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Lot # 1165 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extremely Rare 1930s "Scottsboro Boys" Pinback

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $2,400

Presented is what we consider to be the most highly-prized rarity of all cause-related pinbacks: Exceedingly rare pinback picturing the "Scottsboro Boys": nine young African-American men who were falsely accused in 1931 of raping two white women in Alabama. The pin (1.25 inches in diameter) features a photo of all nine boys, with the text reading "The Nine Negro Boys/of Scottsboro/Shall Not Die!/Negro and White Workers Unite!/Scottsboro/United Fight Defense." Although the NAACP initially came to the aid of the boys, the defendants ultimately allowed their defense to be handled by the International Labor Defense (ILD), which was the legal arm of the Communist Party. It was the ILD that issued this pin to help defray the legal expenses.

The plight of the "Scottsboro Boys," so named because they were tried in Scottsboro, Alabama, received national attention at the time and brought to light the severe discrimination that existed in the deep South. Despite contradictory evidence from witnesses and little-to-no physical evidence, eight of the boys were arrested, charged, indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in a span of just sixteen days. With the help of both the NAACP and the IDL, the entire judicial process was brought under intense scrutiny and helped foster a national awareness of the extreme prejudice African Americans were subjected to at the time. Through a series of retrials and appeals, none of the boys were ever executed, but five did serve time in prison. Although justice was ultimately not served in the case of the "Scottsboro Boys," the outrage over the incident in other parts of the country helped foster the civil rights movement, which eventually led to greater equality for all minorities (a process which is still on going).

This is the only pin issued that actually features images of the nine defendants and it is universally recognized as one of the most historic and great rarities in the field of political-pin collecting. We estimate that perhaps fewer than twenty examples of this pin are known to have have survived. This is not only the first "Scottsboro Boys" pin we have ever had the privilege of offering, it is an extraordinary high-grade example as well. It would be hard to imaging a finer example. With the exception of normal light oxidation along the reverse, the pin remains in spectacular Near Mint to Mint condition. Due to its extreme rarity, few auction results are available. For reference: This pin was purchased by our consignor at auction in 2007 for $3,493. Another high-grade example recently appeared at auction at Hake's Americana in July 2015, and realized $3,826.

  Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,400

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