A Rare Banner From The Civil War

Posted: March 03, 2001

The Alderfer Auction Company will offer a regimental banner from the Civil War era next week at a sale of fine art and decorative accessories. The two-day sale at the auction center in Hatfield is one of several over the next few days offering distinctive Americana.

The banner was to have been presented by the citizenry of Philadelphia to the 3d Pennsylvania Cavalry in recognition of its military service, which by the war's end included 40 major engagements and the loss of 170 men. But a few days before the scheduled presentation in December 1863, a prominent member of the unit, Capt. Walter S. Newhall, drowned in a stream in Virginia while heading home to Germantown on a furlough.

The upper presentation on the flag was changed to reflect Newhall's death, and the flag accompanied the regiment in camp and on the battlefield until the unit was disbanded in July 1865. The flag was then given to Newhall's mother and has remained in the family since.

The flag will be offered at the second session of the Alderfer sale, beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday. Such flags rarely appear at sales, according to Alderfer officials. "Our estimate is $10,000 to $15,000," Alderfer associate Brent Souder said yesterday. "It's a pretty important flag," he said.

The banner is part of a variety of Civil War memorabilia to be sold Thursday. That session also will feature porcelains, mechanical banks and African American memorabilia; artwork, including works by Frank Briscoe, Walter Baum, Ranulph Bye and Howard Watson; arts and crafts items including Fulper and Rookwood pieces; and furniture, including early Pennsylvania and New England pieces.

The first session, beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday, will feature 300 lots of jewelry and sterling, including service ware by Georg Jensen and an important S. Kirk & Son sterling punch bowl. The punch bowl, 21 inches across and weighing 145 ounces, comes with a matching covered entree dish and two vegetable dishes in thistle and rose pattern.

Inspection is 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. to sale time Thursday at the auction center, 501 Fairgrounds Rd. For information, call 215-393-3000.

Modernism in Lambertville. Modern furniture, arts and crafts, much of it by American artists, will be featured at a two-day sale this weekend being conducted by David Rago, now in partnership with John Sollo, at the Rago gallery in Lambertville, N.J.

Among the 450 lots that will be offered at the first session, beginning at noon today, are several works by the late George Nakashima, including a characteristically free-form conoid dining room table and four conoid chairs. The table is expected to sell for $12,000 to $16,000; the chairs, for $12,000 to $14,000. Also in today's session is a signed Wharton Esherick walnut corner cabinet that should fetch the auction's top price, $40,000 to $45,000.

The 450 lots that will be offered at tomorrow's session, also beginning at noon, are considerably more affordable, with most items expected to sell for three-figure prices.

Inspection is 9 a.m. to sale time today and tomorrow at the Rago gallery, 333 N. Main St., Lambertville. For information call 609-397-9374.

American wheels. Two sales in South Jersey will focus on transportation with an American flair.

At 1:30 p.m. tomorrow on Route 77 in Monroeville, the Elmer Auction Company will offer antique and muscle cars, among them a 1970-71 El Camino, a 1970 GMC Sprint, a 1970 Chevelle LS6 454 and a 1911 Ford Model T. Inspection is 10 a.m. to sale time tomorrow. For information call 856-358-8433.

And at 8 a.m. Monday in Malaga, Bob Brooks Auction Sales will offer a variety of antiques and collectibles. The highlight there is a Victor Overman Wheel Co. high-wheel bicycle made in Boston in 1885.

Inspection is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the auction house on Route 47, one mile north of Route 40. Information, 856-694-2960.

David Iams' e-mail address is daiams@aol.com.

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