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    Clay & Frelinghuysen: A Magnificent 1844 Campaign Flag Banner. One of the very best Clay flags, and in fabulous condition. The Threads of History plate example is in an institutional collection, and we cannot recall seeing any other example in a private collection. The condition is essentially mint, with the brightest imaginable blue and red hues. To be completely accurate we note a little very minor bleeding of the letters in "Henry Clay". 30" x 27" as elegantly custom framed.

    The central device trades on memories of the successful Whig campaign of 1840; there is a large cider barrel, and in the distance, one sees William Henry Harrison's trademark log cabin. A raccoon rests contentedly atop the barrel, with the slogan "The same old coon" above. This slogan, widely used in 1844, came from the name of a Whig Party newspaper, That Same Old Coon, published from April through November 1844. One of Clay's popular nicknames was "Ol' Coon," seeking to project the same good-old-boy persona that had worked so effectively for Harrison four years earlier.

    Ironically, however, the Democrats managed to co-opt that theme effectively in 1844. Their candidate, James K. Polk, was promoted as "Young Hickory" cast in the mold of "Old Hickory" Andrew Jackson. In 1840, Harrison had the perfect foil in Martin Van Buren, who was lampooned for an aristocratic lifestyle and referred to as "His Pomposity" or "Martin van Ruin". However, with the playing field more equal in 1844, the Democrats succeeded in thwarting Clay and reclaiming the presidency from the Whigs.

    The condition of this flag is simply breathtaking, unexcelled by any political flag of the era we have ever seen. As items such as flag banners have increased in value, condition has become more and more important in setting market value. In August, a fairly standard Harrison portrait flag in exceptionally bright condition sold for $35,000 in a New England auction, double to triple what typically would have been expected for an average specimen.

    The present flag combines condition with appealing design and great rarity, presenting a most important opportunity for the serious collector of political display items.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,945

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