Appraisal Video: (3:31)
C. Wesley Cowan
Arms & Militaria, Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Photographs
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
APPRAISER: It's not very often that I get to interview a real celebrity. Everybody knows who you are, Alan Page, former football great, Supreme Court justice now, right, in Minnesota?
APPRAISER: And you bring in this fabulous piece. Tell me about it.
GUEST: Well, about 15 years ago, my wife and I were in the Chicago area visiting our daughter, and we wanted to look at memorabilia. So she goes into the phone book and finds an ad or something, I can't remember precisely, for an antique dealer. And we called them, they invited us over, and they had this piece. I actually teared up when I saw it, because it's such a... an emotional piece, at least for me. We left without it. My wife, unbeknownst to me, called back after we had left. I was sort of depressed that we left without it. And the following Christmas, this was my Christmas gift.
APPRAISER: This is a... a parade banner that was used after Lincoln was assassinated.
APPRAISER: "Uncle Abe, we will not forget you." From the smallest town to the biggest city, there were demonstrations, parades, of mourning. What I find interesting is the parade torch at the top.
APPRAISER: That this could have been used in a nighttime march. And to see this with this great shaft... and, I mean, I love the shaft. The patina, the color... The feel of it is... It's got great feeling to it.
APPRAISER: To see this in this condition is really amazing. Let's take a look at the backside of it, because I think that that also is interesting. This was a sentiment, of course, that was being expressed. Our country, it's time to heal.
GUEST: And when I saw that... you know, we haven't quite healed yet. And when I say I got emotional, it was because this is the hope. We still have that hope.
APPRAISER: And really, after the assassination, just as draconian laws during the Jim Crow era that really didn't get wiped away until the 1960s, until the Civil Rights era...
APPRAISER: And we're still struggling.
GUEST: We're still struggling.
APPRAISER: Now, in terms of political collectibles, the people who collect political items really like to have things that relate directly to the candidate being elected. If this was, "Let's elect Abe," it would be in a whole different ballpark. The Lincoln mourning items are a little bit... a step down in terms of value than the campaign items. This, on the other hand, is such a special thing, with the original shaft, the torch, and the two-sided sign, that that really elevates the status of this piece. If I were to put this in an auction of historical collectibles, I would think that this would be valued at somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness. Well, it's not going to be put in the auction, but it's a pretty special piece, and we just love it.