DALLAS – A pair of paintings by an artist who was aboard a ship that tried to rescue survivors from the Titanic sold for $112,500, and a typewriter that belonged to one of the most popular and successful authors in American history reached $106,250 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Historical Manuscripts Signature® Auction to $1,926,019 on February 22.
A set of two paintings Colin Campbell Cooper created while he was onboard the RMS Carpathia during the rescue of Titanic survivors is by the artist who, along with his wife Emma, left New York on the ship, headed for Fiume, Austria-Hungary. In the early morning of April 15, 1912, the Carpathia received a signal indicating that Titanic had struck an iceberg and was in need of assistance. The Carpathia changed course to provide that assistance, arriving two hours after the Titanic sunk. As crew from the Carpathia rescued survivors from the frigid Atlantic, Cooper watched from the deck, where he made these paintings depicting the rescue efforts and the site of the Titanic’s disappearance.
The love-hate relationship Mark Twain (whose real name was Samuel Clemens) had with typewriters is well-documented, and that backstory might have helped his personally owned Williams No. 6 typewriter more than quadruple its estimate and climb to $106,250. Twain purchased this beautiful and impeccably provenanced typewriter, which he owned from 1908 until his death in 1910.
“The significance of these lots can not be overstated,” said Director of Historical Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions Sandra Palomino. “Colin Campbell Cooper was a renowned American Impressionist painter from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his paintings capture a somber representation of a historically important event, the sinking of the largest and most luxurious ship of its time. The soaring demand for Mark Twain’s typewriter is more than understandable. He was one of the most beloved of all American authors, and the idea that he wrote on this typewriter clearly explains why many pursued it so aggressively.”
Aggressive bidding also drove a Martin Luther King Jr.-inscribed and -signed copy of Ebony magazine to $93,750. From the May 1965 issue covering the historic Selma-to-Montgomery marches in Alabama, the front wrapper is inscribed and signed in blue ballpoint pen by King: “To my Friend / Claude Wyatt / With Warm Personal Regards / Martin Luther King Jr.”
Rev. Claude S. Wyatt Jr. and his wife Rev. Addie L. Wyatt were prominent Civil Rights activists who founded Chicago’s Vernon Park Church of God in 1956 and were closely affiliated with King, joining him at the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. Five months later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law.
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