A rare Polk & Dallas: Highly Significant Large 1844 Campaign Flag Banner sold for $81,250 and a Pocket Watch Owned by One of the Passengers on the R.M.S. Titanic drew $57,500, to lead Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political auction Aug. 25-26 in Dallas, Texas. Sales from the event totaled $1,459,448.
“This auction featured items that really captured the fascination of collectors of all levels,” Heritage Auctions Americana Auctions Director Tom Slater said. “The 1844 campaign flag and the watch from the Titanic are lots that tell important stories, and will be key pieces in their new owners’ collections.”
Polk campaign items, especially display pieces, are rare, and the Polk & Dallas flag is one of the largest political flags ever made, measuring 49-1/2 by 30-1/2 inches, or 57 by 38 inches with the frame. This flag is one of perhaps six known. It formerly resided in the legendary U.I. “Chick” Harris Collection, and achieved the highest price of any object when that collection was sold in a series of eight auctions nearly 20 years ago. Intended for horizontal display, it still has the original fabric loops for suspension across the top, and fine stitching around the perimeter.
The pocket watch was salvaged from Sinai Kantor, a Russian immigrant who was one of victims when the Titanic collided with an iceberg April 15, 1912. Kantor’s belongings, including the watch, were returned to his widow, Miriam, who was spared when “women and children first” protocol earned her a seat on the final lifeboat to reach the rescue ship R.M.S. Carpathia.
Numerous bidders pursued Revolutionary War: “Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression” Prohibitively Rare Copper Engraved Cartoon Celebrating the Boston Tea Party until it brought $37,500. The rare political cartoon was published after Dec. 23, 1773 and before April 1774, mere months after the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Mohawk Indians, took to Boston Harbor and destroyed more than 92,000 pounds of tea. Just six copies of the copper engraved cartoon are known to exist in institutional holdings.
One of the premier political banners surviving from the era, Henry Clay: A Spectacular Hand-Painted Banner from the 1844 Campaign drew multiple bids before closing at $35,000, nearly double its pre-auction estimate. Reflecting the Nativist and Protectionist viewpoint of many of Clay’s supporters, the banner features a portrait of Clay over text that reads: “AMERICA THOU ART OUR COUNTRY AND THEE WILL WE SUPPORT / We are labourers and would not that our children’s bread should be cast to the dogs of foreign nations.”
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West Show: “He-Nu-Kaw” Richly Colored Lithographed Poster Depicting “The Handsomest Indian Maiden in the World” led a group of 84 lots related to the legendary American scout, bison hunter and showman when multiple bidders drove its final price to $32,500 – more than six times its pre-auction estimate. A rare and early poster issued around 1878 to promote Cody’s New York stage play, this example is one of only a handful known to remain in existence, according to former longtime Buffalo Bill Historical Center curator Paul Fees. Printed by Cleveland, Ohio-based lithographers W.J. Morgan & Co., this example comes from the collection of the late, renowned collector Edward C. Gillette of Kansas City. Gillette amassed one of the finest collections of items related to Buffalo Bill, many of which appeared in the Aug. 25 Heritage Auctions sale.