Aug. 5: Baseball, Almanacs, Historical Documents and more at Case Antiques
- by Thomas C. McKinney
Highlights from Case Antiques' Historic Summer Auction on August 5th
Case Antiques, the Knoxville, Tennessee based auction house has since 2015 included their relevant auction records in Rare Book Hub’s Transaction History database. The category of collectible works on paper, including historical documents, books, and maps, is becoming an increasingly significant portion of their business, and this month, as part of their Historic Summer Auction, a high-quality and varied selection of material will come to the rooms on August 5th.
Many Americans love the game of baseball, and there are undoubtedly many collectors of its history. Two rare books will definitely appeal: a signed first edition of Albert Goodwill Spalding’s America’s National Game and A History of the Boston Base Ball Club 1871-1897, compiled by George V. Tuohey. Spalding’s work is particularly attractive, with cartoons, illustrations, and photographs; it’s estimated $3,000 to $4,000 as lot 459. Tuohey’s History, as lot lot 458, is estimated $800 to $1,200.
Revolutionary War era and pre-Revolution almanacs are also a strong category in the sale. Samuel Stearns’ The North-American’s Almanack, and Gentleman’s and Lady’s Diary, For the Year of Our Lord Christ 1776, features “An Account of the Commencement of Ho[s]tilities between Great Britain and America, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay,” written by Rev. William Gordon who wrote his account based off interviews with people present at the Battle of Lexington. Nathanael Low’s An Astronomical Diary; or, Almanack for the Year of Christian Aera 1775 includes an interesting argument by the author against the tyranny of the British government. Sandwiched between Stearn’s and Low’s almanacs are two group lots, one being eleven Revolutionary War era almanacs spanning the years 1777 to 1784, and the other being fourteen pre-Revolution almanacs, from the years 1752-1774. All four almanac lots, nos. 441 to 444, top out in estimates at $1,500 or less.
With Case Antiques being based in Tennessee, they are naturally strong in material of Southern nature. Andrew Jackson, born in the Carolinas, a Senator and member of the House of Representatives for the State of Tennessee, and Military Governor of Florida, was a true Southerner. The man enjoys a strong representation in the sale, starting with lot 421, with several lots of portraits, engravings, images, and portraits. Major Arsene Lacarriere’s Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814-1815, published in Philadelphia in 1816, is a translation of the original French and covers much of Jackson’s actions in the southern theater of the War of 1812. Lacarriere’s Memoir features a detailed atlas and is estimated $1,200 to $1,500. One last interesting Jackson lot is an early signed letter from 1821 pre-dating his appointment as Military Governor of Florida and election as President. Within the letter, Jackson expresses approval of John C. Calhoun’s proposal for what became the Reduction Act as well as his opinions on the Missouri Compromise. Jackson’s letter is estimated $5,000 to $7,000 as lot 424.
Collectors of the Civil War will find an important Vidette camp newspaper broadsidesigned by “The Thunderbolt of the Confederacy,” General John Hunt Morgan (lot 203, est. $1,200 to $1,400), ambrotype and tintype images of Civil War soldiers (lots 196 to 199), as well as a Mississippi Runaway Slave Broadside from 1844 (lot 200, est. $1,400 to $1,800).
Other historical documents in the sale include military appointments signed by Presidents Abraham Lincoln (lot 210, est. $4,000 to $4,500) and Andrew Johnson (lot 229, est. $900 to $1,000) and a lot containing a signed letter by Sam Houston and James Buchanan as well as two prints.
Case Antiques’ Historic Summer Auction will take place at 9 AM eastern time at their Knoxville gallery. It is a sale of 897 lots that also includes art, antiques, jewelry, coins, paintings and folk art, and furniture. The entire catalog can be browsed online, with material most likely of interest to Rare Book Monthly readers beginning at lot 196.
Bidding is available live, over the phone, by absentee bid, and online through LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable. Please note: Phone/absentee bid requests must be submitted by 12 PM eastern time on August 4th.