A pair of official White House flags that hung in the Oval Office during President Dwight D Eisenhower’s administration will sell at Nate D Sanders on April 26.
The lot is offered with an opening bid of $250,000. It’s one of four sets issued to Eisenhower during his eight year term. That’s unusual, as most presidents are only issued 1-2 sets during their tenure.
This was Eisenhower’s second set, issued on January 20, 1957 and taken down on July 4, 1959. It displays 48 stars. In January 1959 Alaska became the 49th state of the Union and so this flag was replaced. Hawaii followed in August, necessitating the third change.
This is one of only three sets of Oval Office flags in private hands. A pair of flags taken down following John F Kennedy’s assassination sold for $425,000 in 2013.
Eisenhower was supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the second world war and played a huge role in bringing the conflict to a close. He was elected in a landslide in 1953 and is regarded as one of America’s better presidents. That iconic status could push the result beyond the estimate.
A rocking chair John F Kennedy used to soothe his chronic back pain during the White House years is offered with an opening bid of $72,000.
Kennedy first injured his back playing football at Harvard in 1937. Over the years that initial injury was compounded, with several experimental surgeries serving only to increase his pain. He found that rocking chairs provided some relief and owned several, which he strategically placed around his various residences.
This one was made circa 1961. It’s accompanied by a card nailed to the underside identifying it as the work of Larry Arata, who Jacqueline Kennedy appointed as official upholsterer to the White House that same year. It appears to have stood in the Kennedys’ Hyannis Port estate on Cape Cod. Jacqueline gifted it to New York City mayor Ed Koch in 1983.
Other Kennedy rockers have sold at auction in the past, with two achieving $442,500 and $453,500 apiece in the 1996 sale of Jacqueline Kennedy’s estate.
Elsewhere in the sale a collection of nine pairs of presidential eyeglasses is estimated to exceed $25,000. Truman, Reagan, Nixon and Clinton are among the names featured. Eye specialist and founder of San Francisco’s Museum of Ophthalmology and Historical Library Dr Spencer Sherman is the man behind the collection.