Civil War flag tops Heritage auction bidding

A Civil War flag with significant historical cachet realized $50,787 in spirited bidding to lead Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 12 Signature Arms & Militaria including Civil War Auction. All prices include 19.5 percent buyer’s premium. This singular Civil War Regulation All Silk 25th Corps Flag of Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel was consigned by his direct lineal descendants," said Dennis Lowe, director of Arms, Militaria and Civil War at Heritage Auctions. "Weitzel was the first Union general grade officer to enter the city of Richmond upon its fall, doubtless under this very flag. He was originally given command of the all black 25th Army Corps on Dec. 3, 1864, maintaining the command off and on through May 1865." The 25th Army Corps was created on Dec. 3, 1864, from the 10th and 18th Corps, which were disbanded. All white troops were placed in the newly formed 24th Corps, and all black troops on the 25th, under the command of Weitzel, who had previously commanded the 18th Corps. Units of the 25th Corps participated in the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Fort Fischer and the Appomattox Campaign. Weitzel stated, in 1866, upon the disbanding of the Corps, that the conduct of the 25th Corps "has been such to draw praise from persons most prejudiced against color, and there is no record which should give the colored race more pride than that left by the 25th."

A 1847 American Mexican War presentation sword, custom crafted by the Ames Sword Manufacturing as a gift in honor of service to Major Alexander B. Bradford for his service in the 1st Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, was the second-highest lot of the auction with a final price of $41,825.

A Very Fine Rigdon & Ansley Civil War Confederate .36 Caliber Percussion Revolver brought $26,290, while another wonderful Confederate flag in a superb — a very rare Second National Pattern Civil War Confederate Flag — with a fascinating contemporary history and accompanied by detailed analysis and authentication documents from noted flag authority Fonda S. Thomsen, realized $21,510. A superb trove of John Dillinger related material, consigned by the famous bank robber’s younger sister Frances Helen, now 87, received national attention in the days leading up to the auction, and with good reason. The single most iconic item associated with Dillinger, the Legendary "Wooden Gun" he carved and used to escape from the Crown Point, IN Jail on March 3, 1934, was also the leading lot in the grouping as it rose to $19,120, nearly doubling the initial estimate. In reality there are three ‘wooden guns’, including this example, that can lay claim, all with some degree of credibility, to being the one Dillinger used is his remarkable escape," said Lowe. "This example was part of the personal effects of Dillinger’s younger brother Hubert, and had been in the possession of Frances Helen’s family since Hubert’s death in 1974.

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