Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Washington was the first African American to be invited to the White House by a President.

The commemorative piece is from a collection comprising more than 75 lots. It comes to sale from the estate of Malcolm Forbes who accrued an extensive assortment of campaign buttons alongside a wider Americana collection.

The Equality button was not produced alongside a political campaign but is a popular piece among collectors.

Washington (1856-1915) was an American author and orator who was born into slavery but became a civil rights leader in the face of discrimination and disenfranchisement by southern American states. Roosevelt invited Washington to dine with him and his family in 1901.

There are other examples of this button in black and white or sepia but this example is the only one known in colour and it is estimated at $5000.

Political Memorabilia 

The Forbes collection goes under the hammer in Heritage’s Dallas showroom on December 3. Memorabilia representing presidents from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt will appear during the sale.

“In the pantheon of skilled collectors, few stand out like Mr Malcolm S Forbes,” a representative of Heritage said.

Another highlight in the Americana & Political auction is a 1920 Cox-Roosevelt pinback jugate. The button depicts James Cox and his running mate, a young Franklin Roosevelt and is thought to be the rarest of the jugate buttons, estimated at $20,000.

“Mr Forbes wanted to collect campaign items of a quality commensurate with other pieces in his collection,” said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions, “So one of his first acquisitions was an example of the key 1920 Cox-Roosevelt pinback jugate.”