Friday, June 29, 2007

Civil War Auction Fetches $6.5 Million

A Civil War auction in Gettysburg raised more than $6.5 million earlier this week.

“This was, without a doubt, the largest and most impressive Civil War auction ever held,” said Gary Hendershott, Director of Civil War auctions for Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries.

A collector paid over $1.6 million for a sword presented to Ulysses S. Grant (pictured above). The citizens of Kentucky presented Grant with the silver and gold, diamond-encrusted sword just after he was named General in Chief of the United States Army in 1864.

Another sword, this one presented to Confederate Major General William Mahone, fetched $388,375.

The other highlight of the auction seems to have been the personal battle flag of General George Armstrong Custer. Hand-sewn by his wife, the flag flew over Custer’s troops as Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. The winning bid nearly reached $900,000.

Of course, my favorite item was the Zouave uniform of W. Beriah Chandler, complete with the jacket with ornate chevrons, ballooned, chasseur-style pants, sash and leggings plus the very rare fez hat. Chandler, a member of the 146th New York Infantry, fought on Little Round top at Gettysburg. It fetched $125,475.

The next Civil War auction will take place on December 1 and 2, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ll try to pass along the information when it becomes available.

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