• <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Abraham Lincoln Endorsement Signed, March 16, 1865. Framed with a lithograph of Lincoln by Dwight C. Sturges.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Thomas Edison Stunning Signed Portrait.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Franz Liszt Signed Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Subscription for Portraits of the Presidents Signed by J. Q. Adams, Polk, Jackson, Buchanan, and Writers Dickens, Bryant and More!
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Vinson Supreme Court Signed Presentation Photo.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Marilyn Monroe & Joe DiMaggio Collection of Three Financial Items.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Rare Sigmund Freud ALS Related to Sexual Issues.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> New York Yankees team signed baseball c.1937 including Gehrig, DiMaggio, Dickey, Gomez and others.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Salvador Dali Original Drawing in <i>Dali</i> by David Larkin.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions: Rare Autographs, Sports, Books and Photography. January 23, 2020</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Charles Wilson Peale, Association Miniature of Dr. Ebenezer Crosby after Charles Willson Peale. Gouache on ivory miniature attributed to Peale.
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> William McKinley Signed Oversize Photograph Incredible 20"x24".
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Jan. 23:</b> Margaret Mitchell Signed <i>Gone With The Wind</i> -- First Edition.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>Winter in der Schweiz,</i> 1921. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Evelyn Rumsey Carey, <i>Pan American Exposition / Niagara / Buffalo,</i> 1901. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Arnost Hofbauer, <i>Topicuv Salon,</i> 1898. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Job,</i> 1896. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Georges de Feure, <i>Le Journal des Ventes,</i> 1898. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Alphonse Mucha, <i>Cycles Perfecta,</i> 1897. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Edward Penfield, <i>Orient Cycles / Lead the Leaders,</i> circa 1895. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Adrien Barrère, <i>L’Ideal du Touriste,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Willem Frederick Ten Broek, <i>New York / Wereldtentoonselling / Holland – Amerika Lijn,</i> 1938. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Dwight Clark Shepler, <i>Sun Valley / Union Pacific.</i> $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Sascha Maurer, <i>Flexible Flyer Splitkein / Smuggler’s Notch,</i> circa 1935. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 13:</b> Louis Bonhajo, <i>Vote / League of Women Voters,</i> 1920. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> [Paine, Thomas]. Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America… Philadelphia: R. Bell, 1776. $200,000 to $250,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Autograph letter signed, to Joshua Reed Giddings, 21 May 1860. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Oakley, Annie. <i>A Brief Sketch of Her Career and Notes on Shooting.</i> [N.p.]: ca. 1913, Signed. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Washington, George. One autograph letter signed & 3 letters signed to General Alexander McDougall, September 1777. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> Mather, Cotton. <i>The Wonders of the Invisible World. Being an account of the tryals of several witches...</i> London: 1693. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Jan. 27:</b> James, Benjamin.<i><br>A Treatise on the Management of the Teeth.</i> Boston, 1814. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Astronomical manuscript.- Kalendarium cum Tabulis Astronomicis; and other astronomical texts, [?Northern Italy (possibly Verona or Bologna), c.1470]. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Melville (Herman). <i>Moby-Dick; or The Whale,</i> first American edition, New York, 1851. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Malta.- Binding.- Sovereign Military Order of Malta.- <i>Gli Statuti della Sacra Religione di S. Gio: Gierosolomitano…</i> Rome, Giacomo Tornieri and Giacomo Ruffinello, 1589. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Britain.- Jansson (Jan). <i>Novus atlas, sive theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> vol.4 only [Britain and Ireland], 56 double-page engraved maps, Amsterdam, 1659. £7,000 to £10,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,</i> second (first published) edition, 1866; and 2 others from the series. £5,000 to £7,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Cervantès Saavedra (Miguel de). <i>Novelas Exemplares,</i> rare at auction, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1615. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Fine Books, Manuscripts<br>and Works on Paper<br>22nd January 2020</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Tolkien (J.R.R.). Printed programme for the New College School, Oxford, production of The Hobbit, signed by Tolkien, 1967. £4,500 to £5,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Thucydides. <i>The hystory, writtone by Thucidides the Athenyan, of the warre, whiche was betwene the Peloponesians and the Athenyans,</i> first edition in English, 1550. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Wesley (John). Autograph Letter signed "My Dear Sister [?Mary Stokes], exhorting her to write more often and dealing with her problems, 1773. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Jan. 22:</b> Leaf from an illuminated book of hours with the Four Evangelists, illuminated by the workshop, or a close follower of the Maître de l'Échevinage. Northern France (possibly Rouen), c.1480. £2,000 to £3,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - April - 2009 Issue

Collector Bests State in Battle for $475,000 Document

Decofind

A similar old copy of the Declaration of Independence.


