Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2009 Issue

Important Signed Documents from the Raab Collection

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

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.

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