Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2007 Issue

American Autographs from Joe Rubinfine

More American Historical Autographs from Joe Rubinfine.


By Michael Stillman

Joe Rubinfine American Historical Autographs
offers a new group of autographed documents from important American historical figures. Included are several of the most collectible of signatures in the land -- George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Most noteworthy is that some of these documents are not only very significant, but were previously unknown. Rubinfine evidently has some sources that have been underground for over two centuries. Here you will find America's history in the making, often in descriptions written by those who played a major role. Here are a few to be found in his List 159.

Item 24 is an example of a previously unknown and remarkable letter. It was written by Colonel Henry Knox, from near the banks of the Delaware River, December 24, 1776. It was Knox who directed troops the following night during Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware, a masterful job that enabled Washington and his forces to secure a major victory at Trenton. Knox was immediately promoted to General for his success, and would later serve Washington as America's first Secretary of War. As an aside, prior to his hooking up with the revolutionary forces and assuming a major leadership position at the age of 26, Knox had been a bookseller in Boston. Knox writes his wife, Lucy, for whom he expresses great love and sorrow over their separation, on the eve of the great crossing. He leaves little doubt that this is a calling he must answer. He notes it is his duty "to put a stop to the barbarities & wanton cruelty which would disgrace the most unprincipled Savages on Earth..." He has a few other choice words for the English -- "...I did not conceive it to be in the breasts of any people on earth much less the boasted humane breasts of Englishmen to ravish daughters and wives & oblig'd their unhappy parents and husbands to be witness of their infernal brutalities." Knox expresses the view that America has been passive in responding to British efforts to subjugate its people, but states, "...I have not the Shadow of a doubt that America...will rise Superior to all temporary depressions." Of course, Knox would have known quite well of the rising his troops planned for the following evening. Priced at $75,000.

It would take several years for the war to turn America's way, and even after their victory at Yorktown sealed Britain's fate, life would not be easy for America's soldiers. In 1782, General Benjamin Lincoln, as Secretary of War for the Continental Congress, wrote to fellow General Nathanael Greene. His troops were desperately short on clothing and supplies, and Greene was trying to get some relief. A sympathetic Lincoln responds, "...the sufferings of your troops have impressed me with the deepest concern -- and the very painful sensations, which your relation of them excites, are poignantly enhanced by the reflection that these distresses should have been the lot of an army, not only entitled by special contract to better fare -- but whose meritorious and gallant exertions, under the most extreme difficulties, merited a very different fate." Alas, poor Lincoln must relate that he is helpless to respond. "Mine is the unhappy station in which I must hear these complaints without having it in my power to redress the grievances." Item 28. $3,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Manuscript Masterpieces from the Schøyen Collection
    London auction, 11 June
    BROWSE NOW
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Holkham Hebrew Bible. In Hebrew, decorated manuscript on vellum [Toledo, 2nd quarter 13th century]. £1,500,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex. In Coptic, manuscript on papyrus [Upper Egypt, middle 3rd century / 4th century]. £2,000,000–3,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The Geraardsbergen Bible. In Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Southern Netherlands, late 12th century]. £700,000–1,000,000
    Christie’s, Explore now : Jean de Courcy (fl. 1420). The Chronique de la Bouquechardiere. In French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1480]. £200,000–300,000
    Christie’s, Explore now: The ‘Catherine de Medici’ Hours. In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Paris, c.1485]. £120,000–180,000
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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