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4104   Dwight D. Eisenhower Hand Casts  $500 $5048 $5553 20 You must login to place a bid.
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#4104 - Dwight D. Eisenhower Hand Casts Estimate: $10,000+

The hands of Dwight D. Eisenhower, cast by Dr. Adrian E. Flatt in 1963

Only three of these casts exist in the entire world, and only one set is available to the public market and to private collectors. Exceptionally rare cast of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's hands, created in 1963 by Dr. Adrian E. Flatt and presented to Ike's longtime aide Robert L. Schulz. These exist as one of three extant casts of Eisenhower's hands created from the original molds. The others are institutionally housed: one is exhibited as part of the 'Adrian E. Flatt, M.D., Hand Collection' at Baylor University Medical Center, and the other is believed to belong to the Eisenhower Foundation/Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library. The molds were destroyed following the production of the three casts. The life-sized, bronze-finish, hollow hands are displayed upon a 12″ x 12″ Lucite base, with a small typed nameplate: "Dwight D. Eisenhower, President U.S. 1952-1960." Eisenhower's right hand is mounted vertically, ready to extend a handshake, while his left hand is displayed horizontally, as if resting on a desk. In fine condition.

The molds of Eisenhower's hands were taken by Dr. Adrian E. Flatt, a renowned hand surgeon, on a railway car in 1963, during a visit by the Eisenhowers to Mamie's home in Boone, Iowa. Dr. Flatt describes his process in his article 'On Casting Hands,' published in the Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, Vol. 9, No. 3: 'Casting is simple and takes about 15 minutes of a subject's time. A negative cast is made from alginate, a seaweed product that mixes with water and sets in about 3 or 4 minutes…The alginate sets to a rubbery consistency, and the hand can easily be withdrawn without spoiling the impression. A positive cast can be made from plaster of paris or dental stone; I use methyl methacrylate to make a hollow cast that does not weigh very much…The casts of the hands of 7 US presidents are of different sizes. President Eisenhower's hands show, as he had said, evidence of playing football at West Point.'

After creating the positive casts, Dr. Flatt shipped them to an artist in Delaware to receive their distinctive bronzed finish. In addition to Eisenhower and six fellow presidents, Dr. Flatt's subjects included Walt Disney, Neil Armstrong, Wilt Chamberlain, Joe DiMaggio, Chuck Yeager, Louis Armstrong, Jonas Salk, Katharine Hepburn, and dozens of other figures of prominence. It seems that the collection of hands traveled with Dr. Flatt throughout his career, which brought him from the University of Iowa (1956-1979) to Yale University (1979-1982) to Baylor University Medical Center (1982-1992). His world-famous hand collection, which has been the subject of international media coverage, is now exhibited at Baylor.

Accompanied by photocopied correspondence to and from Brig. Gen. Robert L. Schulz discussing the history of the casts and their production. On August 29, 1963, Dr. Flatt wrote: "At long last I will shortly be dispatching to you your own personal copy of President Eisenhower's hands." One month later, Dr. Flatt reported: "I am happy to reassure you that the only copies which exist are those which are present here in the Steindler Library at the University of Iowa, the copies that you have and the third set which we ultimately hope to present to the Eisenhower foundation but which as yet have not been worked upon by our artist. The original mold has already been destroyed."

A copy of a letter from Schulz to J. Earl Endicott of the Eisenhower Foundation, October 2, 1963, explains their history: "While in Boone, I received a phone call from Dr. Adrian E. Flatt…He advised me that the University was developing, to his knowledge, the only library of hands of prominent people. They have or will have those of Presidents Hoover, Truman, and Kennedy; and asked whether arrangements could be made to cast the hands of General Eisenhower. Disregarding details, General Eisenhower agreed and the mold was cast aboard the Rock Island business car. It was a fascinating process and took but forty minutes. I requested Dr. Flatt to provide the Foundation with a copy of the cast. This he agreed to do and offered to present me with a copy having heard of my near eighteen years of service with the General."

Boasting superb provenance from the collection of Brig. Gen. Robert L. Schulz, who served as Eisenhower's close aide from 1947 to 1969, and existing as the only pair of Ike's hand casts to remain in private hands, these are a truly remarkable relic of one of the great figures of the 20th century: with these hands, Eisenhower won World War II in Europe, stemmed the tide of Communism, created the interstate highway system, and expanded the American middle class. From the collection of Brigadier General Robert L. Schulz, longtime military aide to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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