Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2012 Issue

American Signed Documents from Joe Rubinfine

Rubinfine170

Letter from Charles Carroll on cover of Joe Rubinfine's latest catalogue.

Joe Rubinfine recently published his List 170. Rubinfine specializes in American historical autographs. Much of the material is entirely in hand, generally personal letters. Other items are partially filled-in forms, including stock certificates or photographs. These too contain personal signatures. Some are as familiar as John Hancock, Abe Lincoln and George Washington, others less familiar names who nonetheless played some notable role in American history. Like real estate, they won't be making any more of these autographs. None of these personalities is with us any more, their last signatures written years ago. Fortunately, Joe Rubinfine has gathered up a bunch made long ago, and they are available to collectors in the pages of this catalogue.

Item 29 comes from the man whose autograph is more famous than that of any other – John Hancock. In the days after the American colonies declared their independence, Hancock was serving as President of the Continental Congress. The revolution was off to less than a sterling beginning, and the Congress wished to see more support from the states. On October 2, 1776, Hancock sent around a letter to the states, noting that Congress was “at present deeply engaged in Matters of the utmost Importance to the Welfare of America,” and therefore it was “absolutely necessary that there should be a full representation of the several states as soon as possible.” Hancock goes on to cajole them to send sufficient representatives so that “the Sentiments of America be the better known upon the interesting Subjects that lie before them. I shall therefore only once more request your compliance with this Requisition of Congress...” It is not known to which state's officials this copy was sent. Some of these letters had an opening paragraph requesting physicians be appointed to the military, others, such as this one, did not. The reason is not clear. The letter concludes with Hancock's unmistakable signature. Priced at $22,500.

The most hated post-Revolution practice of the British, in American eyes, was the impressment of American seamen. The British would force seamen from American merchant ships, on the claim that they were British subjects, into the Royal Navy, on the spot. After a couple of decades, it finally was a major factor leading to war. Item 41 is a letter from Secretary of State (soon to be Supreme Court Chief Justice) John Marshall from January 1801. It includes proof that a couple of impressed Americans were American citizens. The British would relent and free a few American seamen on proof of citizenship from the government. The two nations would go to war in 1812, and while the British did not officially agree to stop the practice as part of the peace treaty in 1814, they discontinued the practice. $7,000.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton was the last of a most illustrious group of Americans. When Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was approved, Carroll became the last surviving signer of the Declaration. Carroll, a delegate from Maryland, was also the only Catholic signer. Item 9 is a letter signed by Carroll as the last living signer, it being dated July 16, 1826. In it, he accepts an invitation to ceremonies in Baltimore honoring the recently passed Jefferson and Adams, “to commemorate the veneration & respect so justly due to the memories of the illustrious Signers of the declaration of our Independence who bore so conspicuous a part in that great event.” Carroll lived until 1832, when he died at age 95. $20,000.

