Description1864 Lincoln & Johnson Jugate Badge: The "Holy Grail" for collectors of Pinback Jugates. The practice of producing photographic badges showing both presidential and vice presidential candidates began with the 1860 election, and jugate pins have been produced for every major party political ticket since (as well as a number of third parties, small and large). Among the jugate celluloid buttons, introduced in 1896, the rarest is the legendary Cox & Roosevelt jugate, with at least fifty examples known of six different designs.
But the Cox & Roosevelt pales in rarity and significance when compared to the 1864 Lincoln jugate offered here. There is but a single variety of Lincoln & Johnson photographic jugate badge, and only perhaps six or seven specimens are known. Heritage sold one of these in February 2007 when it fetched $47,800 against a pre-sale estimate of $25,000 - $35,000. At the time we accounted for six known specimens, but believe this to be a seventh example discovered more recently.
Over the years we have sold or at least personally inspected all the known copies except for the long-missing Cornell University example pictured in the Sullivan book. Accordingly, we can state with authority that this is the finest known specimen. The tiny tintype photos are as bright and flawless as they could be, and the brass shell frame retains an original luster which we do not recall being in evidence on the other examples. The piece that sold for $47,800 in 2007, while in very fine shape, had a duller frame and on magnification did exhibit minor marks in the field on both the Lincoln and Johnson images. This is noted not to diminish that specimen, but to acknowledge its relation to the current one in the hierarchy of known copies.
If one aspires to assemble a complete run of jugate badges from 1860 forward, this Lincoln & Johnson, along with its McClellan & Pendleton mate, represent THE keys to a complete set. Of course this rarity is also highly sought-after among collectors of Lincoln items of all categories. Condition is a very important consideration among collectors, especially at this rarified level. The opportunity to obtain the finest known example of this key jugate may well deserve description as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity! 31 x 33mm, choice condition with original pin on verso.
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