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    1880's Jake Kilrain vs. Jem Smith "Woolie." The rather charming folk art feel of this exceptionally rare vintage "woolie," or image woven from wool, belies the agonizing brutality of this historic December 19, 1887 bout on L'Isle des Souverains, France, a small island in the River Seine. In a cold, drizzling rain, Kilrain and Smith scrapped with bare knuckles through an ungodly 106 rounds in a bout that lasted nearly three hours. No more than seventy-nine spectators, each of whom had paid the princely sum of $200 for his ticket, were in attendance, including the Marquis of Queensberry who was among the overwhelming British crowd favoring Smith. In the 106th round, Kilrain was able to knock Smith off his feet, seemingly for good, but before the referee could declare victory for the American, the crowd forced him to declare the fight a draw due to darkness. This did not dissuade The Police Gazette from recognizing Kilrain as the victor, and crowning him Heavyweight Champion of the World. This incredible woven image, picturing the battling giants in fighting poses before their respective national flags, remains in spectacular condition and demonstrates a genuine mastery of this lost art. The detail is simply amazing, and must be seen to be truly appreciated. Worth a tremendous sum purely as a piece of flawless 19th century folk art, the spectacular subject matter renders this piece practically priceless.

    ‡ The owner placed a late bid on this unreserved lot and repurchased it, subject to applicable commission.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2005
    29th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,193

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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