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Framed American soldier's 1898 photo with relics


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Photo of an American soldier in the Spanish American war. Framed in a shadow box with what looks like Spanish uniform buttons and insignias. Soldier's name and unit is scrawled in the back and a note that it was presented in 1898. The original chain hanger seem to have been replaced with a contemporary frame hanger. It probably broke.
Someone told me the round displayed with the photo is a Spanish .43 Remington.
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Very nice, it's like a time-capsule.

 

The round would have been used in the Remington Rolling Block rifles contracted by Spain in that caliber.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Hello VeeVee,

Thanks for the photos of this very nice collection of Spanish souvenir relics. The items are all form Cuba. This is interesting as the presentation on the back says that it was the property of a soldier in the 6th Massachusetts Infantry. This unit fought in Puerto Rico, not Cuba. The central photo is of an American soldier, probably the original owner named on the back. The buttons and insignia along the top are (from left to right) a US Wisconsin state seal button, a small Spanish artillery button on a small cloth Cuban flag, a Spanish collar insignia for the 1st Light (Ligeros) Battalion of Havana, a volunteer unit. There were two battalions of "Ligeros" in Cuba, both with similar insignia but different unit numbers. These should not be confused with the Cazadores (Light Infantry) battalions of which there were 7 in the Havana volunteer organization, and a Spanish Model 1892 cavalry button. Down the left side are (top to bottom) a Spanish 7th Volunteer Cazadores button, a Guardia Civil button. The Civil Guard served both as a police force and military unit, and the Spanish army regular infantry button used by both regular Line regiments and Cazadores battalions. Down the right side are another infantry button, a Spanish Corps of Military Administration (Quartermaster Corps) button, and a Spanish artillery button shown upside down. Along the bottom are a cuff size volunteer Cazadores button without unit designation for a small independent unit in a small town, the cap or collar insignia of the Spanish Havana Guardia Municipal, the city police force, and a cuff size Orden Publico button. The OP was a paramilitary police regiment in Havana. The cartridge at the bottom is a .43 cal. Spanish Reformado cartridge. This was an improved round made for the Spanish made copies of the Remington rolling block rifles. This cartridge was made famous in American propaganda of the period as the "Poison Bullet" as the brass jacket on the projectile would oxidize green under tropical conditions.
The study and collecting of Spanish militaria is a surprisingly neglected field considering Spain's role in the US becoming a global power at the turn of the 20th century, their once worldwide colonial empire and their participation in numerous conflict through WWII and later. They have been both and enemy and ally of the US, including rendering major assistance during the American Revolution and providing military medical units during the Vietnam War. At various periods in their history the Spanish army has been several brands of monarchist, republican, communist, and fascist. All this political change has led to a vast and colorful variety of uniforms, headgear and insignia that deserves more attention.

 

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Excellent collection/display.

 

I'm sure you found this in PA ?

 

I would think that those Cuban buttons are scarce or super rare ?

 

How do you account for the discrepancy between where the souvenirs come from and where this soldier served ?

 

I had only one Spanish uniform that I got from the vet in 1968 on my news paper route.

 

Thank you so much for showing this as it was a treat.

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The buttons are not very rare in and of themselves. If fact, they are pretty common. The collar insignia is harder to find. What makes this a nice group is that it all came together and has not been broken up over the years. The provenance with the 6th Mass soldier's name is very interesting. The Cuban source of the artifacts vs. the Puerto Rican service of the unit is a little hard to explain. Perhaps he got them from a comrade that served in a different unit in Cuba, who knows. By the way, do you still have the Spanish uniform that you got as a paperboy? It would be great if you could post some photos.

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Over the next couple of years I got his uniform and equipment and when he passed away his wife dumped a ton of stuff on me.

 

I went to Gettysburg College and ended up trading it to a well known but reclusive dealer in town.

 

The vet was from a New York unit and the Spanish uniform was white.

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Hi Manayunkman, yes I got this in PA. Are you from Manayunk? I'm in Chester county.

 

Would you have an old surviving photo of that white uniform that you could scan? Sounds interesting.

 

As for the Cuba vs. Puerto Rico... from what is scrawled in the back, my guess is that Person A gave Person B the shadow box, and A was in Cuba while B was in Puerto Rico. Something like that.

 

I agree with agmohio, all of them being self-contained and together for all these years make it unique as a grouping.

 

Do you collect Span-Am items?


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I collected Civil War to Modern Times.

 

I had an estate liquidation/picker business for 18 full time years and part time 30.

 

Hardly have anything left right now and the largest chunk was gone before 2006.

 

I did live in Manayunk but most of my time was lived in Harrisburg.

 

Spent much time at Renninger's.

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  • 3 years later...

Maybe it was a gift/presentation from someone that actually served in Cuba. I collect 6th Massachusetts Regiment memorabilia, very interesting. After the Span-Am War ended Bannerman Industries purchased from the US Government large stocks of military paraphernalia captured or left behind by the Spanish and sold them on the collectors market.

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