The courage and devotion to duty demonstrated by Gillmore's men were not unnoticed, and the general had some 400 medals for valor privately issued under his own name by the New York firm of Ball, Black & Co.

Unfortunately, your medal is missing the top bar (which is attached by a claw-type catch) that had the inscription with soldier's name. I have seen several of these medals missing this part before, and they are typically priced about $500-$1,000.

The last complete medal I know of was sold by Leland Little Auction Company in Hillsborough, N.C., Sept 17, 2011 for $3,200. Their medal pictured here shows a complete top bar with the name inscribed, "G. E. Hazen, 3rd Rhode Island Artillery." These medals in past have sold for more than $5,000, based on the soldier's history.

To read the complete article, see: Ask the Civil War Collector (

For more information on Southeastern Antiquing Magazine, see:

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