Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2016 Issue

May 25: Landmark Abolitionist Material and Americana at Sotheby's New York

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Highlighted Americans from the Sotheby's Two Centuries of American History: Highly Important Letters and Documents

Now that we've looked at these two monumental lots, let's look at material still interesting and historically significant, but more affordable for the everyday collector, say with low estimates of $100,000 on down (that was a half joke). These items will be listed in the auction catalog chronologically, as they are here. Lot 3 just makes this cutoff, with a low estimate of exactly $100,000, being a printed broadside signed by John Hancock denouncing taxes "imposed upon the People, without their Consent." Printed in 1768, this was an early foreshadowing of the conflict to come and is a superb example of perhaps the most well known American signature.

I opened this article by stating that nearly a quarter (thirteen of fifty-six) of the signers of the Declaration of Independence have their own autographs available in this sale. Lot 4 is one of the most difficult to find, behind only Button Gwinnett in rarity. The signature is that of Thomas Lynch, Jr., signer of the Declaration from South Carolina. According to Sotheby's, this Document Signed in Full, on behalf of his father, Thomas Lynch, Sr., is likely one of two Lynch signatures not in institutional collections. It also just skates by in our "affordable" category with an estimate of $100,000-150,000.

Now we're getting to an item potentially affordable for the more casual collector, yet nonetheless important. Printed in Philadelphia in 1797, Thomas Paine's Agrarian Justice is his proposal for a National Fund, a forerunner of today's Social Security Administration. He plainly states the objectives of his National Fund: "To Pay every Person, when arrived at the Age of Twenty-One Years, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds Sterling, to enable Him or Her to begin the World!" The entire text is available on the Social Security Administration's website. Paine's pamphet is available as lot 33 for an estimated $1,000-2,000.

Though he is known for the expedition that bears his name, Meriwether Lewis was not born directly into buckskin ready to take on the West. Prior to the travels that made him famous, he served as President Jefferson's private secretary. Lot 38 is an Autograph Letter Signed by Lewis to Dolley Madison, wife of Jefferson's presidential successor James Madison, referencing a dinner in the evening. Jefferson, having been a widower for two decades, relied on Mrs. Madison as his hostess for social functions. Lewis letters are rare, and this one is estimated $20,000-25,000.

While the material dating to the Civil War may not be as high profile as the signed Lincoln abolition documents, the sale's contingent is strong nonetheless. An interesting lot predating the outbreak of the war by less than four months is lot 66 (est. $20,000-30,000), which is an Autograph Letter Signed by Andrew Johnson, seventeenth President, as Senator from Tennessee, written from the Senate floor to a contemporary and provides Johnson's firsthand perspective on the secession crisis. Nearly three years after Johnson's letter in which he mentions "the secession feeling is losing ground here at this time," another Civil War item provides stark contrast to how much things changed in those few years. Lot 76 is a rare, first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on the front page of The World. This printing of one of the most famous speeches in American history carries an estimate of $7,000-12,000.


Posted On: 2016-05-20 23:38
User Name: kofibonner

I happen to have an oxford first edition of the complete poetical works of John Greenleaf Whittier. Im just wondering if anyone would be interested in the book. It was printed in 1915 by the oxford press.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliothèque littéraire<br>Hubert Heilbronn<br>11 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Breton, André. <i>Nadja.</i> Paris, N.R.F., Gallimard, 1928. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> [Stendhal, Henri Beyle dit]. <i>Le Rouge et le Noir,</i> chronique du XIXe siècle. Paris, Levavasseur, 1831. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Dumas, Alexandre. <i>Les Trois mousquetaires.</i> 1844. 8 vols. In 4. Paris, Baudry, 1844. €30,000 to €50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Mallarmé, Stéphane -- Edgar Allan Poe. <i>Les Poèmes d’Edgar Poe.</i> Bruxelles, Edmond Deman, 1888. €18,000 to €25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Le côté de Guermantes II. Sodome et Gomorrhe I. [and] Sodome et Gomorrhe II.</i> Paris, N.R.F., 1921 et 1922. €20,000 to €30,000.

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