Union Pacific Belt Buckle
Q: I think this brass belt buckle came from my children’s great-grandfather. There are two clasped hands on the front and the words “Union Pacific, Railroad Company, Links East to West, 1866” on the front and “Made in USA” on the back. I’d like to know if it’s the real thing. What is it worth?
A: This belt buckle isn’t old. Reproduction (fake) belt buckles with vintage designs and the names of old companies were made in the late 1960s and ’70s. Although the design on the buckle seems to commemorate the linking of eastern and western United States by the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, that wasn’t accomplished until 1869. Union Pacific laid the tracks going from east to west, while Central Pacific Railroad laid tracks going from west to east. Union Pacific reached the 100th meridian, considered the dividing line between eastern and western U.S., in 1866. This was cause for great celebrations because the company had to cross the 100th meridian by 1867 in order to continue to receive government funding. The Golden Spike (the last spike) was driven in at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory on May 10, 1869. “Reproduction” belt buckles sell for $10 to $20. When first made and thought to be old, some sold for hundreds of dollars.
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