Brant Mittler, a medical doctor, lawyer and collector now 75, has long appreciated the intersection of early American government, Texas history, and the difficulties and struggles discovering and settling the West. His work, some years ago, as a journalist led to an interest in how news was reported from distant places. In time he built a collection of old and contemporary material bought from many sources with a strong emphasis on the opinions of the late Dorothy Sloan and Everett Wilkie. Over time, as is a collector’s want, he kept examples nearby as a reminder of how his deep interests have been illuminated by material that was held, employed or signed by the very people making the history of their time. Taken together, his interests turned into a collection related to American history based on relevance. In that he succeeded.
For him, his focus, as a native Texan was an appreciation of the formation of the United States and the State of Texas, his emphasis on importance, relevance, rarity and condition, buying from dealers and at auction and in time finding deep satisfaction in owning such material.
In time he began to plan to sell his collection while he was still healthy, believing others would have the same satisfaction he experienced. Buying had been easy and in time he learned selling would be more complex. For that he focused on selling at auction, to understand how and why successful sales occur; learning the who, what, when and where of selling in the world of collectible paper today. The outcome of his research was to sell at auction at Leslie Hindman and his material is to sell on 9 November listed as lots 193 to 271. [Links to Hindman and to his first lot are provided at the end of this article]. Take a look!!
Here’s what he has sent into the rooms:
1. Lot 193. The Samuel Bangs printing of an order by Gen. Zachary Taylor in Spanish is rare, printed on a small press and relates to his hometown, Corpus Christi, which was in an area of disputed as to the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico– the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) vs. the Nueces River. This document was the way Taylor notified Mexicans that he was entering Mexico and meant them no harm. It was “breaking news.”
2. LOT 230: A collection of early newspapers many dealing with the contemporary news of the Fall of the Alamo. Fascinating documents handled by those hearing of the battle of the Alamo in almost real time.
3. Lots 206 and 235: Early maps showing Mexico and the Gulf coast.
4. Lot 212: Sam Houston’s list of goods -- bill of lading – when he left Tennessee and went to Indian Country in 1830.
5. Lot 252: The first lithographed political cartoon in Texas skewering Sam Houston for all sorts of violations of civil rights. July 1855 created and printed in San Antonio by William Thielepape.
6. Lot 251: Another Thielepape lithograph, this one a rare lettersheet showing downtown San Antonio, circa 1855.
7. Lots 203 and 204: Large format Alexander Gardner photographs of Ft. Laramie in the late 1860s. A permanent record of what the Army and settlers saw as they headed West.
8. Lot 256: Journals of the Continental Congress, Sept 5, 1774-Jan. 1, 1776. Records of the earliest attempts to form the United States.
9. Lot 254: Journals of the Proceedings of Congress , Held at Philadelphia, Sept. 5, 1774. First Edition of the Journal of the First Congress. The title page has an early version of the seal of the Congress showing 12 hands representing the 12 participating colonies.
10. Lot 253. United States Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, printer, 1783. First use of the Great Seal of the United States in a printed book.
The Mittler collection comprises 79 lots numbered from 193 to 271 in the Hindman sale scheduled on 9-10 November, 2021. The sale overall is quite interesting and the Mittler lots will attract wide interest. As well, other Mittler lots are found randonly: Nos. 8,16-17, 396, 459 and 464-467.
Link to Hindman – the Fine Books & Manuscripts Including Americana sale. Bon chance!!!