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Civil War Gutta-percha shaving box, identified to a soldier in the 168th NY Infantry


Product Description

This is another great piece being offered, it is a Civil War Shaving Box. It is gutta-percha/thermoplastic, circular two-part form with a circular medallion molded into the cover. It is embossed "U. S. N." arched above an anchor within a frame embossed "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" centering a twisted rope, the whole surrounded by rays, original brass ring loop to edge of cover. Both the top of the cover and the underside of the base are inscribed with the owner's initials, "WGB 168". On the inside lid is a mirror used for shaving.

The initials on this box are from a soldier in the 168th Regiment, New York Infantry. The unit was organized at Newburg, NY, and mustered in on February 11, 1863. They saw most of their duty in and around Washington, DC. The regiment joined the Army of the Potomac at Hagerstown, MD, on July 14 and took part in the pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap July 14-24. They then served guard duty along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad until being mustered out on October 31, 1863.

It is in very good, as found condition, with only having a 1/2" hairline crack to the side of the cover, and a minor 3/8" surface split to the top, and some discoloration. There is an exact example in “The Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia”, by Francis Lord, These boxes were not only used by the Navy, but because of their popularity, were also sold by camp sutlers and private purchases. This was from the large Civil War collection of the late Al and Billy Steidel, Alexandria, VA. A difficult artifact to find today.

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$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)