Twice a year Gettysburg’s All-Star Sports Complex on Emmitsburg Road hosts the Gettysburg Militaria, Relics, and Book Show, an event that usually is packed with all sorts of interesting Civil War artifacts. As usual, I perused the tables looking for a dealer might have one of the Knights of the Golden Circle membership tickets that so many Confederates wrote about after their invasion of southern Pennsylvania.
For $1, con artists from New York sold these worthless certificates to unsuspecting farmers who were told that the papers and a series of strange hand gestures would notify any Rebel invaders that the farmer was a friend of the Confederacy whose personal property would be protected. Quite the opposite actually occurred, as the Rebels mocked the farmers who performed the hand gesticulations and waved the KGC golden tickets. Their horses were taken with far higher frequency than Unionist neighbors who headed for the hills when Jubal Early’s and J.E.B. Stuart’s Southern soldiers came calling.
For more photos of the Gettysburg relics sale, please continue reading. Click on the pictures to enlarge them for better viewing of the artifacts.
I was a guest of Jim McLean, owner of Butternut and Blue Books in Baltimore. Jim has been in business since 1983 and is one of the most respected and best known Civil War book sellers in the Mid-Atlantic region. I was at one of his tables from 10 until 2 signing copies of my new book, The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign. Several park rangers from both Gettysburg and Antietam and licensed battlefield guides stopped by to say hello, and it was great to see them again!
The Collectors Showcase – CS00293 Wheat’s Tigers Advancing Set
Jim is a leading dealer of 54mm Civil War collectible toy soldiers, and he had some gorgeous figures for sale of the Iron Brigade, the Louisiana Tigers, and other famous regiments. He also had quite a collection of 54mm World War II soldiers as well.
The Collectors Showcase – CS00294 ACW Wheat’s Tigers Command Set
By the way, Jim is collecting information on the 14th Brooklyn (84th New York State Militia), the “red-legged devils” who were heavily engaged on Day 1 of the Battle of Gettysburg. Jim was telling me of an old account in the National Tribune of a group of Louisiana Tigers who attacked several Brooklyners who were defending a Union field hospital in the old Washington Hotel. I had not heard of that account before, but to my knowledge no formed regiment of Tigers went that far west on July 1. Scattered patrols might easily have did so, however.
At one time years ago, the show was only a Civil War-focused event, but over time other military periods were included. As you can see from the above photo, it is a “duke’s mixture” of relics from all sorts of time periods. I saw dealers selling American Revolution memorabilia such as pine tree shillings and paper money all the way to more modern artifacts.
Naturally, Civil War and World War II dealers dominated the dealer community. I spoke with several of the ACW vendors hoping to find my elusive con artist KGC ticket but, as with every militaria show I have ever attended, none was forthcoming and I came home empty handed again.