Louisiana Political Poster, ca. 1937

Value (2013) | $3,000 Auction$4,000 Auction
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GUEST:
Came out of St. Martinville, Louisiana, out of an old pharmacy. It was in the attic for a long time and when they cleaned it out, they threw it to the trash. My uncle was driving by, saw the trash and saw there was a couple of antiques and when he dug through it, he found this.

APPRAISER:
So, just lying by the side of the road in a pile of garbage?

GUEST:
Yes, sir.

APPRAISER:
Right on. What else did he pull out?

GUEST:
There was actually four more with it, and I think he just sold them over the years. This was probably 15 years ago. This is the only one that we kept.

APPRAISER:
When I woke up this morning, I didn't know that this poster existed. I had never seen it before.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
And now I've seen several copies today and nothing to me speaks Louisiana the way this does-- Louisiana political history, Louisiana architectural history. We see down here it was printed in New Orleans, down on Poydras Street. It's from around 1937. O.K. Allen didn't become senator until 1937. We know that Governor Leche had to resign in 1939. He was smitten by scandal. So it's somewhere between 1937 and 1939. Now, Huey P. Long was one of the most colorful figures in Louisiana history. A national character. By some accounts he was a hero, by other accounts he was a villain. He was a populist, he was a demagogue. Some people loved him, some people hated him. He had a huge political machine, and he was assassinated as U.S. senator in 1935. The poster says, "Carry on the work of Huey P. Long and O.K. Allen." After Long died. So I think this was an attempt by the still-existing Huey Long supporters to somehow promote and encourage his already laid out campaigns, his "Every man a king" or his "Share our wealth." You know, a lot of people thought he was a communist.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Now, Lucille May Grace, she was the first woman ever elected to statewide office in Louisiana.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
One of the things I love about this poster, the building in the center. That's the Baton Rouge state capitol right down the road from here. Huey Long helped build it.

GUEST:
And he was assassinated there, too, huh?

APPRAISER:
That is correct. I did a little research and I found that a copy of this poster came up for auction in New Orleans about three years ago, in 2010, and at that auction, it sold for $1,200.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
But my opinion is, and I showed it to some of my colleagues-- also Yankees-- who were also very excited by it, and we feel that now, in 2013, at auction, this piece would fetch between $3,000 and $4,000.

GUEST:
Really? Awesome. And I think I heard that if he wouldn't have died, he'd have probably ran for president.

APPRAISER:
He was going to run for president. He really is one of the most colorful figures of this century, certainly maybe one of Louisiana's favorite sons. That celebrity, that incredible popularity, notoriety, that's what makes this piece so interesting and makes it so valuable.

GUEST:
Awesome.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Swann Auction Galleries
New York, NY
Appraised value (2013)
$3,000 Auction$4,000 Auction
Event
Baton Rouge, LA (July 27, 2013)
Period
1930s
Form
Poster
Material
Paper
February 24, 2014: Appraiser Nicholas Lowry misspoke when he said "O.K. Allen didn't become senator until 1937." What appraiser Nicho Lowry meant to say was that Allen J. Ellender, not O.K. Allen, became U.S. senator in 1937. Governor O.K. Allen had won the primary to be the democratic nominee for Huey Long's former Senate seat, but died in January 1936, before the general election.

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