Historian gets 18-month prison term for stealing presidential letters

NEW YORK (AP) – A historian and author was sentenced Friday to a year and a half in prison after apologizing for stealing letters that were written by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and prized by Theodore Roosevelt.

Edward Renehan Jr., 52, also must pay more than $86,000 in restitution to a Manhattan gallery where he tried to resell the letters, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin ordered as he imposed the sentence.

Renehan admitted he stole the presidential letters in 2006 and 2007 from the Theodore Roosevelt Association, based in Oyster Bay, on Long Island. He was then its acting director.

“I have taken my golden bowl and foolishly and recklessly dashed it upon rocks of self destruction,” said Renehan, who has written six books. “I alone am responsible for this one great, indelible stain which now and forever disfigures a life I am otherwise proud of.”

Renehan, of North Kingstown, R.I., said the crime occurred when he was in the manic phase of what was later diagnosed as bipolar disorder.

He pleaded guilty this year to interstate transportation of stolen property. One letter was handwritten by Lincoln on March 1, 1840; two were written by Washington. One of those was dated Aug. 9, 1791, the other Dec. 29, 1778.

Renehan still faces a state charge of stealing and trying to auction off a 1918 letter that President Roosevelt wrote about his son Quentin’s death in World War I.

Roosevelt Association director Jim Bruns said outside court that it was “a painful pill when a historian is caught in a position like this.” But he said it was a significant breach of trust that must be faced.

Roosevelt bought the letters because they reminded him of the quality of character that Washington and Lincoln both had, he said.

One Washington letter was to a general and pertained to the treatment of some property, while the other Washington letter dealt with day-to-day concerns of the American people, Bruns said. The Lincoln letter was written to a friend and related to an 1840 election, he said.

Roosevelt kept all three letters in the library at his home until his death, he said.

The letters were stolen from a vault at the home where Roosevelt was born, on East 20th Street in Manhattan, Bruns said.
He said the association expected to have the letters back soon, though one of the Washington letters is now missing the ornate frame that Roosevelt had made for it. A buyer did not understand its value and destroyed it, Bruns said.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

AP-ES-09-19-08 2008EDT  

Courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Dirk Soulis Auctions

Pennsylvania student documents hex signs

Courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Dirk Soulis Auctions

Courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Dirk Soulis Auctions

KUTZTOWN, Pa. (AP) – At first, Patrick J. Donmoyer photographed only the hex signs that he found interesting.
Now, he’s interested in all of them.

What used to be a hobby has grown into a quest to document every hex sign, or barn star, in Berks County.

“I’m literally going down every single road that is in Berks County,” said Donmoyer, a Kutztown University student.
Donmoyer has collected 2,400 photographs of nearly 350 hex signs, some of which may not have been documented before.
Perhaps most impressive, and most inspiring to other scholars of this 19th century form of folk art, is that Donmoyer has shown such enthusiasm and he’s only 22.

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One of two made, an 18½-inch-tall artist’s proof of a pulled-feather luster epergne hand blown by master glass artist Richard Golding of Okra Studios, Stourbridge, England.

Andy & Rob Collection of Victorian to Contemporary glass in Oct. 5 auction

One of two made, an 18½-inch-tall artist’s proof of a pulled-feather luster epergne hand blown by master glass artist Richard Golding of Okra Studios, Stourbridge, England.

One of two made, an 18½-inch-tall artist’s proof of a pulled-feather luster epergne hand blown by master glass artist Richard Golding of Okra Studios, Stourbridge, England.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – One of the world’s great private collections of antique and studio glass – the Andy and Rob Collection – will be auctioned in its entirety on Oct. 5 in Charleston. Estate Road Show Auctioneers will produce the sale of more than 275 pieces of superior glass designs.

Andy Stone and Rob Brunton built their collection over a 10-year period, traveling extensively to obtain the finest, most-elusive examples while also consulting with world-renowned glass authorities and conducting their own independent research. The Phoenix residents were mentored by such UK-based notables of the art-glass world as Charles Hajdamach and Raymond Slack, an acclaimed expert on pressed glass. In the United States, Andy and Rob gained invaluable insight from Steuben authority/author Tom Dimitroff , glass author/historian Jim Measell of the Fenton Art Glass Co., and Dave Peterson, author and widely respected Vaseline/uranium glass authority.

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One of many dazzling entries from the Andy Huffer collection, a cast-iron 8½-inch toy motorcycle replicating a 1930 Harley-Davidson factory DAH Hill Climber - $57,500.

