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President Grant's elephant inkwell sells for $26,050

inkwell
Ulysses S. Grant's elephant-form inkwell sold for $26,050 at the Sotheby's auction in New York. The pre-sale estimate ranged from $25,000 to $35,000.  

(CNN) -- An elephant-shaped inkwell that may have been the inspiration for the Republican Party symbol sold for $26,050 Thursday in a Sotheby's auction.

The inkwell, which U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant kept on his desk at the White House, was among several Grant possessions that were auctioned off as part of what Sotheby's called "Important Americana."

The elephant image first surfaced as a GOP symbol in a cartoon published in Harper's Weekly in November 1874. The artist was Thomas Nast, an influential cartoonist whom Grant, president from 1869 to 1877, frequently entertained in the White House.

The black-painted brass and glass inkwell, which was sold to Seth Kaller of Kaller's America Gallery in New York, had remained in the Grant family for the last 115 years.

Other items auctioned off included a Victorian oak humidor, which sold for $16,800, and a pen that Grant used to write his memoirs, which sold to Kaller's for $10,000. A cast-iron safe expected to sell for up to $2,500 sold for $13,200.

A silver-plated Tiffany whiskey flask went unsold, and the Grant family withdrew some books from the sale, including a biography of Grant that contained notes by his wife, Elizabeth, a Sotheby's spokeswoman said.



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