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VARIANT INDIAN WAR & SPANISH AMERICAN WAR ERA CUP – COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE “SOUP CUP” – SOLDIER ID’d AND MARKED “MNG” FOR THE MICHIGAN NATIONAL GUARD:  Considerably deeper than the Model 1874 Cup, this US Army issue cup appeared at some point late in the Indian War period and has been associated with the final campaigns in the Southwest as well as continued use during the Spanish American War. 

Through the generous sharing of further information from Chris Magewick, I have learned that this pattern of cup was widely issued to units in the Michigan National Guard during the Spanish American War.  Specifically, it is known that these cups were issued to the 31ST through the 35TH Michigan Infantry Regiments.  The photos shown below, provided by Chris, capture the 33RD Michigan Infantry going into encampment at Camp Algers near Falls Church, Virginia during the Spanish American War and this pattern of cup is plainly visible in the photographs.  This historical documentation explains the “MNG” stamped in the handle of this cup, identifying as property of the Michigan National Guard.   

Normally found without the “US” marking as is the case with this specimen, this taller cup has come to be known as the “soup cup”, acknowledging the capacity of this cup to hold a soldier’s meal in the field such as beans, stew or a hearty soup.  Drawn from a single piece of iron as opposed to the two piece construction of the Model 1874 Cup, the bottom of this soup cup is integral to the sides of the cup, and the bottom edge is rounded rather than at right angle as on the earlier cups eliminating the risk of the bottom splitting away from the sides.   

Measuring 4 7/8” high and 4 ½” in diameter, this specimen has seen some use, but is in overall solid condition with no holes or heavy corrosion.  The handle is intact and firmly attached.  The body of the cup has a few areas of very minor pitting, but none of the pin holes or weak spots usually found on these cups.  The rim is very strong and it has a pair of cuts a little over ½” apart and ½” long.  These two cuts were intentionally applied, I suspect by the soldier, to fashion a slot to secure his spoon handle while he sipped from the cup.  Below the cut on the side of the cup is engraved “# 2” and “M”.  The handle of this cup is stamped “MNG” indicating issue to one of the Michigan National Guard units.  The bottom surface of the cup bears an etched legend applied by the soldier to identify his cup which reads in part, “M. M.” and “MARKLY” and a faint number below the name.  It is entirely possible that Markley is in the unit photograph shown below.      

Well recognized by experienced collectors, these cups are far from common, and when found, often appear to have been subjected to heavy use.  This is a very nice, soldier identified cup to place with your Apache Wars or Spanish American War display. (0210)  $150

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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