LONDON — Four rare battle flags captured during the American War of Independence by a British officer have been returned after more than two centuries to be auctioned.
The regimental colors seized in 1779 and 1780 by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, who remains one of the conflict’s most controversial figures, have already aroused huge interest among American military historians. They are expected to fetch between $4 million and $10 million at Sotheby’s in New York next year.
Until recently the flags had hung in the Hampshire, England, home of Capt. Christopher Tarleton Fagan, the great-great-great-great nephew of Col. Tarleton.
Capt. Fagan, a former Grenadier Guards officer, said: “I am very sad to sell them. They are an important part of our family history and we have had them for 225 years. However, there comes a time when their value is such that one can no longer afford to insure them.”
Only about 30 American revolutionary battle flags have survived, all of which, apart from the ones to be sold at Sotheby’s, are in museums and in most instances only fragments remain.