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    Description

    Theodore Roosevelt: Highly Desirable and Prohibitively Rare Pro-TR Equality Pin. On the afternoon of October 16, 1901, Booker T. Washington visited President Roosevelt; he was invited to stay for dinner, making him the first black to dine at the White House. News of the event leaked to the press two days later, causing a furor amongst racist white society and Southern politicians. The President was mercilessly criticized, causing him to deal less aggressively on the delicate civil rights issue. He never repeated the mistake, although he did visit Washington at the Tuskegee Institute in 1905. Roosevelt did have his supporters and many in the African-American community viewed the event with pride. In 1903, a poster was issued to commemorate the meeting. It showed Booker T. Washington and President Theodore Roosevelt seated facing each other at the dining table, titled "EQUALITY". An 1½" black & white celluloid button was produced, copied from the poster. Two other designs were issued which are considered derogatory in nature. In these "knock-off" designs, the Washington character is not clearly recognizable, appears inappropriately casual and familiar, and the water decanter is replaced with a liquor bottle. In our button, Washington is clearly identifiable and both parties appear dignified and mutually respectful. It is, however, different than the 1 1/2" button typically seen. It is a real photo sepia-tone button with different portraits of the principals, different spacing (not cropped as close) and the table is laid out differently. An example surfaced a few years back in a Tom French auction where it was described as unique and previously unknown. It sold for over $20,000. It was purchased by a very sophisticated and discerning collector and is unlikely to see the light of day for decades yet to come. This is a second example. It is in mint condition. Among TR collectors, the "Equality" pins hold a special place and are cherished and highly sought-after. The opportunity to acquire a rarity of this magnitude and quality is simply "not to be missed!"

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2020
    22nd-23rd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,215

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