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Lot
44150

George Armstrong Custer: His Navy Wool Bibb Shirt, Worn by Him in One of His Most Famous Photographs....

2013 June 22 - 23 Legends of the Wild West Signature Auction - Dallas #6101

 
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Auction Ended On: Jun 22, 2013
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
George Armstrong Custer: His Navy Wool Bibb Shirt, Worn by Him in One of His Most Famous Photographs. This shirt is clearly visible under Custer's buckskin jacket in the ubiquitous photo where he is posed with an elk he has shot during the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition. Custer also wore this shirt on his historic 1874 expedition to explore the Black Hills when gold was discovered, setting off the chain of events which led inexorably to Little Big Horn.

Libby Custer would later give the shirt to her husband's orderly, from whom it was obtained by William O. Taylor, a 7th Cavalry veteran who had been with Reno at the battle. The following day Taylor would serve on the burial detail and witnessed the carnage suffered by Custer and his command. He would develop a lifelong fascination with the battle, and was one of the earliest systematic collectors of Custer memorabilia and relics. Between 1882 and 1920 Taylor donated a number of items to the Pocumtuck Valley Historical Association's museum at historic Deerfield, Massachusetts, including this shirt gifted in 1885. The museum eventually deaccessioned the shirt, which was then bought by famous Custer collector Alex Acevedo. It was sold by Butterfields to the present owner in a 1995 auction of the Acevedo collection.

The shirt is recorded in the museum's original records (See Katz's - K118V, original entry 1885, #1R - A100, 1886 catalog, p. 104). It was pictured by James S. Hutchins in Boots and Saddles at the Little Big Horn, (Fort Collins, CO: The Old Army Press, 1975).

Over the past several auctions Heritage has been privileged to present some outstanding Custer artifacts and relics, but none more important or impeccably documented than this wonderful bibb shirt. It is in good overall condition, with some moth damage and loss at the bottom, and one button missing.

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Service and Handling Description: Clothing, Costumes & Jerseys (view shipping information)

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