Item: Excavated US oval waist belt plate with Mac Mason lettering and a piece of original belt leather.
Construction: Stamped thin sheet brass with raised letters "US". Rear with solder fill and arrow type attachment hooks.
Condition: Excellent, excavated, and complete. The plate has a slight body curve and its brass front has aged into an even brown patina. The rear has a complete complement of solder and includes black ink lettering "U.S. INF BELT PLATE / (VARIANT) SIZE / FOUND VIRGINIA / NOV. 29 - 1964". Solidly affixed under the arrow hooks, is a small piece of the original leather waist belt. The rear, including the piece of leather, was very lightly clear coated so as to preserve it. All three attachment hooks are present and the plate has no cracks, breaks, bends, or repairs.
Comments: Comments: The plate is fine example of what one could dig in the 1960's. The lettering is clearly the work of Mac Mason, legendary Virginia relic hunter and co-author of "Civil War Projectiles II Small Arms & Field Artillery with Supplement". Interestingly, Mac Mason originally had this plate labeled as a medium size belt plate as his partially obliterated lettering indicates. Mason adjusted the label by removing the letters "MEDIUM SIZE" and replacing it with "INF." for infantry. Though the regulation 1839 pattern US belt plates vary greatly in size, the collecting community generally refers to plates as large, medium, and small (or "baby" size). To demonstrate the differences in the three sizes, I have included an additional image showing examples of a large, a medium, and a small waist belt plate, one of which is the plate offered in this listing. The plate in the middle of the three plate image has become classified by collectors as the "medium size" belt plate and has distinctive features such as its unusual "US" letter font design, its diminutive "puppy paw" style belt attachment hooks and overall size of approximately 46 x 77 mm. Since the approximate measurement of the Mason marked plate offered in this listing (approx. 53 x 84 mm.) falls between the larger US belt plates (generally 57 x 88) and the medium size belt plates (generally 46 x 77 mm.), Mason indicates that it is a "variant size". This plate will be an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War plate or general relic collection.
Approximate size: 53 x 84 mm.
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