By Michael Stillman

In a major case pitting a collector against a state for ownership of old documents, victory has gone to the collector. Richard L. Adams of Virginia prevailed over the State of Maine in the Virginia Supreme Court for a copy of the Declaration of Independence he purchased for $475,000. It was certainly a major victory for Mr. Adams personally, but collectors owning potentially challengeable old government documents should not yet send out a collective sigh of relief. There could be less to this decision than meets the eye.

Here is a brief history of this long case, over 200 years in the making. In 1776, authorities in the State of Massachusetts authorized a private printer to print 250 copies of a radical document recently approved in Philadelphia - the Declaration of Independence. The order provided that these printings of the Declaration be read from the pulpits of local churches, and then handed over to the Town Clerk to transcribe into that town's official records. Nothing was said about what should happen to these printings after they were transcribed into the record.

The copy in question was read in the pulpits, and turned over to the Town Clerk of Pownalborough, Massachusetts (which is today the town of Wiscasset, Maine). On November 10, 1776, Town Clerk Edmund Bridge copied the Declaration on the town's records as required, and then did something with the original document. What he did with it is not certain. As the court noted, there is no definite sighting again for 219 years, when it was put up for auction in the sale of the estate of Anna Plumstead of Wiscasset. However, it is not all that hard to surmise what happened.

Some writing on the back of the document indicates it stayed with the town for at least a short while, and then the written evidence goes blank. However, Anna Plumstead was the daughter of Town Clerk Solomon Holbrook. Holbrook attained that position in the 1880s, and held it until he died in 1929. In this era, small New England towns did not have much in the way of government offices, so town clerks kept public documents at home. It would certainly be reasonable to believe that this item, and other old town documents found in Plumstead's house, arrived there via her father, either being transferred to her house for storage during Holbrook's life or after he died. Holbrook had at one time owned his daughter's house, though he never lived there.

In 1995, the Declaration was sold at a public auction of Plumstead's estate. It was purchased by Seth Kaller of Kaller Historical Documents for $77,000. In 2001, Kaller sold it to London bookseller Simon Finch for $390,000, who in turn sold it to Adams in 2002 for $475,000. Had the decision gone the other way, Adams could have been out as much as the full $475,000, depending on whether he could have collected any reimbursements from those who preceded him in the chain.

In reaching its decision, the Virginia Supreme Court noted first that possession presumes ownership. In other words, it is up to the party not possessing the item, in this case Maine, to show that it is the true owner, not the other way around. On the other hand, it also noted that public records belong to the government, a point favoring Maine. Then it proceeded to evaluate Maine's three arguments. The first two dealt with public records, and the third with simple conversion, or unlawful taking.

The first "public record" argument relied on the common law position that public records belong to the government. However, the standard common law definition describes a "public record" as one written by a public officer. This Declaration was not written by the Town Clerk, but printed by a private citizen. Therefore, the Court concluded, the only "public record" was the copying of this document by Town Clerk Bridge in the public register in 1776, not this printed original. Score one for collector Adams.

