Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Probably the rarest and most impressive Civil War ordnance presentation we've ever seen.

    Absolutely Remarkable, Probably Factory, 1864 Display Board with Sixteen Coston's Flares for Use with the U.S. M1862 Army Signal Pistol. Each flare is different, held in place by a copper wire loop, and identified by a number or letter, that were apparently keyed to a legend which no longer accompanies the display. 14" X 19" nicely mounted in a gilt lined period walnut frame. The display heading, executed in water color and ink espouses, "Coston's/ Telegraphic-Night-Signals/ U. S. Army Signal Service/ Signal-Pistol And Cartridges". The signal pistol depicted is also executed in ink and watercolor as is the 1864 date. Attached below the pistol is a factory label for M. E. Coston's flares, Patented April 8, 1859. All flares in perfect condition, the backboard with some toning and a few water stains, but very sound and bright.

    Martha Jane Hunt Coston eloped with an American naval officer at the age of sixteen. Benjamin Franklin Coston, only twenty-one, became director of the U.S. Navy's scientific laboratory in Washington, where he experimented with color coded signals to allow communication between ships. Upon his death, in 1847, Martha struck out on her own, perfected the flare system, and found a manufacturer to produce them. Sadly, she was never compensated for the flares she produced, at cost, for the Union Army during the war. Her perseverance after the war, however, led to the adoption of the Coston Maritime Signals on an international level.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,055

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Dec 12, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 12 days left to consign to the 2021 December 5 Holiday Luxury Accessories Signature® Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search