During Heritage’s Americana & Political sale on May 13, 2017, an incredible 1856 campaign flag for President James Buchanan set a world record after selling for $275,000. This impressive sale shattered the previous record for a campaign flag sold at auction, which was set by Heritage in 2009.
“The previous record of $95,600 was set in November of 2009 for an 1860 John Breckinridge portrait flag,” said Jeff Bridgman, the winning bidder and owner of Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques of York County, Pennsylvania.
This record-breaking flag was the centerpiece of the $1.9 million auction that centered around memorabilia from the nation’s Founding Fathers and other historic figures. Although colorful campaign banners were produced for nearly every winning presidential candidate, none is rarer than the 21-1/2” x 15” flag banner for James Buchanan.
“As thrilling as it was to see it sell, I was not surprised to see this flag set a world record. It is the only Buchanan portrait flag ever to appear at auction and represented a perhaps not-to-be-repeated opportunity for the advanced collector,” added Tom Slater, Director of Americana at Heritage.
In addition to the Bunchanan flag, Bridgman was also the winning bidder of a monumental Silk Banner from the October 1789 parade welcoming the recently-installed President to Boston. “I have never owned an 18th century flag, almost nothing exists of that period, inside or outside of institutions, and this actually had Washington's name on it,” Bridgman shared. “Amazing!”
A rare and important Lexington and Concord Broadside, reporting on the events that led to the American Revolution, brought in $162,500. While a leopard-skin Saddle Pad owned by both George Washington and British General Edward Braddock ended at $150,000. An incredibly scarce letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to Georgia Governor John Milledge realized $93,750.
Additional highlights include, a 50” tall metal and terracotta maquette of the Statue of Liberty sold for $45,000; a 21” x 30” hand-colored map from 1782 Battle of Yorktown that brought in $42,500; an extraordinary, large, powerful “Cigar Store Indian” attributed to the workshop of Samuel Robb ended at $37,500; and a George Washington meeting at Fraunces Tavern that realized $35,000.
Twice yearly, Heritage Auctions holds major auctions of historical Americana. Consignments are currently being accepted for the next sale, slated for November.