Bidders got their motors running in Morphy’s $1.7M Fall Sale

One of many dazzling entries from the Andy Huffer collection, a cast-iron 8½-inch toy motorcycle replicating a 1930 Harley-Davidson factory DAH Hill Climber - $57,500.

One of many dazzling entries from the Andy Huffer collection, a cast-iron 8½-inch toy motorcycle replicating a 1930 Harley-Davidson factory DAH Hill Climber – $57,500.

DENVER, Pa. – Private collections of impeccable quality prompted an avalanche of bids in Morphy Auctions’ Sept. 11-13 Fall Sale, which realized $1.7 million (inclusive of 15 percent buyer’s premium). The sale’s headliner, the Andy Huffer toy motorcycle collection, knocked down incredible prices, with a Hubley 8½-inch cast-iron Harley-Davidson bike with nickel wheels and near-perfect paint roaring to a $57,500 finish. The faithful representation of a 1930 Harley factory DAH Hill Climber, with driver in forward “uphill” pose, made well over three times the high estimate.

Consignor Andy Huffer was elated with the results his collection achieved. “The auction surpassed all my expectations,” he said. “It was a success because of the knowledge and dedication of Morphy’s staff, and the company’s good name with collectors. In fact, I’m so pleased, I’m taking the whole Morphy’s team out to dinner next week as a thank-you.”

An unusual Chronometer cast-iron mechanical bank with an embossed image of a winged satyr-like character led its category at $20,700 against an $8,000-$12,000 estimate. Although not as fully articulated as some mechanicals, its rarity, extraordinary artwork and high percentage of original paint [95 percent] made it an object of intense interest amongst collectors.

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Sotheby’s promotes Schulten to head of Chinese Ceramics

NEW YORK – Sotheby’s has announced the appointment of Caroline Schulten as the head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sales, North America.

Schulten joined Sotheby’s London in September 2007 as the senior specialist in Chinese ceramics and works of art.

Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Schulten worked two years at Lempertz auction house in Cologne, Germany, as their specialist in Chinese ceramics and works of art. Before entering the auction business, she spent four years in her native Germany, serving two years as the assistant curator of Chinese art at the Museum of Asian Art in Berlin, preceded by two years as a lecturer and tutor in Chinese art and archaeology at the Freie Universität Berlin. She received an M.A. at Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich, and her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

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Rare circa-1700 English Geo. I secretary with mirrored doors, est. $38,000-$45,000.

Lewis & Maese to auction fine art, antiques from ambassador; socialite Lynn Wyatt

Rare circa-1700 English Geo. I secretary with mirrored doors, est. $38,000-$45,000.

Rare circa-1700 English Geo. I secretary with mirrored doors, est. $38,000-$45,000.

HOUSTON – Lewis & Maese Auction Company, specialists in fine arts and furnishings, will present a special 2-day Fall auction on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 24 and 25, featuring fine art, furniture and decorative objects from two of Houston’s leading citizens: Lynn Wyatt and the late Ambassador Kenneth Franzheim II.

One aspect of the sale focuses on furnishings from the peach-colored River Oaks mansion of Houston socialite, philanthropist and patron of the arts, Lynn Wyatt. An international fashion icon who has appeared in the pages of Vogue and W, Wyatt’s impeccable taste extends to the interior décor and gardens of her home, located in Houston’s most exclusive neighborhood. In years past, Wyatt hosted many distinguished guests in her home, including Princess Grace of Monaco, Mick Jagger, and fashion designer Bill Blass. Wyatt’s discerning eye and insistence on quality are reflected in the articles consigned to Lewis & Maese’s sale.

The late Ambassador Kenneth Franzheim was a Houston businessman and philanthropist. His collection of Georgian period furniture, Spanish antiques, and paintings by Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West, Diego Rivera and Picasso are everything that could be expected from a man of the world who sat on the Sphinx in Egypt and was special guest of honor for years at the King of Tonga’s birthday party.

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Barn Star Promotions’ Autumn Hartford Antiques Show will retain the look of a traditional show, while broadening its scope to incorporate additional categories. Image courtesy Barn Star Productions.

Barn Star picks up the banner for Autumn Hartford Antiques Show

Barn Star Promotions’ Autumn Hartford Antiques Show will retain the look of a traditional show, while broadening its scope to incorporate additional categories. Image courtesy Barn Star Productions.

Barn Star Promotions’ Autumn Hartford Antiques Show will retain the look of a traditional show, while broadening its scope to incorporate additional categories. Image courtesy Barn Star Productions.

RHINEBECK, N.Y. – Frank Gaglio of Barn Star Productions has announced the creation of a new fall event, the Autumn Hartford Antiques Show. The new event will be held Sept. 19-20, 2009, at the Connecticut Expo Center in Hartford.

