A Benchmark Auction of Americana June 21st
There are exceptional maps from the earliest collectible period of American history. Lot 10 is a damaged but unique map of New Jersey that also includes New York and the Hudson River as far north as Kingston. Dated 1677, this map will move quickly from the auction room on into a frame where it will be appreciated as an icon of early New York. It is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Lot 13 is a finely detailed map of the northeastern states believed to date around 1684-1685. As with lot 10 there are paper faults that will deter some bidders but such early material is simply unobtainable.
And then there are letters across the American history spectrum. In lot 128 Henry Knox, President Washington's Secretary of War writes to Chief Cornplanter to conciliate the Seneca Indians. It is estimated at $25,000 to $35,000. In lot 174 there is a Meriwether Lewis signed document, estimated $12,000 to $18,000. Lot 319 is an autographed letter from Pierre De Smet, the Jesuit missionary, dated 1871 that discusses McKenney's History of the Indian Tribes of America [$3,500 to $5,000]. Lot 151 is a letter from John Quincy Adams in which he "ponders the place of heraldry in a republican nation" [$20,000 to $30,000].
The Siebert material is often highly important and consistently in original form and superb condition. These twenty-four lots [See attached spreadsheet 1] include many exceptional items such as Church's 'Entertaining Passages Relating to Philip's War' which leading Americana dealer William Reese describes as possibly the most interesting item in the auction. AE's present value index [the blue link on the right of the attached chart] places the estimated current value at $220,000, well above the Christie's high estimate. Clarence Wolf of George S. MacManus particularly likes Cadwallader Colden's 'The History of the Five Indian Nations....' which he describes "as a very important book in exceptional condition with an impeccable provenance." Given the extensive range of Siebert material this auction will be an important test of the Americana market. The Siebert sales, in 1999, ushered in a period of robust sales and surging prices. The return of a significant cross-section of important Siebert material to the auction rooms creates an opportunity for the market to confirm where it is today. This sale will be closely watched.
An additional factor in this auction will be online listings. About 50 of the items in the sale find the same title and issue offered on ABE and there are occasionally multiple examples. Because ABE is a listing of asking prices buyers will pay no more and can sometimes pay substantially less because sellers may consider an offer. Such discussions should ensue before the auction with arrangements made to buy the ABE copy if the Snider copy moves beyond a specified range. Here are several examples of material on ABE, most of which are matches against items estimated at $5,000 or less. [See attached spreadsheet 2]