Confederate money and weapons were nearly worthless when Sherman attacked Atlanta in 1864. But time and TV have been kind to the Confederacy, which is now a hot spot in the memorabilia market.
"We won out anyway," affirms Dent Myers, owner of Wildman's Civil War Surplus in Kennesaw, Ga., and a descendant of a rebel soldier. "All the Confederate stuff is worth more now than Union stuff."
Prompted in part by the Public Broadcasting Service documentary "The Civil War," more and more people are out to buy souvenirs, and demand is creating ever higher prices for authentic objects.
"There's been an unbelievable increase in sales," said Lori Nash, an employee at Stone Mountain Relics. "Everybody says, 'I want a gun like in that movie.' "
Some collectors are paying up to $4,000 for rifles and $2,000 for Confederate belt buckles. Musket balls and bullets, however, are still cheapest, sometimes going for as little as $2 each.
By comparison, John Marcinkowski spent $24,000 for a one-ton piece of history that rests in his father's basement.
"It just makes me happy," Marcinkowski, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Marietta, Ga., said of his purchase of a Pennsylvania cannon. "A lot of people don't know their history."
A Handbook in Every Pot
Business data freaks unwilling to lay out a fortune subscribing to costly information services might consider a new Hoover.
No vacuum, this model is a directory of 541 major enterprises, most of them businesses. A big selling point is the price: $19.95.
Hoover's Handbook is published by Gary E. Hoover, a lanky Austin, Tex., entrepreneur whose last venture was the Bookstop chain of category-killer bookstores, which featured low prices and vast selections.
Hoover publishes the 646-page volume himself through his Reference Press Inc., the only start-up listed in the guide. (He pays himself $36,000, and the list of suppliers includes an Austin pizzeria.)
Handbook entries start with an overview and proceed to who, what, where and when. There's no why, but the data ranges from fax numbers to return on equity to the chairman's salary.
Not without idiosyncrasy, Hoover's Handbook isn't limited to corporations. Included are the Red Cross, the state of California, the Teamsters and the United States of America. Unsurprisingly, given its Soviet Realist cover, it includes the U.S.S.R.