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    Description

    1880's John L. Sullivan Presentational Walking Stick, Silk Flag & Cabinet Photograph. Extraordinary trio of early boxing relics recalls the greatest name of the bare-knuckle era, a man whose official tally of thirty-eight professional victories was dwarfed by the number bested by the Boston Strong Boy in traveling promotions during which he would face all comers. Best in this collection is a gorgeous gold topped walking stick presented to the reigning Heavyweight Champion by a local Boston secret society. The elegant engraving on the head reads, "J.L. Sullivan By His Irish Friends of the Pueblos, 1883." Intricate designs adorn the sides of the gold head. Full length of the cane is thirty-eight inches.

    The finest example we've yet encountered of the rare and highly collectible Sullivan silk American flag is the second piece in the collection. These flags have occasionally surfaced within the hobby, and are typically associated with the famous 1888 bout between Sullivan and Charlie Mitchell at Chantilly, France which ended in a draw after thirty-nine brutal rounds. Theories vary as to whether they were available for public purchase, or were made solely for Sullivan to present as gifts. The flag measures thirty-six inches square and exhibits a stunning absence of wear, with a few light stains only apparent upon the closest of inspection. The various symbols associated with Sullivan's pugilistic career are artfully applied to the silk body of the thirty-nine star American flag, including an eagle soaring above a scroll reading "May he Always be Champion" and his "JLS" initials at bottom right.

    The collection concludes with a 4.25x6.5" cabinet photograph of Sullivan in Victorian garb. Pencil writing on front and verso is not in Sullivan's hand. Edge and corner wear, but the cabinet presents very well. The collection was passed down through the family of Michael Clarke, a Dorchester, MA resident who invested with Sullivan and other local fighters in the 1910's and 1920's. A notarized letter from a close relation of Clarke's descendants, who received the cane and flag from them directly, is included. Notarized letter of provenance.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    25th-27th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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