Magazine article Law & Order

Police Artifacts Are Valuable

Magazine article Law & Order

Police Artifacts Are Valuable

Article excerpt

Policing is often a family affair. Perhaps your uncle was on the job or you have brothers or sisters in law enforcement. Maybe your father was an officer and-depending on how long ago your ancestors came to this country-perhaps your grandfather and great-grandfather were, too.

Did you keep any of their old uniforms? Have you a nightstick or a billy club they used? Is there a box containing their old lanterns or handcuffs? These things probably weren't thrown away, and might be buried in a chest in the attic somewhere. Older police equipment has become quite valuable-especially if it was issued or bought prior to 1950-so it might be worthwhile to look in the attic to see if any of that old equipment is there.

People have collected police badges for decades. So with thousands of these collectors today, the value of old badges has been fairly well established. Collectors only recently became interested in other items, such as old clubs, police rattles (noisemaking devices used before whistles became common), police lanterns worn on an officer's belt, old handcuffs and other restraints. The value of this equipment is less well known to all but serious collectors.

The United States issued hundreds of patents for police equipment between 1860 and the 1930s. Some of this equipment was manufactured in large numbers and used by hundreds of officers. If in excellent condition, these early pieces of police equipment can command hundreds of dollars.

Some early police equipment was made for only a short period of time. Perhaps some of it was not so good as existing equipment, or new improved models quickly replaced them. …

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