Significant military antiques belonging to San Francisco bay area collector Steve Molitor will be auctioned live and online Thursday, November 5, 2015 starting 10 a.m.
The auction will be held at Witherell’s Annex, 1925 C Street, Sacramento and online at www.liveauctioneers.com.
There also will be a preview November 4, 2015 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the C Street location.
The collection includes medals, militaria, edged weapons, firearms and ethnographic material from the Civil War to World War II.
A maintenance contractor for the Dept. of Housing & Urban Development before he died, Molitor spent every weekend and holiday at garage sales, flea markets and on eBay for 40 years buying unique military items of historic interest.
British, American and Soviet medals, European and South American orders of knighthood, swords and knives from around the world, uniforms of the U.S., Britain and other countries, insignia from all periods of U.S. history, helmets and headgear of the U.S. and other countries, antique and modern firearms, historic photographs, letters and documents from the 18th and 19th centuries.
“This collection has hundreds of artifacts with amazing stories to them,” said Brian Witherell, ‘Antiques Roadshow’ appraiser and Witherell’s chief operating officer. “We are delighted to have been selected to handle this important sale.”
An original Civil War era officer’s “Chasseur” style kepi is one of the highlights of the auction.
Possibly from the New York Zonaves regiment, Molitor got the kepi relatively cheaply because the bidding was on Super Bowl Sunday when most collectors were watching the game.
“He always looked for things on Sunday, a day when people don’t pay as much attention to auctions,” said his wife Barbara Molitor.
“To him, the game was part of the fun, that and holding items in his hands with stories about the people.”
A lot of 17 sets of various epaulets includes a single child or young cadet’s uniform epaulet of gold embroidered brush with a brass button, a number of pre-Civil War epaulets, a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland with a Victorian button and more.
Estimated at $1,300 to $1,500, it is one of the more usual military lots.
A World War I, U. S. Marine Corps. grouping includes the dogtag of William F. Brewer, 5th Regiment and Machine Gun Company, a medal with three bars “Ypres-Lys, Meuse-Argonne, Defensive Sector”, a pair of collar discs, one being an extremely rare USMC EGA disc, an EGA cap badge and more.
A photo, letters, medals and other personal effects of the brothers Job and Mark Hathaway, of the 95th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and the 47th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry, respectively, is another touching find valued at $800 to $1,000.
Mark Hathaway was the captain of the colored infantry.
Job Hathaway later became a settler and police sergeant in the Nebraska Territory.
Three rare Spanish-American war medals, estimated at $700 to $900, also are part of the 300 lots auction.