Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2010 Issue

Documents Signed by Historic Personalities from The Raab Collection

Raab62

Catalog 62 from The Raab Collection.


By Michael Stillman

The Raab Collection of Philadelphia has issued their Catalog 62 of documents signed by major, historic figures. Included are both the most important of American names, such as Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Hancock and Twain, along with those from across the sea, including Churchill, Napoleon, Queen Victoria and Renoir. Many of these documents provide notable insights into the personalities of the signers or the issues of the times. These are some of the important items available in this latest presentation.

Item 18 is a short story written by Mark Twain, a manuscript copy entirely in Twain's hand. In 1885, Twain published perhaps his greatest book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He did not publish another major novel until 1889, but in between he helped U.S. Grant prepare his memoirs and wrote some short stories. In 1887, he wrote this seven-page story entitled An Incident. In it, a young boy, with something of a Huck Finn personality, meets Twain on the street. They talk for a while before the boy realizes who Twain is. Finally, the boy asks, "Is it you?" To Twain, this is the ultimate compliment. He notes that he doesn't like exaggerated compliments unless the person does not realize he is exaggerating. Here, the compliment is not faked, but is simply a genuine recognition that Twain is someone of note. Priced at $43,000.

John Hancock's signature became the most famous one in America when he signed it extra large on the Declaration of Independence to make it quite clear to the British exactly how he felt. However, he had cause to use his famous signature before that momentous occasion, and here is one that ties into the reason why he placed it on that document a couple of years later. Here is a bill of exchange for £200 Hancock, a wealthy New England merchant, drew on his London bankers to make a payment on his behalf. It is signed with his famous "John Hancock." However, the London bankers declined to loan him the money to honor the bill, though Hancock was a good customer. They were concerned about repayment as a result of trade problems in America after the Boston Tea Party, and may well have been concerned with Hancock's attitude, which, to say the least, was not pro-British. Item 12. $35,000.

The American success in the Mexican War turned out to be a mixed blessing. It greatly expanded the nation's territory by adding what is today the American Southwest, but at the same time, it increased the hostilities between the North and South. The reason was that the regions were battling over whether the new territories, and eventual states, would be slave or free. The result was that the two major parties, the Democrats and Whigs, began to divide internally along sectional lines, rather than contest between each other. Daniel Webster, the noted speaker and Whig politician who harbored dreams of becoming President, recognized the internal divisions, and fought gamely to hold his party together. In 1850, he wrote a letter to New York attorney and Whig stalwart John K. Porter outlining his fears. He writes, "There have been those who desire to uphold all sorts of local ideas, prejudices, and animosities, by the general strength of the Whig cause. If we cannot free ourselves from these counsels, the Whig Party must inevitably cease to be a great, strong, and conservative party of the country." To this end, Webster would declare himself a "Union man" rather than a northern man, and supported the Compromise of 1850, which enforced the Fugitive Slave Laws that were abhorrent to the North. It didn't work. It just made the once beloved Webster something of a pariah in his home territory, while the Whig Party still broke apart and totally disappeared within a few years. Item 23. $1,800.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Daniel Giraud Elliot. <i>A Monograph of the Phasianidae, or Family of the Pheasants,</i> 1870-1872, coloured plates. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>Georg Braun und Franz Hogenberg. <i>Civitates orbis terrarum.</i> Cologne, 1597-c.1606, 5 volumes, hand-coloured, calf. £140,000 to £200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Qianren Huang. "Blue Map" of China. [Daoguang, 19th century]. £60,000 to £80,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Travel, Atlases, Maps<br>and Natural History<br>Online Auction<br>27 April – 13 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Abraham Ortelius. <i>Theatrum orbis terrarum,</i> 1595. £40,000 to £60,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b> Maxime Du Camp. <i>Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie. Dessins Photographiques.</i> Paris, 1852. £100,000 to £150,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 27 Apr. to 13 May:</b><br>China, Canton School. A superb album of 141 watercolours, c.1800. £70,000 to £100,000.
  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Alken (Henry), after. Salmon Fishing; Fishing in a Punt; Pike Fishing, three works, 1820. £600 to £800.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Early Images of Angling.- Hollar (Wenceslaus) Angling; River Fishing; and Salmon Fishing, after Francis Barlow, 3 engravings, [c. 1671]. £500 to £700.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Rolfe (Henry Leonidas). <i>Studies of Fresh Water Fish,</i> 1851. £500 to £700.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Morland (George), After. A Party Angling; The Anglers' Repast, a pair, mezzotints, 1789. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Pollard (James), After. Bottom Fishing; Anglers Packing Up, etchings with aquatint, 1831. £400 to £600.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Angling's Age of Romance.- Sayer (Robert, publisher) & J. Bennett. The Angelic Angler, mezzotint, 1781; and another. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire.- London.- Roberts (Piercy). Patience at Paddington or angling in the Junction Canal, etching after Woodward, 1807; together with Woodward's 'Angling at Sadler's Wells', and another, 1794. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Satire - Cats Fishing.- Seymour (Robert). Waltonizing or - Green-land Fisherman, [c. 1830s]; together with 3 lithographs of cats fishing, [c. 1830s]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Fishing Portraits.- Zoffany (Johan), After. Master James Sayer, at the age of 13, mezzotint by Richard Houston, 1772. £300 to £400.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>Images of Angling:<br>The David Beazley Collection<br>of Angling Prints<br>Online Sale<br>20th May 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Wilkinson (Norman). Come to Britain for Fishing, lithographic poster, [c. 1947]. £300 to £400.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Scottish Fishing.- Heath (William). Sporting in the Scottish Isles no. III. Salmon Fishing, 1835; and another. £150 to £200.
    <b>Forum Auctions, May 20:</b> Simpson (Joseph). The Border Angler, drypoint, [c. 1927]. £150 to £200.

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