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Frent political collection tallies $3.27 million

Political and campaign memorabilia from the Frent Collection of Presidential & Political Americana headlined a recent $1.1 million sale through Heritage Auctions.

DALLAS – A trio of remarkable flags and banners sparked a flurry of competitive bidding, boosting the final total from Heritage Auctions’ David and Janice Frent Collection of Presidential & Political Americana, Part 3 auction to $1,152,076, exceeding the preauction estimate by nearly 20 percent.

Third Installment of Frent Collection


William Henry Harrison large 1840 silk campaign flag, 28 1/2 inches by 29 inches, $87,500.

This auction was the third presented in the last year by Heritage featuring portions of the Frent collection. Each has exceeded its presale estimate, and the three have produced a combined total of $3,274,023. Additional portions of the Frent collection are set to appear in at least four more auctions.

“Helping to put together the Frent collection has been one of the highlights of my career,” Heritage Auctions Americana Auctions Director Tom Slater said. “What they have been able to assemble is nothing short of extraordinary, which is why so many of the lots in this auction were pursued so vigorously.”

A William Henry Harrison large 1840 silk campaign flag nearly tripled its presale estimate when it sold for $87,500. The deep, rich colors offer a perfect background for the large centered image of the country’s ninth president. Part of the appeal to collectors is the fact that silk flags are particularly prone to condition issues. Yet, this one endured over the years in near-mint condition.

Political Posters Produce Bidding Battles

Another lot that nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate was a Van Buren & Johnson poster – the very first jugate political poster – which brought $56,250. A full-page feature in Running for President, 1789-1896, which was engraved and published by E. Durham in New York, this poster features the jugate portraits of the 1840 Democratic candidates. It includes the presidential hopeful Martin Van Buren and vice president candidate Richard Johnson. In addition, it features an eagle carrying a banner that reads “Liberty and Equality.” The photos of the candidates are positioned above their biographies. Furthermore, it bears illustrations of Johnson at the Battle of the Thames and the Battle of Horse Shoe Bend.

A favorite among collectors is a Lincoln & Hamlin 1860 campaign flag banner, which realized $31,250. It's in high demand among serious collectors of 19th-century political display items. The allure in this flag is due in part to the fact that Lincoln’s first name is spelled “Abram.”

A George Washington “Plain Roman GW” inaugural button, possibly the finest example known, closed at $21,250. A beautiful example of an elusive pattern, this button often appears at much lower grades. However, the absence of wear, in addition to the gloss and patina and the original shank make the condition of this example extremely rare. This button was acquired directly from Dewey Albert at the 1976 A.P.I.C. convention in Hartford, Connecticut. So pristine is the condition that Albert later added the notation “Best specimen known” by its image in his book on military and historical buttons.

Henry Clay Flag Banner Dominates

One of the largest varieties of political flags ever produced, a Henry Clay 50-inch 1844 campaign flag


William Jennings Bryan & Adlai Stevenson jugate poster designed for the 1900 Democratic ticket, 29 inches by 22 inches, $11,250.

banner inspired 17 bids before ultimately bringing in $21,250. Featuring an outstanding portrait of Clay. He was the lawyer and statesman. DUring his time of service, his area was Kentucky in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. The flag has an extraordinary display presence. This style is in particularly high demand among collectors because of the production of a Polk mate. It offers collectors the prospect of owning a matching pair. Heritage Auctions will be offering a much rarer Polk mate in its Aug. 18 Americana & Political auction.

A John Quincy Adams rare “pewter rim” plaque from the 1828 election, which drew $20,625, is an example of one of the most sought-after and valued political collectibles from the second quarter of the 19th century. Some, like this example, feature a mirror on verso, compared to other models that have a vice president or running mate. To collectors of this pewter rim series, this Adams variety is the ultimate prize.Furthermore, Adams campaign memorabilia is extremely rare, making this one of the key offerings in the entire Frent collection.

Other top lots include:

• Lincoln & Hamlin largest size of 1860 “doughnut” ferrotype, $20,000
• Lincoln & Hamlin large, colorful 1860 campaign jugate chart, $16,250.
• Cox & Roosevelt rare jugate 1920 campaign watch, $15,000.
Andrew Jackson: An Important Original Oil Portrait by Ralph E. W. Earl $11,875
• Bryan & Stevenson jugate poster designed for the 1900 Democratic ticket, $11,250.

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