CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to fellow Founding Father Gouverneur Morris in 1792, requesting that his private chef in France be sent to Monticello, plus a signed glamour photo of Marilyn Monroe, are expected top lots in One of a Kind Collectibles’ online auction on Dec. 17. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The letter from Jefferson (below), enlisting the help of Morris in Paris, is expected to achieve an impressive $14,000-$16,000. Jefferson was inquiring about a former Parisian kitchen aid named Henri. Jefferson wanted to employ him as chef at his home in Monticello, Virginia.
In addition to being a philosopher, inventor and architect, Jefferson was also a culinary connoisseur, with a particular affinity for French cuisine. He brought his slave James Hemings to France so that he would learn “the art of cookery” and is credited with introducing the nation to French fries and many other delicious delights. It might be said that Jefferson was America’s first “foodie.”
“It is extremely rare to find any letters from Thomas Jefferson, in reference to his love for food and French cuisine,” said David Gindy of One of a Kind Collectibles.
Gindy saw in the signed portrait photograph of Marilyn Monroe, “what made her the American icon she is today.” The 1953 photo came from an estate in Montecito, which sold items of Robert Mitchum, Monroe’s co-star in the 1953 movie River of No Return. Monroe writes, “To Bob, Love & Kisses and I think you are wonderful.” It is believed “Bob” is possibly Robert Mitchum. The photo was taken by Frank Powolny, frequent photographer for Monroe, and measures 7½ inches by 9½ inches. It is expected to gavel for $12,000-$14,000.
A 1951 letter signed by Albert Einstein addresses how businessman Joseph Halle Schaffner would best donate his money. Einstein had previously suggested that Schaffner donate to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In the letter, Einstein suggests that the money instead go to the Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars which aided “refugee intellectuals of the Hitler persecution.” The typed letter should fetch $9,000-$11,000.
Liber Scriptorum is a single volume of signed stories by Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt and Andrew Carnegie, along with 106 other authors. Published by the Authors Club, the limited run of 251 copies was intended to finance a permanent building for the club. The work, which is beautifully bound and printed on Dutch hand-made paper, is estimated to hit $6,000-$8,000.
An archive of 22 letters written by pop-culture titans such as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Ingrid Bergman, Olivia de Havilland and Bing Crosby should achieve $7,000-$8,000. The letters were written about Michael Curtiz, the director of such movie classics as Casablanca and White Christmas and were addressed to his daughter, who was writing a book about her father’s life.
A signed collection of striking photographs from the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray (U.S./France, 1890-1976) is covered in a colorful pictorial wrapper. The content leaf is inscribed “To sister Dorothy with all my love.” The lot includes an exhibition notice for Man Ray’s work at the Julien Levy Gallery in April 1945 and should hit $5,000-$7,000.
Signatures of two recent presidents are included in One of a Kind’s sale. A birthday note that Barack Obama wrote as president recalls his time at Punahou School, a preparatory school in Hawaii. It is expected to earn $3,000-$4,000. A letter from Bill Clinton, that should hit the mark between $1,500-$1,800, was likely written to console his cousin, Dale Hefner Drake, after a loss.
Marilyn Monroe’s likeness makes another appearance in a large 36-by-36-inch signed print by Andy Warhol. It is rare to find the artist’s signature on one of these instantly recognizable prints, which should earn the piece a healthy $4,000-$6,000. These prints were named Sunday B Morning and were created in 1970 from the original silkscreens.
A Buddy Holly signed copy of America’s Greatest Teen-Age Recording Stars program should gavel for $2,000-$3,000. The 24-page program, which contains signatures from 10 other performers, is from the eponymously named tour which Buddy Holly and The Crickets performed from Jan. 8-27, 1958. Holly’s untimely death at 22 makes his signature extremely rare.
A letter from Winfield Scott, commanding general of the Army, addressed to Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler is estimated at $1,500-$2,000. In the letter, Scott gives Butler orders to take control of Confederate-held Fort Monroe. The letter may have been crucial to the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation, as Butler would refuse to return slaves who had escaped to the fort.
A framed commission from 1781 includes John Hancock’s distinct, bold signature. At the time, Hancock was governor of Massachusetts. The commission appoints John Bacon to captain in the Massachusetts militia and includes the signature of Secretary of the Commonwealth John Avery. Despite some separations and staining, the item should sell for $2,000-$3,000.
To receive a free catalog or more information about the auction, contact One of a Kind Collectibles at 800-570-7273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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