“Sold!,”A New Monthly Feature


Cowan’ Lot 59

Despite its superior condition and relative rarity, it failed to sell on an estimate of $30,000-$40,000. Although both these facsimiles are basically identical, it is curious to observe the effect of the passage of about 25 years and the removal of a single line of text. In this case, only the original facsimile seemed to be of substantial interest, an interesting twist in the world of reproductions at auction.

United States Presidents were also well represented in the sales in both manuscript and printed forms. Much of the material was fairly typical. Scattered among the guns, furniture, and CDVs of the Cowan sale, however, were several Lincoln paper ballots. Among them was lot 59, a 7 x 3.5 inches Lincoln-Hamlin Ohio paper ballot in German for the 1860 election printed on yellow paper with a portrait of Lincoln that fetched $632.50 on an estimate of $200-$300. It was followed by lot 62, a similar Ohio paper ballot in English for Lincoln-Johnson in the 1864 campaign printed in red and blue. It went for $373.75 on an estimate of $250-$350. Lot 63 consisted of another Ohio Lincoln-Johnson ballot in English printed in red and blue ink. Although a fairly large ballot (8.25 x 4.75 inches), it had been trimmed at the bottom. Apparently this damage caused it to sell for only $195.50 on an estimate of $300-$400. Another large ballot, at 11.5 x 4 inches, was a Lincoln-Johnson example in English from Missouri. This example was extremely interesting because it had local candidates’ names entered at the bottom in contemporary manuscript, an indication that it was probably really used by a voter in the 1864 election. It went for $345.00 on an estimate of $300-$400. Finally, an especially nice, wide-margined broadside 15 April 1865 extra of the Daily Ohio State Journal announcing Lincoln’s assassination went for $805.00 on an estimate of $300-$500. What is especially interesting about those items is that they indicate it is still entirely possible for the average collector to acquire quite interesting presidential material for fairly modest sums. For those with more money, there was Swann lot 128, a 1 May 1944 issue of Newsweek signed by Churchill, FDR (as President), H. H. Arnold, and Eddie Rickenbacker. It failed, however, to sell for its $10,000-$15,000 estimate.

One old Presidential chestnut was available in the PBA sale #252 as lot 43: a fair copy of Herbert and Lou Hoover’s translation of Agricola’s De Re Metallica (London, 1912). This book demonstrated academic achievements few US Presidents had ever or have ever since attained. Inscribed and signed by Hoover to mining engineer and metallurgist Charles Butters, it was knocked down for $632.00 on an estimate of $500-$800. Another Presidential chestnut was Thomas Jefferson’s Handbuch des Parlamentarrechts (Berlin, 1819), a translation of his Manual of Parliamentary Practice, first published Washington, 1800. Jefferson’s Manual was an influential document that was published by itself in English well into the nineteenth century and is still the basis for the US Senate’s parliamentary procedures. It was also translated into French (1814) and Spanish (1827). All contemporary translations are rare in the market. This copy sold for $598.00 on an estimate of $450.00.