Next, the Court looked at the argument that this constitutes a "public record" under a statutory definition adopted by Maine in 1973. The lower court had ruled against Maine here on the grounds that the state had not produced evidence that this statute was intended to apply the definition retroactively to pre-1973 records. The Supreme Court then rejected Maine's appeal on this issue on a technicality, saying the state did not properly challenge this finding and so it would not reconsider the argument. Score two for Adams.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> <i>Byblia in vulgar ultimamente impressa,</i> illustrated, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Milio (Agostino). <i>Nuovo dialogo delle devozioni del sacro monte della Verna,</i> FIRST and ONLY EDITION, illustrated, 4to, Stamperia Ducale, Florence, 1568. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses,</i> First English edition, NUMBER 23 OF 2000 COPIES, , 4to, Egoist Press, Paris, 1922. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Dumas (Marlene). <i>Doornrosie,</i> lithograph printed in colours, signed, 370 x 440 mm, 1989. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Japanese Culture.- Kimbei (Kusakabe). Two albums of hand tinted albumen prints, each with 50 photos, each photo c.140 x 95mm, [late 19th century]. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Miró (Joan) ARR. <i>Personnages sur Fond Noir,</i> NUMBER 38 OF 75 COPIES, lithograph, signed and dated, 305 x 445mm, 1948. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Ray (Man). Autoportrait, photolithograph, initialled and inscribed by artist, ONE of 100 COPIES, 200 x 160mm, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Wou-Ki (Zao). L'tang / The Pond, etching aquatint, number 2 of 3 only, signed by artist, 260 x 230 mm, Paris, Editions Galanis, 1972. £800 to £1,200.
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Autographs & Memorabilia<br>January 28, 2020</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> De Amicis (Edmondo). Postcards signed by Italian author and journalist Edmondo De Amicis, February 1897- August 1907. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Live Aid.- Live Aid 1985 souvenir programme, signed by Bob Geldof, Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Freddie Mercury, and others, 1985-1991. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. Black and white, landscape photograph ft. all the Heads of Government of the British Commonwealth who attended the 1944 Prime Ministers' Conference in London, signed by all.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Walt Disney Production.- Dopey, original animation cel from Snow White approx. 180 x 180mm., Walt Disney Enterprises, 1937. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Liszt (Franz). Carte-de-visite photograph by J.Ganz of Brussels of Franz Liszt, signed, 10 x 6.4cm, c. 1880. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Jan. 28:</b> Fermi (Enrico). Autograph letter signed to Professor Tullio Levi Civita, 8vo, Florence, 9 May 1925; w/an autograph note from Professor Civita, 7 March 1934 (2). £1,800 to £2,200.
  • <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Signed Abraham Lincoln Civil War era document appointing Green Clay of Kentucky as Secretary of the Legation of the United States at St. Petersburg, Russia, July 15, 1861. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Bambi (1942) animation cel, inscribed Walt Disney's Bambi and signed Walt Disney. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Original Snow White animation cel, with Walt Disney signature on mat, lower right. $3,000 to $3,500.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Civil Rights Era Archive relating to U.S. Deputy Marshal Dick Bagby (1933-2003) of Dallas, TX, including letters from President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General. $1,400 to $1,800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson autograph letter, unsigned, regarding a special presentation cane sent via General John Moore McCalla to Gov. George Breathitt of Kentucky. January 18th, 1833. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Four (4) Presidential signed 17th/18th Century Books - two signed by Millard Fillmore, and two signed by James Buchanan. $1,000 to $1,200.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> President Andrew Jackson signed military commission document conferring on George Washington McLean the rank of Second Lieutenant of Marines. Signed January 4, 1834. $800 to $1,000.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Three (3) Southern Maps, including two (2) Antonio Zatta 1778, one (1) South Carolina 1796. $600 to $800.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Black Forest German Forestry Apprenticeship Certificate issued to Carl Heshel by Von Fahnenburg, the Forest Master from the Royal District, February 1, 1824. $500 to $550.
    <center><b>Case Antiques<br>Important Two-Day Winter Auction<br>January 25 & 26, 2020</b>
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Harper Lee, <i>TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,</i> signed 40th anniversary edition. NY: HarperCollins, 1999. $300 to $350.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Archive of twenty-five (25) items related to the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. $400 to $500.
    <b>Case Antiques, Jan. 25-26:</b> Sixteen (16) 20th Century Celebrity Autographed Books, including Paul Newman, A. E. Hotcher, Leonard Bernstein, Clint Eastwood, Norman Rockwell, Groucho Marx, Johnny Cash, and more. $300 to $350.
  • <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Measure for Measure</i> (extracted from the First Folio). London, 1623. Sold for $52,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $47,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams: </b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. Sold for $43,825.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. Sold for $1,912.50.
    <b><center>Bonhams<br>Consignments invited (2020)</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. Sold for $150,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. Sold for $15,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. Sold for $175,075.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. Sold for $131,325.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> BOOLE, GEORGE. <i>An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.</i> London, 1854. Sold for $12,575.
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHANNON, CLAUDE and WARREN WEAVER. <i>The Mathematical Theory of Communication.</i> Urbana, 1949. Sold for $27,575.

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