Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2009 Issue

Important Signed Documents from the Raab Collection

Raab61

Important signed documents from the Raab Collection.


By Michael Stillman

The Raab Collection has published Catalog 61 of signed historic documents. This catalogue includes many important, some momentous documents from (primarily) American history. Each comes with a thorough description and explanation, in effect a history lesson, along with illustrations. Here are some of the wonderful items the Raab Collection is now offering.

In the year before the American colonies officially declared their independence, most of the revolutionary activity was taking place in Massachusetts. There had been great indignities (in the colonists' eyes) conducted in Boston, the passing of the Intolerable Acts, and finally the great victories at Lexington and Concord. The other colonies banded together to help Massachusetts while trhe Continental Congress sent George Washington to New England to lead the troops. However, this was not a one-colony affair. The Colonial Governor of Virginia had been causing problems for rebellious colonists there too. As a result, on December 4, 1775, the Continental Congress sent this letter to Colonel Bull, head of a Pennsylvania battalion, to prepare to march to Virginia. The order is signed with that most notable of American signatures, John Hancock. As it turned out, the Virginians quickly dealt were their governor themselves, and instead, Bull and his men were sent the following month to Canada for an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt Britain's resources in the north. Item 9. $55,000.

Despite an auspicious start in 1775, the revolution was not going that well by 1780. Washington was holding on, but not making much progress. Then, to make things worse, one of his leading generals, Benedict Arnold, was found to be a traitor. However, at this time, Washington got wind of a significant movement of troops by the British to the south. The British figured by sending troops to the lightly defended south, they could cut off Virginia and the Carolinas from the rest of the colonies. On October 20, 1780, Washington wrote Major Benjamin Tallmadge, his chief intelligence officer who had helped uncover Arnold's treason, asking for more information about this British troop movement. "Of what number of Men and of what Corps the late embarkation consisted? Whether Sir Henry Clinton went with them? Whether a reinforcement arrived lately from Europe - the number, and whether of which Corps or Recruits?" writes Washington. Washington could not have imagined at the time that this troop movement would prove to be a fatal mistake for the British, that just a year later the British would be forced to throw in the towel after a stinging defeat in Virginia. Item 6 is Washington's letter to Tallmadge. $85,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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