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    Polk & Dallas: Prohibitively Rare 1844 Campaign Flag Banner. James K. Polk has always been a magic name for political collectors, as his campaign novelties of all types range from scarce to very rare. More often than not campaign items from the winning candidate tend to be more common than those for the loser, presumably because people were more inclined to hold onto items which celebrated an actual president. However in this election, as in the one before, there seems to be a tremendous disparity between the variety and volume of campaign items issued for the rival candidates, even though only one of the two Whig aspirants was successful. As discussed above, Harrison's 1840 campaign broke new ground in making systematic use of various campaign novelties. The Whig party seems to have continued this tradition in 1844, as items supporting the unsuccessful candidate Henry Clay are many times more prevalent than those for the victorious Polk. In Threads of History, Collins pictures only four textile items for Polk, as compared to twenty-nine different for Henry Clay!

    Political flag banners like this one are of course the most prized Polk campaign artifacts of all. Although we have handled two examples of the Polk portrait flag, this is the first name flag to pass through our hands. It was formerly in the legendary collection of seminal political flag collector Professor Fred Israel. In several decades of searching, commencing years before it became the fashion, this was the only Polk flag which Israel was ever able to add to his collection.

    The present example is in very presentable display condition. It is printed on a cotton fabric which gives it greater stability than the silk flags of the era. Several small scattered holes averaging the size of a pencil eraser do not detract. The color is evenly, moderately faded, and as usual the red stripes have turned to an orangish brown shade. One small stain mark partially covering the "K" in Polk, and another inconsequential one in the lower right quarter. 26" x 25.5".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2010
    22nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,639

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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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