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Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Collectables

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    Posted 12 years ago

    (966 items)

    The Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization for Union Civil War Veterans. It was established in 1866 and saw its' heyday in the very late 1800s. The group held annual national reunions and most states and departments held reunions and events at their level. The individual veterans would join a post and attend regular meetings. The group was inolved in politics by lobbying Congress for Veteran benefits and supporting political candidates.

    There are a myriad of items available to collectors. A few are shown here:

    Photo #1
    This depicts two examples of the National Membership Badge. There are several types of these available. Early examples are numbered, but the numbers are not traceable to a particular veteran. I have seen period advertisements that state these were made from captured cannon metal. I do not know if ALL were made that way. Typically these will sell in the $75- $125 range. Parts and pieces are much less desirable. Some unscrupulous ebay sellers will describe the bottom "star" as a fob to attract buyers. While some may have indeed found a second life as a fob, it is only one part of the badge and I would caution collectors in acquiring these. Complete examples are readily available and much more desirable than an incomplete example.
    Also in this photo is a GAR cuff button.

    Photo #2
    This is a printers block for a GAR medal. The medal depicted is an early Medal of Honor Style with the wings upward.

    Photo #3
    This is a veteran from Ohio wearing his GAR badge and lapel pin. He is wearing a civilian coat, but many veterans are photographed wearing the GAR uniform. These photographs are common and will usually bring less than $25. Of course if the veteran is identified the desirability and price will climb dramatically based on his unit or service.

    Photo #4
    This is a National Encampment ribbon worn by an Ohio Veteran to the National Encampment in 1901. There a huge array of souvenir and reunion ribbons and badges available to the collector. Some simple ribbons will start at less than $20 and they can run into the several hundreds. Very early ribbons and badges are desirable. Ribbons and badges from the last few reunions are also highly sought. In addition those from Gettysburg and other famous locations will bring a premium.

    There are several great books available to collectors. In addition there are several educational as well as sales sites that are useful for researching. I would recommend that potential collectors educate themselves before making a big purchase.


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    1. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks marcobabe13.
    2. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks antiquesareamazing.
    3. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks Viking.
    4. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks tlmbaran.

    5. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks packrat and stonie.

    6. Signaholic Signaholic, 11 years ago
      A great history lesson in the Union veterans of the Civil War Scott. Good advice too on getting started collecting! If more collectors would do a little reading and studying before diving into collecting of any kind, there wouldn't be so many mistakes or hard earned monies wasted on fake items. Obviously, you have researched quite a bit!
    7. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      I can remember in my early teens going to the library to look at gun books and the limited Civil War reference works out there. Some books I probably checked out 20 times.

      Today I have a collection of 100 reference books or more.

      With the internet there is an abundance of available information (NOT ALL GOOD) at your fingertips.

      I am suprised by how often a post begins with "I just bought this.. what is it and what is it worth".

      I usually don't spend a nickle without knowing values!

    8. Militarist Militarist, 11 years ago
      Until 1905 when the first Federal Civil War Service medals were issued the GAR membership medal was the only nationally recognized medal a veteran could wear to recognize his or her service.
    9. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks for the information Militarist.

    10. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks official.

    11. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Happy 4th of JULY!

    12. Militarist Militarist, 11 years ago
      Going through my old Wisconsin Blue Books which picture all the elected state officials it would seem that from the 1880's through 1890's everyone was wearing a GAR button. I would guess that it was probably a politically required item if one wanted to win an elected office.
    13. officialfuel officialfuel, 11 years ago
      Changed my mind Scott, have a great 4th!

    14. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks michael-- I hope you have/ had a great day as well!

    15. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      You are correct militarist-- military service was almost a requirement to hold public office in the post Civil War years! Additionally, the GAR had significant political clout to throw behind its candidates.

    16. mikielikesigns2 mikielikesigns2, 11 years ago
      very impressed with your info. & knowlage in this field. I truly thought these organizations were more of a "theropy" gathering., i dont know the total # of "living" soldiers,but it was WEll over 2%, 2% of the total population died in that war. That WOULD make them a force as a lobby group.
    17. filmnet filmnet, 11 years ago
      I have a ton of Gar stuff saved by my wife's family. her Great Great Grandmother lost her husband in 1872 she was only 25 years old. He was in the original Salem light Infantry, which is now the city which started the National Guard in 1600s. Very Old Salem Ma. Well she was in the Salem GAR helping and meet a member who saw her with a baby. He married her, he was 15 yrs older than her, she came here to his home 1873 here. This city had a GAR house also so she was working with the guys for 20 years. The women all make great stuff for them before they all died, the house was close in 1889.
    18. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks mikie-- about 4 million men served in the Civil War (both sides) and about 600, 000- 700, 000 died in service.

      While the GAR only had about 400,000 members at its height-- its influence extended well beyond the actual members.

    19. scottvez scottvez, 10 years ago
      Thanks for looking p...!

    20. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Thanks cultcha and tom.

    21. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
      Thanks tintyper and jlmam!

    22. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
      Thanks roddy and tom!

    23. Tanni Tanni, 5 years ago
      Thanks Scottvez ! You are so very helpful and I appreciate it so much !

    24. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      Glad to help out tanni!


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