An 1860 campaign flag for Abraham Lincoln and his running mate Hannibal Hamlin brought $20,000 during Heritage Auctions
' American Political Item Collectors (APIC) National Convention Auction, July 30 in Denver. The auction saw intense demand for rare pinback buttons, which claimed six of the top 10 auction lots as multiple bidders competed to own presidential memorabilia and fresh-to-market discoveries.
"The auction was a rousing success with just three lots left unsold," said Tom Slater, Director of Americana at Heritage Auctions. "The material was particularly strong for this auction, which is a testament to the political collecting hobby and the motivated membership of the APIC."
The APIC is a non-profit membership organization, dedicated to promoting the collecting, preservation and study of materials relating to political campaigns and the U.S. presidency. Bids were cast online via HALive! and from the convention floor at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport Hotel & Convention Center.
"The [auction] attendance I felt was very impressive there must have been well over 100 people there," said Ron Puechner, Co-chair of the Denver convention and newly-elected APIC President. "The selection and quality of items was amazing, but since we agreed to do the single session with the limited number of items, it did not negatively affect the buying on the convention floor or in the member's auction. I think this would be a good template for future conventions."
Among the auction's highlights, a possibly unique variant of a sought-after Coolidge and Dawes 6-inch Jugate surprised bidders as it sold for $12,188, more than three times its pre-auction estimate. Possibly a manufacturer's test piece or even a salesman's sample, the pinback's portraits are in blue rather than the customary black and white.
A full-color William Jennings Bryan 1-1/4-inch pinback in excellent condition ended at $9,375 following interest from six bidders. The button championed the Bryan campaign's strong outreach to American labor in an ultimately futile appeal to combat opponent William McKinley's considerable ties to the movement.
A rare "hopeful" pinback button designed to encourage American industrialist Henry Ford to run for president sold for $7,812. The circa 1920s pinback sparked a bidding war among three collectors who quickly surpassed the rarity's $1,500 estimate.
A New Deal button depicting the G.O.P. elephant crushing the Democratic donkey, issued in support of Republican Alf Landon in his campaign against Franklin Delano Roosevelt's second re-election effort, hammered for $6,875. A rare and colorful 1912 Jugate Celluloid one of just a handful known to exist to feature photographs of both Teddy Roosevelt and Hiram Johnson sold for $4,687.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
A rare Stogie or Glasses Case depicting Major General Winfield Scott sold for $4,062.
A Liverpool Creamware Tankard celebrating George Washington sold for $4,062.
An 1840 Campaign "Pewter Rim" featuring William Henry Harrison brought $3,906.
A unique 1900-dated Silver Ingot for William Jennings Bryan's campaign ended at $3,250.