Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2006 Issue

Signed Documents from Stuart Lutz


Susan B. Anthony looks in a less than celebratory mood on her 80th birthday

That comment should be a good segue to item 7, a cabinet card picture of Susan B. Anthony, signed on her 80th birthday. The famed leader of the women's suffrage movement has the dourest of expressions. Even Sherman would look jolly next to her. However, she had every reason to look a bit more cheerful, as this photograph was taken in Rochester, New York, in 1900, the year she convinced the University of Rochester to admit women. $2,500.

Some things are almost too weird to believe, but here is a strange 1848 letter appropriate to collections of Spanish conquistadors and creepy tourists. One Joseph L. Brolasky sent this letter from Lima, Peru, back home to Philadelphia, after a visit to the cathedral which held the remains of Francisco Pizarro. Pizarro was the greedy, brutal 16th century conqueror of Peru and the Incas. Evidently Mr. Brolasky and his friends got to view the embalmed remains of the conquistador, assassinated two centuries earlier. "His flesh was dry and withered to the bone," Brolasky tactfully observed. Then, they make their ghoulish decision: "Observing his legs protruding from beneath the coverings of the body and being perfectly bare I considered it would be well to take a small part of one for a curiosity to send to the States." So, while Brolasky distracts the guard with conversation, a friend pulls out a penknife and slices off a section of Pizarro's Tibialis Anticus muscle (evidently Brolasky knew his human anatomy). Did they really do this? I don't know, but if you're ever at the cathedral in Lima, and get to see the body (try bribing the sexton -- that worked in 1847), check out Pizarro's left Tibialis Anticus. Let me know if it's missing. Item 160. $400.

In 1979, President Carter sent a letter to Pennsylvania Congressman Bud Shuster thanking him for his "support of my efforts to resolve the situation in Iran. Your public statements are a welcome expression of our commitment to defend the security, honor and freedom of Americans everywhere." It's a good thing they were able to "resolve" that situation, or who knows where it might have led to today. Item 24. $1,500.

Ralph Kiner made it to baseball's major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946, and began a run of seven straight seasons as the leading home run hitter in the National League. The man must have made millions. Actually, he didn't. At the time, team owners were in full control. There was no free agency. Players took what they were offered or retired. There was no other choice. In 1947, Kiner hit 51 home runs and batted .313. Item 111 is Kiner's reward, his contract for 1948. The slugger was paid a whopping $25,000 for his effort. In 1953, the Pirates traded Kiner to the Chicago Cubs after he complained about his pay. Kiner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975, and has been a broadcaster for the New York Mets ever since the team began play in 1962. $750.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Manhattan Gay Scene Guide 1969, Summer Edition,</i> Mattachine Book Service. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Harvey Milk, 2 autograph letters signed, to Pat Mormon, during US Navy service, 1954. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>“The secret of life is in Art,”</i> autograph quotation dated and signed, 1882. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Daniel Abraham, original art for <i>Stonewall Romances,</i> pen, ink & gouache, 1979. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Antonio Lopez, 9 men’s fashion studies, graphite, 1974. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Susie Gaynes & Amy E. Bartell, <i>March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights,</i> 1987. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> <i>Paris is Burning,</i> photo offset poster by Anne Dutlinger, signed by film director Jennie Livingston, 1991. $400 to $600.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> Toyen, pen & ink illustration from <i>Marquis de Sade: Justina cili prokletí ctnosti,</i> 1932. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 13:</b> David Wojnarowicz, <i>Untitled (Genet with Dog),</i> mixed media collage. $8,000 to $12,000.

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