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    Abraham Lincoln: Supremely Rare and Important Portrait Campaign Flag from 1860. Among categories of collectable political campaign novelties, these flag-format banners are among the most highly prized. Within this subcategory, 1860 and 1864 Lincoln flags carrying the candidate's portrait are the most sought after of all. Interestingly, at least ten different designs have come to light over the years, however not more than a half dozen examples are known to exist of any given design. Most are one-of-a-kind. The present example, which comes out of an old New England collection, was unknown to Collins when he edited Threads of History, and is, to our knowledge, unique. The smaller beardless portrait and unusual configuration of stars set it apart from other known designs.

    While the value of these flags has risen steadily over the years, it is only in the last decade that the market has really come into its own. We recall the first Lincoln portrait flag we handled in the mid-1970s. At that time it sold for $500, perhaps a quarter of what a Cox- Roosevelt jugate button would command in those days. Today such a flag will easily bring triple the price of a standard C-R jugate.

    The public auction record for a Lincoln portrait flag is still held by Heritage: $83,650.00 for a large example sold in February 2007 (auction 659, lot 25016). However, we have confirmed two more recent private sales at $100,000 each, and it is rumored that one of those may be resold at yet an even higher price. As with all collectibles, condition is certainly a factor in determining price. This tends to be less the case with political flag banners of this era, though, since most surviving examples have defects of varying sorts, often rather extensive. The Lincoln flag sold by Heritage for the record price was certainly in far from perfect condition, and one of the examples sold privately for $100,000 has a number of significant holes, some affecting the portrait area.

    The present example, like most of the others, is not perfect. It is somewhat faded and has light overall aging. However, both are very even, and the flag presents well for display. One larger light brown stain in the lower left-hand corner distracts and detracts minimally, as does a single 2.5" tear upward from the bottom edge in the same area. Importantly, this flag appears to be full-sized and has not been trimmed, as some examples have been in order to mitigate significant edge damage. Overall, we consider this example to be worthy of all but the most fanatically condition-conscious of collectors. An opportunity comes up only every few years to obtain a Lincoln campaign artifact of true museum quality. 17.5" x 10.75", nicely custom-framed to an overall 20" x 14". This lot requires 3rd party shipping.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    22nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,744

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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