George’s and Martha’s hair front-runners in RR auction Feb. 18

George’s and Martha’s hair

Shadowbox containing locks of George and Martha Washingtons’ hair. Estimate: $75,000-$100,000. RR Auction image

BOSTON – RR Auction‘s presidential online auction, which will conclude Feb. 18, honors America’s esteemed commanders-in-chief. From the nation’s founding to modern times, these are the leaders who have guided the United States through times of war and peace. Their lives and legacies are embodied in these nearly 300 items. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

Highlights include locks of George and Martha Washington’s hair. The shadowbox display featuring locks of hair from both George Washington and Martha Washington, presented in an ornate circular floral frame. The lock of George Washington’s grayish tan hair is tied together with a fine white thread and displayed within a locket-style bezel, while the ample strands of Martha Washington’s light gray hair are loosely held in a similarly ornate frame. Both are mounted on a blue navy felt base between a gilt American bald eagle, which has raised wings, a shield with 13 stars and 13 stripes, an olive branch in its right talon, and three arrows in its left. Appearing beneath each lock are separate engravings of George and Martha Washington. Accompanied by extensive provenance documentation, tracing the locks through the family of Anne Aylett Robinson, the grandniece of George Washington (est $75,000+).

A remarkable Abraham Lincoln signed photograph, a large albumen portrait of the president and his son Tad, signed at the White House in June 1864, is one of only three known examples. This intimate and poignant image of father and son is one of the most popular of Lincoln. This exceptionally large example, unlike the more common cartes-de-visite (2½ by 4 inches, one of which recently fetched over $90,000), is one of only three known specimens of this particular size and pose. Of the other two, one is in an institution, and the other sold for $325,000 in 2002 as part of the Forbes Collection (est. $75,000+).

George’s and Martha’s hair

Original albumen photograph (3¾ x 5¼in) of President Abraham Lincoln with his son Tad, taken by Mathew Brady on Feb. 9, 1864, on its original mount (7 3/8 x 10in), signed on the mount in ink. Estimate: $75,000-$100,000. RR Auction image

John F. Kennedy’s Harvard sweater offered in the auction features a large black block-letter “H” for his alma mater that is knitted into the left breast. A label sewn into the collar is embroidered in red thread with his surname, “Kennedy.” The handsome, classically styled collegiate sweater features eight brilliant white mother-of-pearl buttons and with two sewn-in pockets on the front. The sweater comes with documentation stating it was acquired by CBS cameraman Herman Lang while shooting the network’s May 1964 interview of Jacqueline Kennedy (est. $35,000+).

George’s and Martha’s hair

John F. Kennedy’s wool cardigan Harvard sweater. Estimate: $35,000-$40,000. RR Auction image

President Andrew Johnson’s order for a day of mourning after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is a rare and important one-page document signed by the 17th U.S. president on executive office letterhead dated May 31, 1865 (est. $25,000+).

A large lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair offered in the auction is from the collection of noted Lincoln expert Frederick H. Meserve and certified by renowned autograph dealer Charles Hamilton. The lock of brown hair, tied with a white ribbon, measures approximately 3½ inches long and is handsomely displayed in a custom-made case (est. $20,000+). Such large locks of Lincoln’s hair are rarely offered.

George’s and Martha’s hair

Large lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair displayed in a custom-made case, 1860s. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. RR Auction image.

An extraordinary World War I archive is included in the sale. It is composed of the bill signing-pen used by President Warren G. Harding to adopt the “Knox-Porter Resolution” on July 2, 1921, terminating U.S. involvement in the war, plus three one-page typed letters signed by the president on White House letterhead. By declaring peace, the United States hoped to consolidate its power in the postwar world and play a prominent role in the treaty-making process (est. $12,000+).

George’s and Martha’s hair

Typed letter dated Oct. 18, 2011, and signed by President George Bush to Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. RR Auction image

Letters and documents of enormous historical significance abound in this focused auction.


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