December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
This wonderful “Fry’s Travelling Companion” flask was among the Lincoln relics descending through the family of Mary Todd Lincoln to Mary Edwards Brown (1866-1958,) granddaughter of Mary Todd Lincoln’s sister and last custodian of the Lincoln home in Springfield, and was likely a present to Lincoln by Springfield distiller Parley L. Howlett. Many Lincoln artifacts preserved by Mary Edwards Brown ended up in the Meserve-Kunhardt collection and others were given or sold by Brown in support of the Friends of the Lincoln Shrines in Galena, Illinois. This comes with a 1958 notarized affidavit by Richard S. Hagen of the “Friends of the Lincoln Shrines” executed when the flask was sold to well-known Lincoln collector and dealer King Hostick detailing his purchase of the flask from Mary Edwards Brown about 1956, and includes her statement the flask had been given to Lincoln just prior to his departure for Washington in 1861. A pen holder/desk set belonging to Lincoln with the exact same provenance and a letter from Hagen to Hostick sold at Christies 4 December 2017, lot 68, for $15,000. The flask acquires unexpected support from the entirely accidental discovery in July 1966 of an identical Fry flask among the relics sealed in the time capsule placed in the cornerstone of the new Illinois State House in 1868, with an inscription identifying the likely presenter of our flask. The find is described and pictured in the Illinois Blue Book 1967-1968. That flask was also engraved on the cup, but reads: “This Whiskey / was made for Abraham Lincoln, / Sept. 20th 1860 and presented to him as an Emblem / of his Administration, it is Pure, & will grow / Better, as it grows older. / P.L. Howlett.” As described by Lincoln historian Wayne C. Temple, the date may refer to the date of distillation, with the actual gift of the whiskey made after it had aged somewhat, tying in with the 1861 date on our example and Mary Edwards Brown’s recollection that this flask was presented to Lincoln before leaving for Washington. Howlett (1818-1891) was a distiller and lived in Springfield from 1858 to 1862, before moving to Jamestown, now Riverton, which was briefly named Howlett in his honor. Admirers have sometimes added abstinence to Lincoln’s many virtues, and the flask comes with its original pasteboard box, indicating Lincoln was not in the habit of carrying it, but he cheerfully admitted to having worked part of one winter in a “still-house,” identified by Temple as that of Isaac Burner of New Salem, and allowed the sale of whiskey by Isaac and Daniel Burner in his New Salem store, “Berry and Lincoln,” though Daniel Burner testified he only saw Lincoln “take anything,” “once in a while.” PROVENANCE: Mary Edwards Brown – Richard Hagen, Friends of the Lincoln Shrines ca. 1956 – Lincoln dealer King Hostick, Chicago 1958 – the present owner. CONDITION: Excellent. The bottom of the pasteboard box is detached. The bottom of the cup has a small inventory number, either that of Hostick or the Friends of the Lincoln Shrines.

Item Dimensions: 6" x 3 - 1/4" x 2"
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $4,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $7,560.00
Estimate: $8,000 - $15,000
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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