A Student of History

June 16, 2006

A lot of money for some flags…

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 2:25 am

In an article at CNN, one can read that 4 American battle flags captured by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarelton during the American revolution have been sold for over $17,000,000.  All four flags can bee seen at the CNN site, and are in very good condition.

The final sales price for the four flags was well over Sotheby's pre-sale estimate of $4 million to $10 million. The buyer, who bid by telephone, asked not to be identified, Sotheby's spokeswoman Lauren Gioia said.  Only about 30 Revolutionary War flags are known to exist, and all except the four sold at auction are in museums or other institutional collections, Sotheby's said. Most are in fragments, with only bits of historic information available about them.  [One flag, of the] Connecticut Dragoons flag, with an estimated presale value of $1.5 to $3.5 million, was sold for $12.36 million. The group of three Buford flags, known as the Waxhaws Colors, went for $5.056 million, after a presale estimate of $2.5 to $6.5 million.

One would hope that they will at some point be available to be seen by the public, particularly as they were at the Tarleton ancestral home since the 1780s and not on view.  The owner, a direct descendant of Tarleton, decided to sell when the flags became to expensive to insure.

The Battle at the Waxhaws, which by the way is in SC and not NC as some accounts implies, is often considered to be somehow controversial.  However, recent research, including some done by yours truly, has shown that one of the soldiers on the Patriot side apparently took a shot at Tarleton after the troops had already surrendered, and the "Green Dragoon" was riding forward toward their lines.  This may have precipitated the retaliation among his men and thus the high casualty rates among the defeated Continentals.

For modern pictures of the battlefield, go here.

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