Jeff Bridgman Antique Flags
Sold Flags


Available: Sold
Frame Size (H x L): 32.5" x 37.5"
Flag Size (H x L): 20.5" x 25"
Period kerchiefs that feature an image of Abraham Lincoln so few in number that you can count them on two hands. As of 2015, only seven examples are thought to exist in the collecting community, six of which are in private hands. Four of the seven are in a style that is thought to have been made for the 1864 election, with a large sepia image of the president, set within an oval medallion, on a patterned red & white ground with a patriotic border. This format is in all respects traditional; customary in design among bandanas made for the use of campaign advertising. The remaining three are, in stark contrast, very unusual. This is one of the three, all of which feature printings of cartes de visite photographs of the president and four of his generals.

The reproduction of actual photographs is extraordinarily unusual on early kerchiefs. The reason why is not known. Perhaps the process simply never caught on, but so far as I am aware, only one other style known is an example from the first quarter of the 20th century that illustrates the crew of the U.S.S. Chattanooga.* If rarity of the process is one reason that a collector should consider the acquisition of this textile, another reason is the atypical colors and design, which consist of sepia images, a matching geometric border, and deep indigo blue ground and perimeter.

Of much greater importance to any collector of presidential material are two of the remaining photos that flank Lincoln in the upper left and right-hand corners. One is General John Fremont, who became the first man to run for president on the Republican ticket in 1856 and lost to John Buchanan, just after the birth of the Republican Party (Lincoln was the party's second nominee, in 1860). The other is General George McClellan, who commanded the Army under Lincoln, then fell out of favor and was removed from his post. McClellan obtained the 1864 Democrat nomination and subsequently ran against Lincoln in 1864.

The two remaining men are General Franz Sigel, the former German military officer and Secretary of War, who garnered significant support among German immigrants, and General Henry Wagner Halleck, who led the Union Army for two years following the removal of McClellan and was eventually replaced by future president Ulysses S. Grant.

The images suggest that the kerchief was produced between 1861 and 1862, before McClellan was removed from command and before Sigel lost his reputation for success on the battlefield.

Construction: Printed on cotton.

Mounting: This is a pressure mount between 100% hemp fabric and U.V. protective acrylic. The mount was placed in a black-painted, hand-gilded and distressed Italian molding.

Condition: There is moderate to significant fading of the sepia ink or pigment. There is minor fabric breakdown with associated losses, accompanied by a significant tear and associated loss along the narrow blue area of the perimeter on the right-hand side. Fabric of similar coloration was placed behind this area for masking purposes. The great rarity of the textile warrants practically any condition.

* Documented in "The American Bandanna: Culture on Cloth from George Washington to Elvis" by Hillary Weiss (1990, Chronicle Books, San Francisco), p. 10. While the date of the kerchief is unknown, the U.S.S. Chattanooga escorted Woodrow Wilson back to America after signing the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and sailed with Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet in 1907. Probably the kerchief was issued to commemorate one of these two events.
Collector Level: Flags for the truest Patriots. My best offerings
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1861
Latest Date of Origin: 1862
War Association: 1861-1865 Civil War
Price: SOLD

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