The older of the two, made for the 127th Regiment in 1864, was knocked down for $160,000 at Morphy’s sale of weapons and militaria on June 13. The 127th was one of 11 African-American regiments from Pennsylvania that fought for the Union during the Civil War and was purchased by an institutional buyer bidding by phone.
It is believed to be the only survivor from the original 11 flags hand-painted by David Bustill Bowser, son of a fugitive slave. It features a black troop bidding farewell to Columbia, Goddess of Liberty. A motto above says: We will prove ourselves men.
“It was such an honour to have been chosen to bring this precious Civil War artefact to the auction marketplace,” Morphy said. “Its historical importance cannot be overstated.”
Omaha Beach flag
On June 9, Heritage Auctions in Dallas offered a Stars and Stripes catalogued as the first American flag planted on Omaha Beach in northern France on D-Day. A flurry of bidding helped the flag make a triple-estimate hammer price of $130,000.
“This is among the most significant and important flags in U.S. history,” Heritage Auctions arms and armour consignment director David Carde said. “Flags are, by definition, symbols of national and military pride. The invasion at Normandy is among the most famous conflicts in American military history, making this as important as any in the country’s history.”
It was planted by First Sergeant John E Horvath and was offered with a copy of a newspaper article in which his wife was pictured after she received the flag from her husband.
Buyer’s premium: Morphy’s – 23%, Heritage Auctions – 25%