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Suspect Lincoln

Off-Color Offering Across the Pond

April 13, 2023

Sheppard’s Auction House in Durrow, Ireland held a sale on March 1st. It included an item labeled “American Historical Interest. The Republican Banner.” It appeared to be a hand-colored, small folio Currier & Ives print for Lincoln & Hamlin, titled “The Republican Banner for 1860.” The odd thing about this piece, outside of the location of the venue, was the color scheme. The curtains were yellow & orange, rather than yellow & red. The hair, clothing of the candidates and the eagle’s wings were colored brown. None of the accepted examples make use of orange & brown. The people at Sheppard’s were very responsive in providing additional photos and shipping information. In the end, they concluded it was not an original print from 1860, but a decorative item. We still do not know the method of printing, or whether it was “screened”. Since a trip to the Emerald Isle was out of the question, we erred on the side of caution and did not submit a bid. It sold for $192. We recall an auction in Ireland many years ago that included beautiful and very convincing painted banners for Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland which, we were told at the time, were modern props for a theatrical production. You might label this “Tales of the Unexpected”.