Discarded by the Army in various Southwestern Military Posts.
It is not usually found that purposely destroyed Army Buckles will command such a value, but certain circumstances do come into play at times; this being one of them. These are rare buckles to begin with as the Army issued this buckle with the first Mills Web ammo belt in the 1880’s. The pattern of the belt plate is the Model 1880, and it went through several chances until the a stamped version was adapted in the later 80’s.
Apparently there were several problems with these plates, and so much so that the quartermaster department felt it would have been too much of a headache to re-issue these to State Militias and get complaints about their serviceability so the order must have gone out to the various army posts around the country to just destroy them once and for all.
A great letter accompanies this plate from Duncan Campbell where he states that several were found at a Southwest Fort in the 70’s. Good information can be found on these belt plates in Stephen Dorsey’s book on American Military and Naval Belts, 1812-1902.