CLEARWATER, Fla. – On June 10, Blackwell Auctions of Clearwater, Fla., held an Americana auction featuring an extraordinary archive of Lincoln-related ephemera and photographic images; historical objects, and baseball rarities. Despite being a relative newcomer to the live-auction community, Blackwell has gained a loyal following by bringing unique and estate-fresh items to its bidders both live and online through LiveAuctioneers.com. The Americana sale rewarded the company’s efforts with some nice surprises on auction day.
Early in the sale, the auctioneer introduced a collection of 17 cabinet photos of international representatives to the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Most all of the men depicted were prominent figures in politics, the sciences, engineering etc., in their respective countries. “What made the collection particularly special is that each of the men signed the back of his photo, and most of them inscribed a sentiment to Joseph M. Wilson, the Chief Architect of the Expo and co-designer of the Main Exhibition Building,” said Blackwell Auctions owner, Edwin Bailey. The lot sold for $4,920 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500. All prices quoted include a 15% buyer’s premium.
Lot 90 was a 14K gold Waltham pocket watch, perhaps unremarkable as a timepiece – other than the fact that it runs perfectly and is in superb condition – but this particular watch has the U.S. Presidential Seal engraved on its lid. It also has an inscription on the inside beginning with the phrase, “From the President of the United States” and bearing a 1904 date. The watch was awarded by President Theodore Roosevelt to a British ship captain in recognition of his rescue of American sailors from a sinking ship. It sold for $9,300.
The top item in the sale was lot 100: an incredibly rare, uncut 1956 Topps full production sheet of 110 baseball cards (shown at top of page), including more than a dozen Hall of Famers — two Jackie Robinson cards, Ted Williams, two Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente and others. According to one source, fewer than 10 of these uncut 110-card sheets from 1956 are known to exist. The lot sold to the floor for $32,200, crushing a pre-sale estimate of $9,000-$15,000.
Lot 123 was an original Los Angeles Police Department badge #7, worn by Hollywood Police Division Lieutenant H.B. “Jack” Wallace, who served from 1904 to 1925. A motorcycle patrolman early on, Wallace lost a partner during a high-speed pursuit in 1910. Accompanying this badge was Wallace’s 14K gold retirement badge, set with two diamonds, a sapphire and a ruby. The full-size, solid gold badge weighs 93.1 grams (right at 3 ozt.) Engraving on the back reads, “Presented to HB Jack Wallace by members of the Hollywood Police Division and Friends, from Nov. 29, 1904 to Feb 9, 1925.” The badges brought $7,500.
There was brisk bidding on lot 162, an 1852 daguerreotype of American artist Thomas Hicks (shown below), which included a lock of his hair. Opening at $500, it climbed to a final price of $13,200. Other Hicks items, including a signed CDV and the artist’s personal scrapbook, far exceeded pre-sale expectations.
Blackwell Auctions’ next event is slated for July 15. Online: www.BlackwellAuctions.com.