Christmas gift ideas for the Civil War buff from the York Emporium!
Nestled in downtown York, Pennsylvania, is one of the finest (and most eclectic!) used book stores in the Mid-Atlantic region – the York Emporium.
Owned by author and businessman Jim Lewin and his wife Pam, the Emporium is chock full of used books of all descriptions, genres, and types. Books are not Jim’s only feature, however. His display cases are crammed with all kinds of interesting collectibles and curiosities, including military memorabilia, science fiction items, old toys, campaign buttons, and so much more.
I strolled around tonight snapping photos of some of the Civil War items for sale, many of which would make fine Christmas gifts for that Civil War buff on your shopping list.
Here are just a few examples of the inventory of the York Emporium…
Among the ephemera are vintage copies of Harpers Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated, which were the two leading nationally distributed weekly news periodicals of the day. Priced reasonably, these offer fascinating glimpses into the world of the early 1860s when the country was torn asunder by the winds of war.
Of particular interest are the extensive illustrations, most based upon eyewitness accounts and sketches from field correspondents and artists. Soldiers in battle action, buildings, cities, ships, leading officers — the collection of illustrations is being scanned and digitized by Jim, who plans to offer the images as a CD of Civil War clip art.
The York Emporium’s selection of used and collectible Civil War books is impressive, and again some real bargains can be found. I scanned through some of the titles; conditions are very good and prices are generally less than a new DVD. Why watch a modern Hollywood movie for a couple of hours when for the same dollar (or less) you can get many more hours of enjoyment reading a classic book on the Civil War. From Osprey battle guides to Gettysburg to classic Bruce Catton books (and a few titles from local York County author Scott Mingus), the variety of topics is excellent.
Here’s a real gem that won’t last very long in the shop’s inventory – a piece of a witness tree (with provenance) from near the Watt House on the battlefield of Gaines Mill. A Minie ball is lodged in the wood. Gaines Mill was one of the battles during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.
Confederate currency is also highly collectible, especially when in very good condition.
Here are a couple of nice examples of the kind of Confederate money that was freely passed out to York County’s merchants by Rebel “shoppers” during the last week of June 1863. Southern soldiers took what they wanted from the shelves in nearly every town they visited, usually paying with CSA bills or promissory notes on the government. Hanover, Wrightsville, York, Seven Valleys, Dover, Dillsburg, Hallam, Thomasville, Pleasureville, Rossville, Wellsville, Jefferson — it’s a long list of York County communities whose merchants were raided by “Secesh” soldiers. Perhaps these very bills were handed to frustrated York County businessmen or store clerks?
A large wooden chest contains a nice variety of artillery shell fragments and Minie balls, including intact bullets, drops, misshapen bullets that may have impacted something or someone, and partials. All are again quite reasonable in price and condition. All are guaranteed to be authentic Civil War relics.
The York Emporium is located at 343 West Market Street (the historic Lincoln Highway / Route 462) in downtown York, Pennsylvania, the same route used by elements of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to enter York on the morning of June 28, 1863.
More information can be found at their website, or by becoming a fan of the York Emporium on Facebook. Jim Lewin can be contacted by phone at 717-846-2866.
Jim also buys your own memorabilia and collections if they are of interest to him. Give him a call!