With the recent cancellation of the Fall Hartford Antiques Show, Barn Star can fill the gap left in dealers’ fall schedules and endeavor to restore the excitement and fine quality antiques show Hartford had become known for.

“I have been looking for an opportunity to bring New England another Barn Star event, and when the Expo Center presented availability, Hartford became that event. We are thrilled at the number of longtime and high-end Hartford dealers that have already heard about this new show and have requested a contract,” said Gaglio.

The Autumn Hartford Antiques Show will present prominent New England dealers specializing in traditional Americana, plus selected dealers in other categories including art, jewelry, garden, pottery, textiles, maps and prints, folk art and Oriental carpets. Dealers will present their antiques in room-style settings.

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Yankee Stadium, 1923. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

Guernsey’s Oct. 18 auction of historical documents a tribute to Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium, 1923. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

Yankee Stadium, 1923. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

NEW YORK (ACNI) – On Saturday, Oct. 18, Manhattan auction house Guernsey’s will auction the Baker Collection, a grouping of historical documents pertaining to the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium. The auction will be held at Madison Square Garden, and is a fitting tribute to the 85-year-old landmark home of the “Bronx Bombers,” who will move into their new ballpark across the street for the 2009 Major League baseball season. The blue-lettered sign spelling out “New York Yankees” will be hoisted into place by crane today, at Gate 4, 161st Street and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.

Guernsey’s auction includes 160 architectural drawings from which Yankee Stadium was constructed; the building was officially opened on April 18, 1923. Other auction highlights include the actual insurance policy the Yankees took out to protect the well being of legendary sluggers Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

The sale lineup also features a number of Yankees World Championship rings, a baseball given by Don Larsen to a photo editor on the day his perfect game, and many unique items signed, worn or used by Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. The Yankees’ archenemy, the Boston Red Sox, is represented in the sale by the World Series Trophy they won in 1912 against the New York Giants.

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Man on a ‘mission’ stuck in museum air vent

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – It wasn’t the preferred way to enter the Knoxville Museum of Art, but Richard Anthony Smith told police he was on a mission.

The 25-year-old Knoxville man called 911 from his cell phone before dawn Wednesday saying he was trapped in an air conditioning duct leading from the museum roof, Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said.

Police and firefighters reached the roof, found a rope and cable and followed them to a vent shaft. Peering inside, they spotted Smith about 45 feet down.

“Mission failed,” he told them.

Hoisted up and read his rights, Smith told police he was a “special agent from the United States Illuminati, badge number 0931” and had rappelled onto the museum from a helicopter, a police report said.

He said he was following orders to “defuse and confiscate” a Soviet-made nuclear warhead, specifically a “MERV6SS-22AN” warhead, according to the report. The bomb supposedly was hidden in a blue, plastic cow sculpture in the museum basement, he said.

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Lil’ Jon’s diamond, fancy yellow diamond and gold Crunk Ain't Dead pendant and necklace; estimate: $200,000-250,000. Image courtesy Phillips de Pury & Company.

Demand prompts Phillips de Pury to reschedule Hip-Hop Jewelry auction

Lil’ Jon’s diamond, fancy yellow diamond and gold Crunk Ain't Dead pendant and necklace; estimate: $200,000-250,000. Image courtesy Phillips de Pury & Company.

Lil’ Jon’s diamond, fancy yellow diamond and gold Crunk Ain’t Dead pendant and necklace; estimate: $200,000-250,000. Image courtesy Phillips de Pury & Company.

NEW YORK – Phillips de Pury & Company’s Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels, an auction of contemporary jewelry offering key pieces of jewelry and artifacts from hip-hop culture of the last two decades, has been rescheduled. The original sale date of Oct.1, 2008 will be changed to March 5, 2009. The venue remains the same – Phillips de Pury’s New York galleries.

According to the auction company, the new sale date will allow them to accommodate the increased demand from additional consignors and buyers who wish to participate in the sale.

Simon de Pury, chairman of Phillips de Pury & Co., explained: “This auction will be the first of its kind, and from an early stage, we saw an appetite for works from this era in cultural and music history. These extraordinarily designed pieces herald one of the most groundbreaking and era-defining movements of the late-20th and early 21st century. We have determined that there is more significant property to be consigned, and that to enlarge the sale, we will increase the offering, which is in great demand.’

“As an art company that is dedicated to presenting the best of contemporary culture, Phillips de Pury & Company is thrilled that the reception has been so positive,” de Pury continued. “The Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels viewing and sale will coincide with a number of international contemporary art events scheduled in New York, including the Armory Show (March 5 – 8, 2009).”