EXTREMELY RARE & EXEMPLARY TIFFANY GOLD CUSTER VALOR MEDAL & OTHER DECORATIONS OF COLONEL GEORGE BRIGGS, 7TH MICHIGAN CAVALRY

 

Spring 2024 Premier Firearms & Militaria Auction

June 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th, 2024
This auction will feature an outstanding collection of items spanning multiple categories including Modern, Military, Sporting, & Antique firearms & militaria! Below is just a small grouping of select highlights from the massive offering to be featured in this upcoming sale!

 

EXTREMELY RARE & EXEMPLARY TIFFANY GOLD CUSTER VALOR MEDAL & OTHER DECORATIONS OF COLONEL GEORGE BRIGGS, 7TH MICHIGAN CAVALRY

02-21961

This lot was a highlight of Appomattox National Battlefield Park Museum for past 10 years. Cabinet card photograph circa 1880, of Col. George Briggs wearing his gold Custer Valor Medal, gold & silver Sheridan Corps Badge and his numbered MOLLUS Medal. The gold Tiffany made Custer Valor Medal is inscribed on verso: “Geo. G. Briggs 7th Regt. Michigan Cavalry” suspended by pair of 1.25″ gold crossed sabers on gold ribbon supporting a 1″ wide by 1.5″ high enameled Maltese-style cross emblazoned “CUSTER” & “TUEBOR” (I will defend) with top quadrant a 5-pointed star with blue enamel highlights. According to articles written by John P. Beckendorf there are very few of these badges known. There are probably no more than 4 or 5 gold medals known, though there are at least this same number shown in war time photographs of soldiers wearing these, but their whereabouts are unknown. Mr. Beckendorf shows a nearly identical medal that was given to Maj. Robert Wallace of the 5th Michigan Cavalry. In Mr. Beckendorf’s article, published in 2005 North-South Traders Civil War magazine, he shows the original George Custer signed letter to Tiffany dated October 15, 1864. The original sketches of this medal, designed by Custer, can be found on a loose sheet, inserted in Custer’s journal, which is presently at the Little Big Horn Battlefield Museum. The whereabouts of the medal that Gen. Custer himself wore is unknown, though it is seen in photographs. A smaller medal with pearls was made for Libbie Custer that sold at Spink Smythe in New York in 2012 for $46,000. The few officers who were recipients of Gen. Custer’s favor and had the honor to wear this medal, thought quite highly of it, as can be seen in a letter written to the Detroit Advertiser and Tribune June 17, 1865 by Col. James H. Kidd of the 6th Michigan Cavalry “the gold in this badge is not more precious, it is not rarer, than the frankness, the generosity, the want this trust which has always characterized your intercourse with me…the associations-Michigan Brigade Cavalry, its leader, Custer, his deeds and theirs are enough to make your gift one of inestimable value always”. This Kidd medal sold at Cowans in 2016 for $102,000.
Also in lot is high quality enameled gold & silver Sheridan Cavalry Corps badge that Brigg’s is wearing in photograph possibly made by Tiffany also. Col. Briggs in photo also wearing this MOLLUS (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States) Membership Badge SN 4004. Another badge in this lot is gold blue enameled badge for 7th Michigan Cavalry with gold embossed ribbon. CONDITION: fine overall, the T-bar pin on Sheridan corps badge is detached but present. PROVENANCE: Colonel George G. Briggs estate, on loan and displayed at Appomattox National Park Museum 2014-2024, Martin Lane Historic & Western Americana Lifetime Collection.

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