Published: May 15, 2017
DALLAS, TEXAS — A new record was set in the world of political flags at auction on Saturday, May 13, when historic flag specialist, Jeff Bridgman, paid $275,000 at Heritage Auctions’ grand format Americana and political auction for an 1856 James Buchanan portrait campaign flag. The previous record for a political portrait flag of $95,600 was set in November of 2009 for an 1860 John Breckinridge portrait flag, purchase by a private collector. In September of 2016, Bridgman purchased a rare variety of an 1860 Stephen Douglas flag for $93,700. Before that the record was $83,600, set in February of 2007 for a very large Lincoln portrait flag.
Earlier on Saturday, in Heritage’s “Washington and the Founding Fathers” sale, an Eighteenth Century flag used to welcome George Washington to Boston in 1789 sold for $62,500. Bridgman said after the purchase, “I believe there may have been some skepticism concerning the flag’s authenticity, which resulted in such a low price. I flew to Dallas to examine the flag and found it to be legitimate. There was some history with it, handed down through the Sons of the Revolution, who consigned it, but the original source of the information was unconfirmed. During my research, I found two period 1789 broadsides describing the flag exactly. It was actually one of 46 flags used in a procession of tradesmen. Not only was the construction of the flags listed and their size and color, but the exact flag was listed in its proper sequence as ‘Glaziers & Plumbers, No. 16.’ Rarity here was off-the-charts. I have never owned an Eighteenth Century flag, almost nothing exists of that period, inside or outside of institutions, and this actually had Washington’s name on it. Amazing.”
Prices include the buyer’s premium; a complete review of the auction will appear in a future issue.
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