Boston Tea Party cartoon sells for $37,500

The rare cartoon of the Boston Tea Party printed by engraver and soon-to-be convicted counterfeiter Henry Dawkins sold at auction on Saturday for $37,500. One of only seven known copies, “Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression” was published in the immediate wake of the act of rebellion which saw members of the secret organization Sons of Liberty dump more than 92,000 pounds of East India Company tea into Boston Harbor on the night of December 16th, 1773. The exact publication date is not known, but it was after December 27th, 1773, and before April of 1774.

The condition of this copy is excellent. The last one to come up for auction was not. It had stains, tears, had been mounted to a board and the title was missing. Even so, it still sold for $27,000 because of the rarity and historical significance of the piece. It’s no surprise that such a clean, intact print sold for $10,000 more than that.

Whoever won the auction has chosen to remain anonymous at this time. All we know is that it was a phone bidder. I would suspect a dealer because the Heritage Auctions listing says that the new owner is already “proactively entertaining offers.”

Bidding opened at $18,000. Two minutes later it was all over. HA captured the fast-paced excitement on video so you can watch it all go down.

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