Political Auction Doubles Pre-Sale Estimate at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS - The Merrill C. Berman Collection of Political Memorabilia, Part I, exceeded all expectations Feb. 28 at Heritage Auction as bidders pushed rare pinbacks, ferros and ribbons to $791,054. As in 1860, Abraham Lincoln once again beat the odds as an extraordinary grouping of Presidential Ferrotypes - including one of then-underdog Lincoln - sold for $58,750, nearly double its pre-auction estimate. The auction was 98% sold by lot and 99% sold by value.

"It was an astounding success - a breakthrough," said Tom Slater, Director of Historical Americana at Heritage. "The total for Part I of the Berman Collection was 50 percent above my most optimistic expectation and a great many pieces sold for prices outside their historical ranges."  

The losers of the 1924 presidential election, John W. Davis and his running mate Charles W. Bryan, won big nearly 90 years later as a rare 7/8-inch Jugate of the pair sold for $37,500 against an $8,000 estimate and a bidding war over the phone. A rare 2-1/4" Red, White and Blue Jugate featuring Warren G. Harding & Calvin Coolidge sold for $35,000, against a $12,000 estimate.

The Berman collection was long respected for its approach to rarity and condition and both qualities were on offer. A 1-1/4" Jugate for Charles Evans Hughes' and Charles W. Fairbanks' 1916 candidacy, featuring eye-popping colors, sold for an equally eye-popping $27,500 following interest from six bidders. An oval "Eddie's Friend" pinback for Harry Truman's 1948 campaign sold for $20,000 and an outstanding specimen of Calvin Coolidge's Iconic "Our Pilot...Keep Him at the Helm" 1 ¼-inch Button, one of the rarest campaign buttons known to exist, sold for $15,000.

In addition to the auction's top lot, several rare examples relating to Abraham Lincoln sparked a bidding war as a superb example of the large-size 1860 'Donut" Ferrotype featuring Lincoln and running mate Hannibal Hamlin on verso, sold for $16,250, and a Lincoln & Hamlin Brady Jugate Ribbon with Unique Wide Awake Overprinting ended at $15,000. Likewise, an unusual Variant of the Perpetual Calendar, with a Bearded Ferro Portrait of Lincoln also sold for $15,000 - fully five times its estimate. One of the top 1864 Ferrotype pins on collector's radar, featuring an image of Lincoln below the embossed words "Union and Liberty," sold for $14,375 to a bidder on HALive!

Among the early pieces of political memorabilia in the collection, a 1789-Dated "Memorable Era" Brass Inaugural Shank Button for George Washington sold for $15,000 following interest from 11 bidders and a rare and important ribbon opposed to the 1856 Republican abolitionist Presidential Candidate hammered for $13,750.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited by:

A Fantastic Miniature Cloth Campaign Flag for the Sought-After Greeley & Brown Ticket: Realized: $12,187.

A Rare Jugate Variety for the 1936 Landon & Knox Ticket: Realized: $10,937.

A Possibly Unique Portrait Brooch for US President James Monroe: Realized: $8,750.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 900,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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