News-Antique.com - Jun 27,2007 - DALLAS, TEXAS: "What an exciting time to be a Civil War collector!" enthused Gary Hendershott, Director of Civil War auctions for Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries.
"This was, without a doubt, the largest and most impressive Civil War auction ever held," Hendershott said. "This auction, held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of one of the most significant battles of the Civil War, realized $6,494,130 for 744 lots offered, although after-auction sales are still ongoing, and will almost certainly push that final total to even higher levels."
"We held this auction in conjunction with the Gettysburg Civil War Show, an important gathering of historians and enthusiasts from all over the world," Hendershott said. "The venue was marvelous, the participation was outstanding, and the atmosphere in the room was electric, all combining to create an unforgettable auction experience."
Hendershott continued, "The highlight of the auction was the sword presented to Ulysses S. Grant, leader of the Union forces during the Civil War and later our eighteenth President, by the grateful citizens of Kentucky upon his assumption of the office of General in Chief of the United States Army in 1864. This silver and gold, diamond-encrusted sword hailed from the Tharpe Collection of American Military History and sold for an impressive $1,673,000, a fitting tribute to one of America's greatest heroes."
"Several other swords took significant honors in this auction," Hendershott said. "The presentation sword of Major General William Mahone, likely the last truly Confederate-made blade, brought $388,375, while a Confederate officer's cavalry saber, made by Boyle & Gamble of Richmond, Virginia, realized $77,675."
"Of course, the single item that probably got the most attention was the personal battle flag of General George Armstrong Custer," Hendershott said. "Hand-sewn for him by his wife, Elizabeth, this is the flag that proudly flew over Custer's troops as Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865. One of the most important flags in American military history, this proud banner brought an impressive $896,250."
"Other important flags saw heavy bidding activity as well," Hendershott said, "including the Confederate 'Liberty or Death' flag which brought $107,550, notable for its capture by Custer's cavalry from General JEB Stuart's cavalry during the retreat following the battle at Gettysburg, and the 'Bonnie Blue' flag of Texas, renowned in song and story, that realized $47,800."
"One of the most intriguing items in this auction was the Zouave uniform of W. Beriah Chandler," said Hendershott. "The Zouave uniforms were unusually colorful and attractive, and this particular example, complete with jacket, pants, sash, leggings and the distinctive fez-style cap, was in excellent condition. Chandler was a Principal Musician, who would lead a band into battle playing patriotic tunes to inspire the troops, and even picking up weapons when the fighting came close enough. This rare and exquisite uniform brought $125,475."
"I'm very much looking forward to our next auction of Civil War memorabilia, to be held on December 1 & 2, 2007, in Nashville, Tennessee," Hendershott said. "I'd invite everyone interested to