Regarding the"CSA Yankee Slayers" medal discussed last week as a fake, Mike Hodder writes:
I catalogued a 5th Texas Cavalry piece for a Coin Galleries sale years ago. It resembled an item of horse tack, like a breastplate. I don't remember the sale date and
don't have a library to look for the sales catalogue so I can't supply a citation. The piece will have been illustrated. Someone out there in Numisbibliomania world will
have the catalogue and can supply the reference.
I desperately wanted the piece to be genuine. It wasn't, of course, so the piece didn't sell. I took it in so I could research the Texas outfit and write something
A search for "Texas Cavalry" on the Newman Numismatic Portal didn't locate a Coin Galleries listing, but did turn up a reference in the January 16-18, 2001
Stack's Americana sale. Lot 326 covers most of page 81. -Editor
326 Undated [ca.l900] Heart-shaped Badge for the 5th Texas Cavalry. Brass. 45.44 grams. 65.6 x 62.7 mm. 2.3 mm thick. Extremely Fine. Darkened. Made in the shape of a
cavalry mount’s breast plate (a very similar one, with a prominent “5” on it, can be seen on a mount in Gary Zaboly’s painting “Charge of the Texas Lancers at Valverde”). The
stock for the medal was cast brass plate or strip (some casting flaws and cooling eddies remain visible). The form of the medal was mechanically stamped out of the strip or sheet,
raising the front edge into a rim, probably in the same operation. The design elements were added by hand afterwards. On the front is engraved in a nice, ornate block hand “[Star]
5th TEXAS CAVALRY C S A MOUNTED YANKEE SLAYERS”. In the upper left curve of the back is engraved “CSA” while along the edge at the lower right is “San Antonio 1862”. Apparently
unpublished and the first we have seen.
The engraving on the front was professionally done and looks crisp and clean. The letters are well formed and evenly spaced and the overall design has been made to fit the
shape and size of the heart shaped piece. The engraving on the back looks at first glance to be less skillfully done but on closer inspection is actually by the same hand that
executed the front. The style of the letters suggests a date in the early 20th c. more than the 1862 date on the back. The designation “Fifth Regiment Texas Mounted Volunteers”
was in use 1861-62 but was changed in 1863 to “Fifth Regiment Texas Cavalry”, and this further suggests a later date than 1862 for this badge. There is one small hole each near
the rim at upper left and right, these punched not drilled] through from back to front. Pendant from each hole is a sprig of four oak leaves. Around the rim at the left and right
and framing the inscription in the center is an olive branch. At the base near the rim is a third small hole like the other two, but with a sprig of three oak leaves pointing
The Fifth Regiment Texas Mounted Volunteers, part of Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley’s Brigade, the Army of New Mexico, was raised in San Antonio at the end of the summer,
1861. Although designated a cavalry unit the Fifth were really mounted infantrymen. There were approximately 1,000 officers and men in the unit, most of whom were from Waco, San
Antonio, and Austin. The men were required to bring their own mounts and had to equip themselves with weapons, ammunition, and clothing as best as they could. No uniforms or horse
tack were issued (except in a few particular cases), nor were there any unit badges distributed. Those men who had no weapons were given whatever was at hand, including ... guns
and double barreled shotguns. The latter came in handy during the New Mexico campaign.
The 2001 piece appears nearly identical to the one discussed last week. There are four more paragraphs describing the unit's history. -Editor
Alan Weinberg adds:
As with other fantasies, someone researched the historical info pertaining to the piece before creating it. I might add that the engraving style and metallic fabric resembles
very closely various fantasy Ku Klux Klan smalls. I have little doubt they are identically sourced.
To read the catalog entry on NNP, see:
Americana: Colonial and Federal Coins, Medals and Currency, Featuring The William
O'Donnell Collection of New Jersey Coppers (https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/auctionlots?AucCoId=3&AuctionId=517446&page=82)
To read the complete article, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: OCTOBER 13, 2019 : "CSA Yankee Slayers" Medal
Wayne Homren, Editor
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