One of the earliest and most important contemporary printed records of the Texas Revolution, unseen since 1966, soared to $250,000 to lead Heritage Auctions
Feb. 27-28 Americana & Political Auction to $1,695,964 in total sales.
The two-day event boasted sell-through rates of 98.1% by lots sold, and 95.9% by value sold, and drew an impressive 1,669 bidders.
One of the earliest and most important contemporary printed records of the Texas Revolution, Fort Defiance: 1836 Joseph Chadwick Map of Col. James Fannin's Defenses at the Historic Site of the Battle of Goliad raced past its pre-auction estimate of $100,000 before finishing at $250,000. The map drawn by Fannin's adjutant, Joseph Chadwick and sent to Chadwick's mother shortly before the pair died. The story of the Texas Revolution became the stuff of legend, and the tragic massacre of Col. Fannin and some 400 of his men at Goliad was, along with the fall of the Alamo, one of the seminal events which rallied furious Texians and inspired them in their rout of General Santa Anna's army at San Jacinto. The map, published in 1836 by A. E. Baker in New York, remained in the hands of the Chadwick family for generations and was largely unknown to scholars, and prior to this auction, had not been seen in public since 1966.
"This map is one of a kind, a rarity from one of the critical events in the Texas Revolution," Heritage Auctions Historical Director Curtis Lindner said. "The Battle of Goliad was vital to the defeat of Gen. Santa Anna, which played a large role in the eventual outcome of the Revolution, making this map an unquestionably irreplaceable and important relic."
Also climbing beyond pre-auction estimates by more than 150% was a Set of Dwight D. Eisenhower Oval Office National and Presidential Seal Flags, which reached $81,250. These rarities were displayed together in the Oval Office from Jan. 20, 1957 through July 4, 1959. Oval Office flags, which stand behind the President's Resolute desk, are replaced as a set every four years, at which time they become the property of the National Archives and Records Administration, who usually set them aside for display in a future Presidential Library. These flags belonged to Ludwell B. Pruett, who worked in the Flag Mission of the Quartermaster General's Clothing & Textile Material Division from 1958-61, and was responsible for all flags originating from the U.S. Army Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, the facility responsible for producing all White House Oval Office flag sets.
The Famous "Pony Express" Bible, one of only 12 known to exist, closed at $75,000, five times its pre-auction estimate. Pony Express riders to be expert riders, deliver the mail across the country safely and quickly
and they had to honor the Sabbath, in accordance with the beliefs of one of the partners in the company that founded the legendary mail-by-relay system used in the early 1860s. So adamant was Alexander Majors, one of the founding partners of Russell, Majors & Waddell that he had employees sign an oath of devotion and distributed 300 Bibles to Pony Express riders. The other 11 known copies, all of which reside with libraries, galleries and historical societies.
A Rare Replica Set of Five "Marital Alliance" Coat-of-Arms Stained Glass Panels, each bearing George Washingtons family coat-of-arms, drew a winning bid of $31,250. The stars & stripes, or "bars" and "mullets," represent awards for participation and gallantry in combat after the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066. The panels were issued to commemorate the marriage of Washington family members, forming alliances that would enhance the wealth and influence of each. The Washington coat-of-arms appears with that of the incoming family with a caption at the bottom specific to the event.
A George Washington: "GW with Indentee Border" Inaugural Button brought $30,000, five times its pre-auction estimate and a new record for the design. For years, inaugural buttons were the first way in which people expressed their personal support for a candidate, among the most visible declarations of support a person could make. This button led a selection of 52 Washington inaugural buttons that sold in the auction, a list that also included but was not limited to:
George Washington: "Dotted Script" Inaugural Button: $20,000
George Washington: "Cross in Circle Border" Inaugural Button: $18,750
George Washington: "Plain Roman" Inaugural Button: $15,000
George Washington: "Linked States" Inaugural Button: $13,125
A Rare Gold Standard Balance Scale by Howard & Davis of Boston nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate when it went for $27,500. Considered the preeminent Gold Rush balance, it is the smaller, rarer version of the balance, which miners claimed were accurate enough to precisely measure a pencil mark. The firm of Howard & Davis was founded in 1842 by Edward Howard and David P. Davis, and was known originally for its high-quality clocks and balances, prior to manufacturing sewing machines and fire engines.
The very first Confederate imprint defining the moment that the American nation was torn asunder, a Charleston Mercury Broadside: "The Union Is Dissolved" prompted eight bids before selling for $26,250. Many South Carolinians worried that the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States meant the probable end of slavery, which would have represented a massive lifestyle and culture adjustment. Rather than accepting such a future, Governor Francis Wilkinson Pickens called for a convention to consider secession from the Union, and, on Dec. 20, 1860, the 169 delegates in attendance voted unanimously to secede from the Union. The vote to secede led the local newspaper to rush production of this broadside very few of which remain in existence to spread the news.
Other top lots in the sale included, but were not limited to:
Western Union: Thomas A. Edison Stock Ticker Tape Machine with Rarely Seen Wooden Stand $22,500
Chester Alan Arthur: Impressive Large Portrait on Porcelain $21,250
1876 U.S. Centennial: A Scarce Large Linen Flag $20,000
Abraham Lincoln: Six Strands of Hair $20,000