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We’re going to take a brief hiatus from the relic world, but we will be back soon. Apologies in advance if our replies are delayed but there’s no paid time off (or healthcare benefits) at BulletandShell. The East coast syndicate running it is a bunch of taskmasters so we have to sneak off whenever we can.

M00626 - Very Rare C.S. Memphis Novelty Works / Leech & Rigdon Cavalry Spur

Item Number: M00626

Item Title: Very Rare C.S. Memphis Novelty Works / Leech & Rigdon Cavalry Spur

Price: $2400

Shipping: Not included

Provenance: CS

Model: Spur

Type: Memphis Novelty Works


Location Recovered: Non-Battlefield

Description:This may be one of the rarest items we've ever offered. The highly desirable spur is a very heavy military grade spur with great eye appeal known as a Memphis Novelty Works or Leech & Rigdon spur. They were made at Thomas Leech & Company, known as the Memphis Novelty Works. Some are made plain with no markings, etc but exhibit the well known square post off the back holding the steel rowel. But the desirable ones exhibit the two big money letters "C" and "S" as well as a large star down near where the straps attach. These standard configuration spurs are uncommon and very desirable often bringing $2000-$3000 each. The one offered here has the letters "C" and "S" plus the stars but is an even more uncommon variant in that the post is made in such a way to turn the rowel horizontally like in a raking spur. There are only a few known examples.

This spur was purchased by a couple 30 years ago from a dealer and was a non-battlefield example in pristine condition. Unfortunately the house where the collection it resided in had a fire incident which destroyed some relics and affected the patina on others such as this spur. Nothing has been done to it to attempt to bring back the original finish. This is why the price is where it is and not $2000 higher if in perfect condition.

If you collect great CS items, don't miss this one! You'll likely never get a chance at another one.

Regarding the manufacturing company:

Thomas S. Leech moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1854 to establish a cotton dealership. Leech opened the firm of Thomas Leech & Co., Cotton Broker, at 35 Front Row Street in Memphis. As war became imminent, Leech and his partners began to expand their business to include war material. The military items were sold under the name of "Memphis Novelty Works, Thomas Leech & Co". Under this name Leech manufactured Swords, Spurs, Side Knives, Belts, Buckles and Pistols. Leech later formed a partnership with Charles H. Rigdon and renamed the partnership Leech & Rigdon in 1862.

With the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson in the spring of 1862 and the subsequent fall of the state of Tennessee into Union hands, Leech and Rigdon decided to relocate their business to Columbus, Mississippi and build a factory adjacent to the Confederate Briarfield Arsenal. Later in 1862, with Sherman making a threat to Mississippi, the Confederate Government decided to relocate the arsenal to Selma, Alabama. Leech and Rigdon relocated with the Arsenal and remained in Selma for a short period. In March of 1863 Leech and Rigdon separated from the arsenal and moved their operations to Goldsboro, Georgia.

During the period from November 6, 1861 through June 18, 1862, Thomas Leech & Co. delivered to the Confederate Army Depot 2,017 swords and scabbards, belts, buckles and side arms. On July 26, 1862 Leech & Rigdon delivered 750 sets of gun mountings at $3.00 per set and 7 swords at $25.00 each; on August 4th another 30 swords were delivered as well as 400 pairs of spurs at $1.75 each.

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