A Thomaston auction house was advertising a Ku Klux Klan token on its website Tuesday but has since pulled the item from a planned auction.

The back side of “Ku Klux Clan Token” shown on Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ website.

The token, estimated to have a value of between $40 and $60, was listed on the Thomaston Place Auction Galleries website as a “Ku Klux Clan (sic) Token” and scheduled for an online auction starting Wednesday morning, but within a couple hours of a Portland Press Herald reporter’s inquiry about the item, it was removed.

Described as the size of a half-dollar coin, the token had the images of an eagle and a fiery cross on one side, which are thought by some scholars to be symbols of the founding of the KKK’s “second movement” more than 100 years ago in Georgia. Alongside the symbols were with acronyms SYMWAO and MIAFA, which stand for “Spend your money with Americans” and “Made in America for Americans” or “My interests are for Americans,” according to the description. The other side had a KKK slogan, Non Silba Sed Anthar, intended to mean “not self, but others.”

Kathi Winchenbach, executive assistant at the auction company, said in an email Tuesday afternoon that the item had been removed. She did not respond to additional questions, including why it was removed. Her email came two hours after a reporter asked for more information about the token.

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries handles a wide array of items for clients, include real estate, antiques and collectibles. The KKK token was to be part of an auction that includes paintings, Asian antiques, rare books, art glass, furniture, folk art and decorative pieces.

In recent years, auctions of artifacts associated with groups that promoted hate and violence, like the KKK or the Nazis, have drawn wide attention and protests, including bans in some places. They are easy to find, advertised by auction sites around the country.


Last November, Nazi and KKK memorabilia was banned by the Kentucky State Fair Board, after Nazi Christmas ornaments and a Ku Klux Klan robe were offered for sale at a fairgrounds gun show.

The front side of “Ku Klux Clan Token” at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries. The auction house’s web page says “Withdrawn”

The ethics of selling such items, and profiting from them, is an issue auctioneers have to deal with individually,  said Ruth Lind of Moxie Auctions of Stockton Springs, president of the Maine Auctioneers Association. Association members follow the code of ethics for the National Auctioneers Association, which outlines business practices on how to ethically sell items, but not what items to sell.

“Some people in the industry sell such things as it is a part of the history of the U.S. – a dirty part, but a part all the same,” Lind wrote in an email to the Press Herald.  She said that sometimes these types of items are sold to people or museums who want to make sure people don’t “forget” what they and and their owners stood for. Lind said she’s never been asked to sell KKK or similar types of memorabilia and is not personally aware of it being sold at other auctions in Maine.

The token being advertised by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, a KK-201, can be found online at several memorabilia dealers. Atlanta Relics, in Georgia, on Tuesday was listing an original KK-201 likely dating to the 1920s for a price of  $85 and a 1995 re-issued token for $30. Tokens were used by KKK members to display slogans of the group, as well as indicate membership.

Editor’s note: This story was edited on April 2 at 9:50 a.m. to remove incorrect information.

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