Item 45 is another letter from a last survivor. Rembrandt Peale was one of America's most noted early artists. He painted from the late 18th century to the mid-19th, a prolific artist noted primarily for his portraits. He painted many of America's leading figures, including the most notable of all, George Washington. His father, Charles Willson Peale, was also an artist and had painted Washington in 1787. His father introduced young Rembrandt to the American general at the time, leading to Rembrandt's opportunity to paint Washington too, in 1795 when he was just 17 years old. He would paint many more portraits of Washington over the years, using his own painting and those of others as models after his subject died. This letter was written by Peale in 1857 to an autograph seeker. By then Peale was the last man living who had painted Washington in person, and Peale acknowledges his position “as the Oldest Artist in America & the last surviving Painter of Washington...” Peale was 79 at the time, and lived to be 82. $1,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. <i>A superb collection of manuscripts signed by Lincoln and relics related to Lincoln’s death</i>. Washington, 1864-1865
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Rare Relic of the Underground Railroad (1857). <i>$500 Reward Ran away ...</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> CARTER, SUSANNAH. <i>The Frugal Housewife,</i> (1772) the second American cookbook, plates by Paul Revere.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SCHIRRA, WALTER M.. Icon of the American Space Program. <i>A Complete Set of Schirra’s Flight Log Books (1947-69).</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> A fine pair of daguerreotypes, one a black nurse holding a white baby, the other the white parents. Maryland, c. 1853.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Internet. (COMPUTERS.) CERF, VINTON & KAHN, ROBERT. <i>"A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication" in IEEE Transactions on Communications.</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Anne & Margot Frank's copy of <i>Grimm's Fairy Tales</i>, in which Anne wrote her own and Margot's name, circa 1940. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Albert Einstein, group of 4 letters Signed to Helmut L. Bradt regarding Bradt's emigration to the U.S., one bearing Nazi censor ink stamps, 1939-40. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Archive of items from Ludwig Bemelmans to producer Mary K. Frank, concerning <i>The Street <br>Where the Heart Lies</i>, 1959-62. <br>$10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Archive of correspondence to<br>Edwin A. Van Valkenburg from President Theodore Roosevelt and members of his family, 1913-21. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Oscar Wilde, manuscript notes panning a book on book collecting, circa 1886. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b><br>John Hancock, partly-printed document Signed as Governor of Massachusetts, Boston, 1781.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Franz Liszt, Autograph Letter<br>Signed to Carl Gille, Rome, 1869. $4,00 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b> Joseph Conrad, photograph Signed and dated, 1918. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries May 5:</b><br>Two Guns White Calf, photograph postcard Signed with his pictogram, 1929. $800 to $1,200.
  • Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts, 8 June 2016, New York
    Bonhams June 8: ARISTOTLE.<br>384-322 B.C.E. De animalibus <br>US$ 300,000-500,000.
  • Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 18. Blaeu, <i>Nova et Accuratissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula</i>, 1660.<br>Est. $14000-$17000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 20. Pitt, <i>Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula</i>, 1680. Est. $9500-$11000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 65. Ortelius, <i>Americae sive Novi Orbis, Nova Descriptio</i>, 1571. <br>Est. $6000-$7000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 84. Bailleul, <i>L'Amerique Divisee en Ses Principales Parties</i>, 1752.<br>Est. $19000-$22000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 99. Sayer & Bennett, <i>The American Military Pocket Atlas</i>, 1776. <br>Est. $10000-$12000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 269. Reid, <i>Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia</i>, 1796. <br>Est. $2750-$3500
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 291. Carleton, <i>Map of Massachusetts Proper</i>, 1801. Est. $12000-$14000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 378. Keulen, <i>Pas Kaart vande Noord Oost Kust van Cuba en d'Oost Kust van Florida</i>, 1695. Est. $3250-$4000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 651. Ptolemy/Fries, <i>Tabula Superioris Indiae & Tartariae Maioris</i>, 1541.<br>Est. $3000-$4000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 688. Wit, <i>Nova Africa Descriptio</i>, 1660.<br>Est. $2750-$3500
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 706. Ortelius, <i>Maris Pacifici</i>, 1589.<br>Est. $8000-$9000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 727. Audubon, <i>Least Stormy-Petrel</i>, 1836. Est. $1400-$1700
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 741. Bordone, <i>Isolario</i>, 1547.<br>Est. $16000-$19000
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 747. Teesdale, <i>A New General Atlas of the World</i>, 1835. Est. $2000-$2750
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 752. Colton, <i>Colton's Atlas of the World Volume I and II</i>, 1856.<br>Est. $2500-$3250
    Old World Auctions (May 4): Lot 760. Prevost, <i>Histoire Generale des Voyages ... Tome Quatorzieme</i>, 1757. <br>Est. $2400-$3000
  • <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 131. After Karl Bodmer (1809-1983) Pehriska-Ruhpa Aquatint. $1500-$2500
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 212. Catlin Snow Show Dance Hand Tinted Lithograph No. 14. $1000-$2000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 213: Hurlimann After Bodner Saukie Fox Indians Aquatint. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 226: After Karl Bodmer. Dance of the Mandan Indians Aquatint. $1000-$1500.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 281: Karl Bodmer (1809-1983) Massika and Wakusasse Hand. $750-$1500.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 244: After Catlin Nah-To-Toh Pa Lithograph, Plus Another. $300-$600.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 305: History...Indian Tribes N. America, McKenney & Hall, 3. $3000-$5000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 316: Catlin, George, "North American Indians," 1841, 2 Vols. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 284: Catlin, George, "North American Indians," 1926, 2 Vols. $200-$300.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 285: Coleson, Miss Ann, "Among the<br>Sioux Indians!" 1864. $500-$1000.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 289: Heard, L.V.D., Sioux War and Massacres, 1865, First. $400-$800.
    <b>Dirk Soulis April 30:</b> Lot 288: Life of Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak or Black Hawk, 1834. $400-$800.

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