Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2015 Issue

Profiles in History: An Important Sale of Autograph Material and Other Items

Inherently unique and collectible, autograph letters and documents represent a special segment of the rare books, maps, manuscripts, and ephemera world. One auction house has built their business around such material, and this month, on June 11th, Profiles in History brings another sale of valuable material to auction.  The Los Angeles county-based house’s Historical Auction 75 contains 200 lots of autographs and assorted objects and items, with a large number of famous Americans and other historical figures present in the sale.

For collectors of American Presidents, the autographs of the first three are for sale, as well as many others including Lincoln, FDR, and JFK. The XYZ Affair that nearly brought war between the United States and France is represented particularly well with letters from both John Adams and George Washington discussing the matter (lots 1 and 147).

Continuing with American History, two items related to the Star Spangled Banner are quite interesting. I myself did not know that the national anthem is not an original tune—that its words are actually set to the music of another, John Stafford Smith’s “The Anacreontic Song,” was a surprise to me. In this sale however, both the original printing for “The Anacreontic Song” (lot 136, est. $15,000 – 25,000) and an early (third printing) of “The Star Spangled Banner” are available (lot 137, est. $40,000 – 60,000).

Other highlights of the sale include:

  • Eighteen lots of Einstein autographs
  • A plethora of material from the Civil War, including signatures from all of the senior Confederate leadership and generals: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
  • A small, but strong showing of contemporary sports material including Michael Jordan’s first six basketball cards all graded Gem Mint 10 including his rookie card (lot 195, est. $20,000 – 30,000) and a signed photograph of Babe Ruth (lot 200, est. $4,000 – 6,000). 

Like Profiles in History’s past Historical Auctions, the binding theme of the material is an emphasis on rare autographs from well-known figures, as well as other rare memorabilia and objects. Their sales are not organized thematically, so if you are a collector of autograph material, their catalogues are worth perusing since you never know what you may find.

The auction will take place on-site in Calabasas, CA on June 11th at 11 a.m. Registration is available on Profiles in History's website here. Online bidding is handled by Invaluable and the entire catalogue is viewable on their website.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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