Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Not to Do to a Vintage Drum

Civil War Drum – The drum has a Civil War label, which reads “John F. Stratton, Military Drums, 105 E. 22nd Street, NY.” Stratton was at this address from 1861-1864. The decoration on the drum consists of brass tacks around, and vertically in line with the peephole, and a patriotic (red, white, and blue) painted pinwheel. After the Civil War, this drum was recycled and was used later, probably by a state militia unit. At that time (about the Spanish American War) a decal of an eagle was put on the drum. At first glance, all collectors dismissed the drum as of Spanish American War vintage, and gave it no consideration as being Civil War. Knowing that it was Civil War because of the undeniable label, it was decided to remove the eagle and cover the spot where it had been with the patriotic pinwheel. The rational was that: (1.) The drum was probably unpainted originally; (2.) The decal ruined its credibility; (3.) Removing the decal left an area where the original varnish and stain was gone; and (4.) It was better to cover the area with a generic folk / patriotic design than to leave it disfigured. The drum measures 11 3/4" high and 14 5/8” in diameter. The low height plus the peephole being off center indicates that the drum was cut down slightly from its original height, probably at the same time the decal was added. This drum is from the Budny Collection and is the one pictured on page 67 of our new book, Union & Confederate Civil War Headgear & Related Militaria. Great price for a Civil War marked drum. (55.92)

The Manual of Arms
PO Box 27
Schoolcraft, Michigan 49087

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