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Found Unused Tombstone

Article about: I was sweeping out my basement a little better than last year when I noticed that the odd step-like foundation in the corner was actually white marble with a round end. I flipped it over to

  1. #1
    kwr2
    ?

    Default Found Unused Tombstone

    I was sweeping out my basement a little better than last year when I noticed that the odd step-like foundation in the corner was actually white marble with a round end. I flipped it over to find a pristine inscription of a private in that fought for the US 110th Infantry 28th Division that died on July 29th, 1918 - a genuine WWI tombstone.

    Online I found out that he was also one of the 13 Rainy Day Boys (named for a local holiday here in Waynesburg, Pa). His death was also describe in an online book about the group of 15,000 men, of which a little more than 800 survived. His body was MIA and his family even mourned his death at a burial of an unknown soldier in Washington D.C.. His grave was finally found in France and his body was returned and buried in Waynesburg, Pa.

    A previous owner of the house was the private's sister. She died while living there and I suspect that it was overlooked as I have done for 3 the last years. It is unknown to me why they did not use the government tombstone, elected to use their own, and why someone would want to hang onto that kind of token for their brother.

    Currently I am trying to find the value of such a strange find. However, I will likely just return it to the family even though a bit of cash would be nice. Anyone have any ideas?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Give it to the family

  3. #3

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Agree 100%, it should go back to the family. The right thing to do. John

  4. #4

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    I don't know if you live near where he is buried now. If for some reason you can't find the family or the family lives too far away and doesn't want it. Go to the cemetery where his grave is now and tell them to put up next to his other stone. He may be buried in a memorial garden that doesn't allow upright headstones. If That is the case, lay it down there. The private desesrves the recognition.

    Jay

  5. #5

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Let your conscience decide, and do the right thing mate. Remember, he died for you and the American way.

    Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  6. #6
    kwr2
    ?

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    While I do agree with the two of you, my hesitation lies in giving to the eldest living relative - a believe it would be the private's grand nephew - and then seeing it reappear on Antiques Roadshow, appraised for an amount, and sold off to pay for some of their kid's education.

    Putting myself in his shoes, there are two possibilities:

    On one hand, I'd appreciate it if such an item was given to me for my lost grand uncles from WWII.

    On the other hand, because it was never used as his tombstone, was left behind by my parents, and might be worth money, I'd understand if that person instead sold it to a collector for some monetary reason, or I might even consider selling it myself if it was given to me - it would be a strange item to keep around.

    ....

    If it isn't worth more than a $5000 - I doubt it's worth that - I will most definitely be giving it to the grand nephew.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Quote by kwr2 View Post
    While I do agree with the two of you, my hesitation lies in giving to the eldest living relative - a believe it would be the private's grand nephew - and then seeing it reappear on Antiques Roadshow, appraised for an amount, and sold off to pay for some of their kid's education.

    Putting myself in his shoes, there are two possibilities:

    On one hand, I'd appreciate it if such an item was given to me for my lost grand uncles from WWII.

    On the other hand, because it was never used as his tombstone, was left behind by my parents, and might be worth money, I'd understand if that person instead sold it to a collector for some monetary reason, or I might even consider selling it myself if it was given to me - it would be a strange item to keep around.

    ....

    If it isn't worth more than a $5000 - I doubt it's worth that - I will most definitely be giving it to the grand nephew.
    MUSEUM!
    Personally I would NOT sell it and find the relevant Museum to take it!
    I do not think you deserve to get grief... If someone here had a uniform in their collection & then the family came along asking for it... would they part with it?

    Whatever choice you make, make the correct one!

  8. #8
    ILH
    ILH is offline
    ?

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Hi Kwr2,

    A picture might help for identification;

    He was buried in France then reintered in the US, so is it the French gravestone?
    You say it's white marble with a curved top... not a Commonwealth War Graves Commision one is it?
    What's his american grave got, an official one or a private purchase?

    If you give it to the Family, then which bit of the family.
    I fear a cemetary might charge you if any work is involved.
    I go along with who ever said Museum- that way anyone including the family can see it, with photos and story etc.

    Finally value- provenance improves value, but I doubt it's worth anything.... nowadays a buyer can be found for anything, but it's the kind of thing that only gets bought once

    jim

  9. #9

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    Quote by big ned View Post
    Let your conscience decide, and do the right thing mate. Remember, he died for you and the American way.

    Ned.
    I would agree with Ned. I also doubt it is worth much in monetary terms. Very few collectors would want this kind of item.

    Cheers, Ade.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Found Unused Tombstone

    It should go back to the family. Money, antique road show nor anything else applies here.

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