Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caveat Emptor -- "Civil War" Drum Questioned by Reader

eBay item no. 320332676205, recently sold for $1,350, was described by the Seller kristimforet( 10) as "CIVIL WAR DRUM 1st QUARTERMASTER FORCES Union RARE". But one reader of this blog wrote to question the authenticity of this drum.

Also, see a virtually identical paint pattern at I.R. SHAHID ENTERPRISES' website selling rope drums made in Pakistan. And, see the side drum (item no. 2098) offered by J. Arthur Pvt Ltd.

The Seller described the drum as follows:

This is truly a RARE item! This is a drum of the 1st Infantry Regiment of the U.S. QUARTERMASTER FORCES. The 1st Infantry Reg. eas composed of civilians organized to defend the quartermaster's depots in the Nashville garrison. A picture of their flag and colors is attached. It's regimental colors were manufactured by the contractor John Shilleto of Cincinatti.

This beautiful drum appears to be all handpainted. The sash around the eagle head reads "1st REGT INFANTRY". The shield appears to have had "QM" on it at one time. The drum stands 15" tall and has a 15" diameter. This is a very large drum. The top drum head also has some writing on it. It reads: "1st REGT. QM. FORCES" and around the edge of the top of the drum head it reads: "JOHNSONVILLE TENN. 1864 NASHVILLE TENN. 1864" Both drum heads are in excellent condition. There is no major damage on the drum.

The National Flag pictures boasts the honors the reiment garnered for helping in the defense of Johnsonville and Nashville in Novemebr and December of 1864.

I have not had this item appraised but I have seen similar drums sell for $5000.00 - $10,000.00.


First, let us say we don't know for sure that this drum is not authentic. But we have questions. Further, eBay reports the Seller has been a member since January, 2006, but the Seller has only 10 ratings -- indicating that the Seller has not been an active eBayer.

1. the drum is very dirty -- nothing we've seen ever has been this dirty -- the condition almost suggests it was deliberately dirtied to cover the relative newness of the drum and its painting;
2. the lettering on the banner is of unusually poor quality and in a font that did not exist in 1864; it looks to have been over-painted, too white;
3. the stars in the field above eagle's head are not stars but dots;
4. the union shield should have 13 stripes -- this one has about 10;
5. the blue background appears to go all the way around the drum -- it should cover only about 180 degrees;
6. the counterhoops look too wide;
7. the ears look as if they could be washed to reveal a white color -- characteristic of Pakistan manufactured drums;
8. the banner is non-standard, too long and flowing far too much;
9. the drum just does not look authentic.

Compare what a real Regimental Eagle Drum looks like:

If you have an opinion about this drum, or anything else on this blog, we will be happy to hear from you.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. This is a Pakistani 12 x 14 snare, that has been purposely "aged." The artwork is exactly that of current Paki drums. available for under $100. I had one of these, which I had rented to a movie production and it came back all "dirtied-up" and I decided to sell it. Had I been a crook, I could have put it on eBay and hoped some idiot would pay me 10 times what I paid for it!
    P.T.Barnum was right.


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