BOSTON – RR Auction will celebrate Presidents Day early with a Fine Autographs and Artifact auction Feb. 7 that features a selection of historical documents, manuscripts and correspondence representing the presidents of the United States. The fully illustrated catalog can be viewed on LiveAuctioneers.
Among items to be featured are autographs from every American president, including a variety of virtually unobtainable examples-an Abraham Lincoln land grant, a James A. Garfield autograph letter as president, and a Theodore Roosevelt speech.
Headlining the sale is an excessively rare land grant signed by Abraham Lincoln the day after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The one-page document (below right) partly-printed vellum signed as president, dated Jan. 2, 1863. President Lincoln grants 120 acres of land in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to “Margaret Donnell Widow of Eli Donnell who served in the name of Eli Donnald Private Captain Harpole’s Company Tennessee Militia War 1812.” The document goes on to note that the plat has “been assigned by the said Margaret Donnell to George H. Marsh and by him to Emma C. Stebbins now Emma C. King in whose favor said tract has been located.”
Boldly signed at the conclusion by President Lincoln and countersigned by Recorder of the General Land Office G. W. Granger. The printed “By Sec’y” text beside Lincoln’s signature has been struck through, signifying that the president himself signed the document-a highly unusual occurrence.
The rather mundane presidential practice of signing land grants was discontinued in 1833 during Andrew Jackson’s second term, when Congress passed a law authorizing the president to appoint a special secretary to sign land patents on his behalf. It is therefore incredibly rare to find an authentically signed land grant from later on. Indeed, this is the only Lincoln-signed land grant RR Auction has ever encountered, and research suggests that no other authentically signed example has appeared at auction.
A beautiful, crisply penned and heartfelt letter signed by President George Washington (below) and dated Oct. 20, 1792, is another rare highlight of RR Auction’s the Presidents Day sale.
Additional Presidential highlights include a hand-embroidered White House Flag used during four administrations. The rare and impressive official presidential flag was in service at the White House under Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan before being acquired by the consignor through a White House connection when the flag was officially retired and replaced for the incoming George H. W. Bush administration in January 1989. A nearly impossible to acquire White House artifact-seldom does such an exceptional example of presidential history become available.
Also featured: Olympic medals and torches; artistic autographs from the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec; literary letters by Proust, Kafka, Dickens, and Voltaire; and autographs of music icons such as the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Woody Guthrie. A two-page Toulouse-Lautrec autograph manuscript includes several rough sketches at the top of the first page, most likely of Cacus; five partial and complete sketches of oxen next to the stamped monogram at the top of the second page. The manuscript is accompanied by a letter from the Toulouse-Lautrec Committee confirming the authenticity of this work.
More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.