By Roger McKinney
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. —
A 153-year-old Bible linked to a Civil War soldier who was killed in battle sold for $525 in heavy bidding, said Gail Triplett, owner of Carl Junction Auction Service and Circle T Collectibles.
Triplett said he thought the Bible could fetch $300 or possibly $350 at Sunday’s auction. He said bidders he had never seen at an auction before turned up to bid on the Bible.
“The bidding was very, very spirited,” Triplett said. “There was a lot of interest.”
He said a local person whom he did not identify had the high bid.
A leather-wrapped Bible dated 1860 like the one he sold Sunday is rare, but what added value to this one were the notes contained inside the cover, which read:
“Pvt. Belden, Co. D, 5th Infantry, Killed in Action at Seven Pines ... May 31,1862.
“S. Pearce bitterly mourns his loss.”
Phineas D. Belden fought with Company D of the 5th Michigan Infantry, part of the Union Army, at the Battle of Seven Pines in Virginia on May 31-June 1, 1862.
Details about Belden are contained in an online database of Civil War soldiers and sailors maintained by the National Park Service.
The database also notes that Samuel Pearce was a member of Company D, 5th Michigan Infantry, and was later promoted to lieutenant.
Belden was 20 when he died on May 31, 1862. He is buried in Seven Pines National Cemetery in Richmond, Va.
Triplett said he’s certain the Civil War connection increased interest in the Bible.
“There’s no question about it,” he said. “The provenance, that’s what really increases the value of an item. The minute you’re able to tie that directly to a specific soldier, or unit or battle, that just increases the interest. That’s what happened.”
Triplett said there were at least five bidders on the Bible.
Triplett found the Bible among an assortment of items that he recently purchased from some customers.
THERE WERE 5,739 Union casualties and 7,997 Confederate casualties at the Battle of Seven Pines. The battle is considered inconclusive by historians.