By Brenda Daverin
Custer's last flag, known as the Culbertson Guidon, sold for a total of $2.2 million at auction, which is $1.9 million plus commission. It originally sold to the Detroit Museum for $54 in 1890. Inflation can be beneficial sometimes.
Many people look at Custer's flag from the Battle of the Little Big Horn and see bravery under impossible odds. Many others see it as a symbol of the embarrassing treatment of America's first peoples.
Custer's flag should remind everyone that the United States was built out of the blood of thousands, including people whose only sin was living here first. If the Culbertson Guidon can teach that, it will do more than the sale of it will.
By Matthew Brown
"It's more than just a museum object or textile. It's a piece of Americana," said John Doerner, Chief Historian at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in southeastern Montana.
For most of the last century the flag was hidden from public view, kept in storage first at the museum and later, after a period on display in Montana, in a National Park Service facility in Harpers Ferry, W.V., according to Beal, the museum director.
Dating to an era when the museum took in a variety of natural history and historical items, the guidon was sold because it did not fit with the museum's focus on art, Beal said.