1856 anti-slavery banner from first Republican candidate leads June Americana & Political event at Heritage Auctions
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1856 anti-slavery banner from first Republican candidate leads June Americana & Political event at Heritage Auctions
John C. Frémont: Fabulous Anti-Slavery Folk Art Banner.

DALLAS, TX.- An extremely rare two-sided banner used to promote the first Republican candidate for president could bring $100,000 or more when it is sold in Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Signature® Auction June 11-12.

The John C. Frémont: Fabulous Anti-Slavery Folk Art Banner supported the candidate from California in the 1856 election. An explorer, military officer and California Senator, Frémont also was the founder of the state’s Republican party. He lost the 1856 election to James Buchanan.

“John Frémont was a very important figure in the history of California and the Western United States,” Heritage Auctions Americana Director Curtis Lindner said. “He was an outspoken opponent of slavery, making him part of one of the most important political movements in U.S. history.”

The banner, which is believed to have originated in Connecticut, is magnificent. Despite the adoption of “Free Soil, Free Press, Free Men and Fremont” as the party’s 1856 campaign slogan, campaign artifacts specifically mentioning slavery and Republican resistance to it are exceptionally rare. One side of the banner features a displayed eagle with riband reading, “Fremont and Dayton. Kansas Shall Be Free!” The other side has a flowing riband reading “I am Opposed to Slavery in the Abstract and from Principle! John C. Fremont. “The People’s Choice’ ‘John and Jessie.’”

A Rare Pair of Presidential Paris Porcelain Portrait Urns featuring John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (estimate: $50,000+) who are uniquely linked in the country’s history: as Founding Fathers, their political philosophies and writings combined to form the key elements of the Declaration of Independence. Adams and Jefferson both served early diplomatic missions in France and became close friends until the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy strained the Federalist establishment … and their relationship, although they reconciled in the latter stages of their lives. The two actually died on the same day: July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. French porcelains began to appear in the homes of wealthy Americans during the first quarter of the 19th century, often depicting historical events and patriotic subjects. Beginning with George Washington's administration, and continuing throughout the 19th century, American presidents chose Paris porcelain for their table and decorative wares.

A Desk from the U.S. House of Representatives, Circa 1857 (estimate: $30,000+) was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the architect of the Capitol whose renovations included the enlarged dome surmounted by a statue of a Native American princess, emblematic of Liberty. Chairs and desks were ordered as part of an 1857 renovation of the House, overseen by U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs. There were 241 Congressmen at that time, but when 11 states seceded from the Union, the number of members was reduced to 175. Excess furniture then was distributed to other government buildings and sold to the public. The offered desk, which is not accompanied by a chair, was manufactured by Doe & Hazelton of Boston. When the House of Representatives was refurbished in 1873, any remaining desks and chairs were sold off. Examples reside in several museums (Smithsonian Institution, High Museum of Art, Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, Chicago History Museum, Ft. Wayne Historical Society).

The only known example of a James Buchanan: 1856 “Buchanan and Breckinridge” Campaign Flag (estimate: $10,000+) generates immediate intrigue for collectors because the names are printed vertically, rather than in the customary horizontal orientation. Political memorabilia is rare for the 15th U.S. president and for Breckenridge, who at the time was the youngest Vice President in American history.
A Bottle of Tea Leaves from the Boston Tea Party Collected December 17, 1773 (estimate: $10,000+) traces back to one of the most important protests in American history. The protest, at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, stemmed from the frustration the colonists felt with Britain over taxation without representation in Parliament. So when the British East India Tea Company came in to Boston Harbor, colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into the water. The British had no desire to give up the Tea Tax, because they drank more than 1 million pounds of tea each year. This uprising was the colonists’ first act of defiance against British rule, and it sparked a surge of patriotism throughout the 13 colonies.

Also offered is a beautiful Richard Nixon White House Presidential Flag with Original Pole and Eagle Finial (estimate: $10,000+). Flags like this one are among the most highly prized of presidential objects among collectors. They are found in three sizes: the small “limousine flags,” medium-sized “boat” or “traveling” flags and the large size (69 by 56 inches) offered here, reserved for use within the White House itself. These exceptional flags are undeniably works of art: the cost to the government was in the area of $10,000-12,000 – in 1970 dollars! It comes with the original wooden two-part pole measuring approximately 116", circular base and eagle finial.

Campaign buttons from John F. Kennedy are enormously popular among collectors, who aggressively pursue buttons from a set known as “The Big Four.” They reportedly came from longtime Kennedy family friend Frank Allen, whose intention was to create a set of campaign buttons that would stand out from the scores of others made for the 1960 campaign. Allen brought all four to Hyannis, Mass., to show them to family patriarch Joseph Kennedy, who was outraged, reportedly declaring, “My son is going to be the next President of the United States! You can't use ugly pictures like this!” It is said he threw the buttons across the room, saying he never wanted to see them again. Joseph Kennedy’s objection notwithstanding, the buttons are in high demand among collectors, who have an opportunity to acquire three in this sale: a Rare “Give The Key To Kennedy” Button (estimate: $10,000+), a Rare “I’m Gone For John” Button (estimate: $8,000+) and a Rare “It Seems To Me It's Kennedy” Button (estimate: $7,000+). For perspective on the demand for such buttons, Heritage Auctions sold the fourth button in the set, a “Democracy for Jack Kennedy” Button, in 2021 for $28,750.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

• A Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction (estimate: $25,000+)

• A [Revolutionary War] Important and Incredibly Rare Liberty Tree Patriotic Button: (estimate: $20,000+)

• An Original set of Keys to the Limousine President Kennedy was Riding in When Assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963 (estimate: $15,000+)

• An [Anti-Andrew Jackson] Iconic King Andrew the First Broadside: (estimate: $20,000+)

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