Rare Civil War Artifacts, Including Sherman's Sword, Set for Auction

A collection of rare Civil War artifacts, including William Tecumseh Sherman's sword and an annotated memoir of Ulysses S. Grant, is set to be auctioned off. The auction has sparked concerns that the items may be lost to the public eye if sold to private collectors.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
Rare Civil War Artifacts, Including Sherman's Sword, Set for Auction

Rare Civil War Artifacts, Including Sherman's Sword, Set for Auction

A collection of rare Civil War artifacts, including William Tecumseh Sherman's sword and an annotated memoir of Ulysses S. Grant, is set to be auctioned off on Tuesday, with estimates exceeding $100,000. The auction has sparked concerns over public access to these historical treasures.

Why this matters: The fate of these artifacts has significant implications for the preservation of American history and the public's ability to engage with it. If they are sold to private collectors, they may be lost to the public eye, limiting our understanding of thispivotal moment in American history.

The collection, which has never been offered for sale before, belongs to Sherman's descendants. It includes the general's wartime sword, estimated to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000, as well as rank insignia from his uniform and his family Bible. But the annotated memoir, written by Grant in 1885, is considered the highlight.

Bound in rare "tree calf" leather, the book contains Sherman's personal notes and recollections, including a memory of his first meeting with President Abraham Lincoln. "From the day I reported to him from Paducah till his death our relations were as brothers rather than as commander and commanded," Sherman wrote of his relationship with Grant. The memoir is regarded as one of the finest by a president or general.

The Sherman House Museum in Lancaster, Ohio, has expressed concerns that the items will end up in private hands, out of public view. The museum has raised around $90,000 in pledges in an effort to acquire the relics. "The thought of these amazing pieces of history being stored away in a collector's basement is disheartening," said museum director Michael Johnson.

Fleischer's Auctions, which is handling the sale, estimates the entire collection could fetch over $100,000. Online bidding has already begun, with the auction house seeing strong interest from museums and institutions. "This is probably the most important offering of Civil War antiques that have been sold in recent memory," said Adam Fleischer, founder of Fleischer's Auctions.

The auction comes at a time of heightened interest in Civil War history and artifacts. In recent years, several major collections have come to market, including those of noted historians and collectors. The sale of Sherman's personal items, with their direct connection to one of the war's most prominent generals, is seen as a particularly significant event.

As the auction approaches, many are left wondering about the fate of these rare pieces of American history. Will they find a home in a public institution, where they can be studied and appreciated by all? Or will they disappear into private collections, their stories and secrets known only to a select few? The outcome of Tuesday's auction may provide the answer.

Key Takeaways

  • William Tecumseh Sherman's sword and Ulysses S. Grant's annotated memoir to be auctioned off.
  • Estimates exceed $100,000, sparking concerns over public access to historical treasures.
  • Sherman's descendants selling the collection, including his wartime sword and family Bible.
  • Sherman House Museum raised $90,000 to acquire the relics, fearing they'll be lost to private collectors.
  • Auction house sees strong interest from museums and institutions, with online bidding already underway.