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    Abraham Lincoln: Magnificent, Colorful Banner Crafted from Elements of an 1860 Campaign Flag. The portrait at the center of this hand-sewn banner comes from an 1860 Lincoln flag, the only known complete example of which resides in the Lincoln National Life Foundation collection, and is pictured by Collins in Threads of History, page 160, no. 302. The red and white border immediately surrounding the portrait is formed of stripes from that same flag, whereas the outer starred blue border comes from a different period patriotic bunting. The central question, of course, deals with when and why the banner was constructed. Accordingly, we have commissioned a detailed analysis by Fonda Thomsen Ghiardi, who is widely acknowledged as the leading American expert on 19th-century flag materials and construction. A copy of her complete report is available on request. Ghiardi's conclusions: The banner is intact as originally assembled. The blue border fabric is not inconsistent with 1860 dating. Most significantly, the sewing threads are consistent with the mid-19th century time period. "Manufacturing changes in sewing threads brought on by the introduction of the sewing machine in the 1850s so completely changed the character of sewing threads, it is unlikely the piece was assembled much later. Machine style threads were fast to dominate the market."

    A commonsense analysis also suggests that the banner was made in 1860 or very shortly thereafter. Its bright and colorful nature is not consistent with a memorial item, and it seems much more logical that, for whatever application, it was intended for use during the campaign, or possibly to celebrate Lincoln's victory or first inauguration. At some point the edges were folded under slightly to fit it into a period frame, but Ghiardi suggests that it appears to have been at one point sewn onto something larger. This may have been a more elaborate banner which was cut down to fit the frame, or the present panel may well have been the centerpiece for a patchwork quilt design.

    In any case, it is a wonderful "period" Lincoln textile, and an appealing yet affordable substitute for a complete Lincoln portrait campaign flag, now selling well north of the $50,000 mark. Overall condition is excellent, with some minor damage along the right border near the lower right-hand corner. Strong, vibrant color. 17.5" x 20".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    17th-18th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,361

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