Eisenhower letter to West Point grads earns $41K at RR Auction
BOSTON – An early presidential letter signed in full by Dwight D. Eisenhower, addressed to the graduating class of the United States Military Academy, sold for $41,250 at RR Auction on February 17.
President Eisenhower penned the letter neatly on his personal stationery for the 1953 graduating class of the United States Military Academy at West Point. It is dated January 25, 1953, just five days into his new role as the nation’s chief executive. Included with the handwritten letter is a transmittal from Eisenhower dated three days prior on January 22, forwarding his dedication to Cadet James G. Donahue, then editor of the USMA yearbook, the Howitzer.
Eisenhower’s handwritten dedication letter reads in full: “To the Class of 1953: As one who has proudly worn the cadet gray and had the privilege, which is now yours, of pinning on the insignia of a 2nd Lieutenant, I am deeply appreciative of the honor you have paid me in the dedication of this edition of the Howitzer. I am sure that among all those distinguished Americans who have served in the Presidency, few could have felt the same intensity of personal satisfaction that I shall experience in commissioning in the service of the United States a graduating class of the Military Academy. Few of them could have had an inkling of your thoughts and emotions at the last parade on the Plain; few could feel with the heart-stirring climax of four long and arduous years. On the other hand, I am doubly sure that few would have expected from you as much as I do-for I know your mettle, I know what you can do. God speed and good wishes to each of you.”
This letter carves out a singularly unique place in the history of Dwight D. Eisenhower, forming a bridge between his formative early days as a West Point cadet and his ascendancy to the nation’s highest office.
“Because modern Presidents rarely sat down to write out letters by hand, they are highly desirable to collectors,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. “This is only the fourth Eisenhower [letter] written as president that we know to exist.”
Additional highlights from the sale include a James A. Garfield letter signed as President on Executive Mansion letterhead, which realized $25,770.
Another standout was a Thomas Jefferson Revolutionary War-dated signed letter, which achieved $24,956.
Also performing well was a 10K gold Benrus watch, given by John F. Kennedy to a member of his presidential campaign staff, which sold for $20,896.
The U.S. Presidents auction began at RR Auction on January 13 and concluded on February 17. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.
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