Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Memorial to George

     I have a thing for mourning ribbons.

These memorials to fallen figures are often graphic, sentimental...and a little heartbreaking. They're particularly sad when they honor presidents assassinated.

(Not to mention valuable: a Lincoln mourning ribbon usually sells in the $500 range.)

My research suggests that every single deceased president has had a ribbon done in their honor -- with the exception of Jerry Ford, who had to make do with a pinback button, instead. (Reagan's memorial had both a ribbon and a pinback.) My own collection has a small crazy quilt with a Grant ribbon -- which boosts its value considerably. (You can see it in my book Crazy Quilts, if you're curious.)

So what appears currently on Ebay, but something I've never seen, in more than 35 years of study:

A George Washington mourning ribbon. 


Here are the specifics from the Ebay listing:

c. 1800, George Washington Memorial Silk “Mourning” Ribbon, Possibly Unique, Very Fine.

This remarkable George Washington Memorial Silk Ribbon is circa 1800, measures 8.5” x 2”, in a horizontal design style. It has Black Print on White Silk. The design includes a vignette which depicts a group of mourners along the right side of an Obelisk Monument with a silhouetted profile Portrait of George Washington at its center. There is a surround of militaria and an American Eagle displayed below. Inscribed below the portrait is: “G. W. - Born Feb: 11: 1732 - Ob: Dec: 14, 1799”. There is some fraying and light soiling on the longer far right end (as shown). We cannot recall ever seeing any other George Washington Memorial Silk Ribbon of the period. Possibly Unique. Exceedingly rare and important.

Item Number: 104736    (Early American Auctions)

Buy it now for $12,000 bucks. Sure, that's a lot for a 8 1/2" x 2" strip of silk...but the appraiser says he's never seen one before, which says a lot. (I sure haven't, either.) 

George's cotton memorial hankie is much more common -- even that's going for $5000. 

(This pictures his imagined deathbed scene, by the way.)

This 1806 handkerchief, which features Washington's farewell address to the nation, went for $550 at auction February 2016 -- a real bargain.  I've seen this handkerchief offered several times over the years, but its value has been gradually climbing.

Washington collectibles have been holding their value in recent auctions; only Lincoln collectibles have been doing better.

What -- your pocketbook's empty lately? An antique portrait will only set you back four bucks.

No comments: