Custer's Last Stand American Flag Could Be Worth Millions!

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by ToughOmbre, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Messages:
    4,182
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Retired from Verizon Communications - Now Working for Point Lobster Company, Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ
    Location:
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Lt. Col. George Custer and the men of his 7th Cavalry Regiment went into the Battle of the Little Bighorn with flags flying, but they were wiped out, and nearly all their military artifacts were carried away by the victorious Lakota Sioux warriors.

    A single swallowtail flag was found days later under the body of a fallen soldier.

    Since 1895, the silk American flag, called a guidon, has been the property of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has decided to sell it and use the proceeds to build its collection.

    The guidon, discovered by Sgt. Ferdinand Culbertson while on a burial detail of the battlefield, has been valued at $2 million to $5 million and will be auctioned in October, Sotheby's auction house announced on Friday, the 134th anniversary of the battle.

    The current auction record for a flag or any textile is $12.3 million, for an American flag captured by the British in a 1779 battle in Bedford, New York. It was sold by Sotheby's in 2006.

    The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand, claimed 210 soldiers, including Custer, as several thousand warriors led by Sitting Bull fought for their land near what's now Crow Agency, Montana.

    The Black Hills in southeastern Montana (present day South Dakota) were declared Indian land in the late 1860s. The conflict erupted when the government tried to drive the Indians off the land after white settlers discovered gold there.

    The battle's devastating loss came as a great shock to the nation as it prepared to celebrate its centennial.

    It was a pivotal moment in American history, told and retold in books, in film, on stage and in song as mystical portrayals of Custer's bravery. And while the view of Custer as a hero has changed over time, anything associated with the battle still resonates, Sotheby's said.

    "It's still one of those truly legendary events of 19th-century American history, and I suppose for a reason it was this extraordinary clash between the two cultures of America," said David Redden, Sotheby's vice chairman. "However you look at it, it's still an extraordinary and tragic encounter. Anything connected with that, particularly something that's as significant as a battle flag, also has that kind of iconic stature."

    The guidon measures 32 1/2 inches by 26 1/2 inches (82 1/2 centimeters by 67 1/2 centimeters). One star and a patch of the white and red stripes are missing, cut from it as souvenirs, a common 19th-century practice, Sotheby's said.

    "It means the flag was considered a sacred relic," Redden said. "Literally, it was absolutely par for the course to take small snippets of extraordinary objects, whether it's the dress of Martha Washington, which was snipped to pieces, or the Star-Spangled Banner."

    The 7th Cavalry had five guidons and one regiment flag. Three of the guidons have vanished, and the fourth, known as the Keogh guidon, is in very poor condition, eaten by moths, Redden said.

    The regiment flag was on a train en route to the battlefield when the 7th Cavalry was annihilated. That flag and the Keogh guidon are owned by the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Crow Agency.

    Company guidons at Little Bighorn were abbreviated versions of the American flag, said John Doerner, the monument's historian. Each had a V-shaped cutout at the end to reduce wind drag, and they "served as beacons on the battlefield because they actually marked company positions," he said.

    He called the guidon Culbertson found a "national treasure."

    "It's part of American history and heritage that's being sold," he said. "It would be nice to have that guidon returned to the Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument. It could be enjoyed by the public coming to this very hallow ground."

    Since the guidon doesn't fit the criteria for a work of art, Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham W.J. Beal said, "We hope to be able to exploit it for our real mission, which is to collect and interpret art."

    The guidon will go on view at Sotheby's in September.

    FOXNews.com - Custer's Last Stand American Flag

    TO
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,775
    Likes Received:
    687
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I do not think it should be sold into private hands. Something of this historical aspect should be in a museum.
     
  3. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Messages:
    3,669
    Likes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Vojvodina, Serbia
    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. I hope this piece of history ends up in good hands, preferably somewhere where people will be able to see it.

    Few notes though. If each company carried its own guidon to mark their position on the field of battle, then there should be more then five flags with the regiment. Eleven companies of the 7th fought at the Little Big Horn. They probably meant the troops of Custer battalion which numbered five companies.
    I'm intrigued with mention of Keogh guidon. Never heard of that. Could it be the blue/red flag with crossed swords in white. I was under impression this was Custer's personal flag marking the position of regimental command on the field...
     
  4. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Messages:
    4,182
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Retired from Verizon Communications - Now Working for Point Lobster Company, Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ
    Location:
    Jersey Shore, USA
    I agree 100%

    TO
     
  5. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Messages:
    41,800
    Likes Received:
    519
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Doctor
    Location:
    Portsmouth / Royal Deeside, UK
    Home Page:
    Agree 100%.
     
  6. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    14,953
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    model builder
    Location:
    Revis Island.
    Yes in Private hands it can't be appreciated
     
  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Messages:
    24,093
    Likes Received:
    657
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Korporate Kontrolleur
    Location:
    South Carolina
    A-Fricken-Men!
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
    Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    41,775
    Likes Received:
    687
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    A&P - Aircraft Technician
    Location:
    USA/Germany
    I sound like Indiana Jones...:lol:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,592
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Hurst, Texas
    Amen...to a certain extent. If an individual private collector were to buy it for more than what a museum could/would be willing to pay, and then make the guidon available to be viewed by the public (say...a spot in a museum somewhere?), that'd be cool. Museum holding it now would get more money to expand their collection/restore more artifacts, and the public could still see the guidon. If some private collector is going to display it in his house, where nobody else except a small, closed circle of friends/family, then I'd get pissed.

    Not that me getting pissed would accomplish much...but still...its the thought that counts.
     
  10. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,336
    Likes Received:
    77
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Aircraft Mechanic / Avionics
    Location:
    Plano Texas
    I agree. All important American historical artifacts should belong to the people to be viewed by each successive generation. Could you imagine if the original copy of the Declaration of Independence were held by a private collector?
     
  11. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    Messages:
    51,215
    Likes Received:
    849
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Adelaide Sth. Aust.
    Agree with all comments....should be in a Major Museum accessible to All.
     
  12. HealzDevo

    HealzDevo Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,345
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Self-Employed
    Location:
    Queensland
    Then again, wouldn't a replica be better for long-term display with the original actually brought out on special occasions. After all this is a standard that would have been roughly treated, and wouldn't be in good nick after so many years...
     
Loading...

Share This Page