PBA Galleries features Cook, Custer items Dec. 19

Black Hills expense report signed by George Armstrong Custer. PBA Galleries image

BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, Dec. 19, PBA Galleries will offer an auction of over 450 lots of rare works of Americana, travel, exploration and cartography. Included are important materials from the Richard Kelton Collection, with much on South Sea exploration, China and Capt. James Cook, and with several original log books kept by clipper ship Capt. Philip Dumaresq. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The Mike Sullivan Collection of Custeriana features original photographs, documents and signed manuscript materials of and by George Armstrong Custer (above) and associated military men and political figures. The auction will also present a wide range of historically significant books, maps, prints, views, manuscripts, photographs and ephemera.

PBA anticipates spirited bidding over significant items from the Richard Kelton Collection in exploration history. Notably, the official account of Capt. Cook’s third great voyage of exploration, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, will be available in the second edition with the plates normally in a separate atlas volume bound into the text volumes. This 1785 edition (below) includes the rare and desirable double-page view showing the death of Capt. Cook ($8,000-$12,000).

Capt. James Cook’s third and final voyage. PBA Galleries image

Other items of particular interest are the two original log books for voyages to San Francisco, China, London and other ports (1852-1854) by noted master Philip Dumaresq, recording the maiden voyages of the extreme clipper ships Bald Eagle and Romance of the Seas, on which he was the captain ($6,000-$9,000).

Log books of gold rush clipper ships. PBA Galleries image

The sale includes numerous lots of Custeriana, the most prominent of which is a Black Hills expense report for telegraph usage signed by George Armstrong Custer, dated Bismarck, Dakota Territory, 1875 and countersigned by the telegraph operator who would later break the news to the world of Custer’s death at the Battle of the Little Big Horn ($6,000-$9,000).

Among the Californiana in the sale, PBA will offer a rare 1851 lithographed bird’s-eye view of San Francisco as seen from Telegraph Hill, then called Signal Hill, from a sketch by British naval captain Richard Collinson likely made during the first half of 1850 ($6,000-$9,000).

Bird’s-eye view of gold rush-era San Francisco. PBA Galleries image

Cartographic California will be represented by an Official Map of the City of Sacramento, California, 1854, by W.S. Watson, a rare wall map created the year Sacramento became the capital of California ($4,000-$6,000). In the news, standouts include the third issue of California’s first newspaper, the Californian, Vol. I, No. 3, 1846. Published by Monterey Alcalde Walter Colton, the paper was printed on Agustin Zamorano’s Ramage printing press brought from Hawaii in 1834 ($2,000-$3,000).

Other uncommon highlights in the auction include an original watercolor by Edward M. Kern, noted as the artist who accompanied John C. Frémont on his third and fourth expeditions, of Peak Horner in southern Japan. The watercolor was made circa 1854 while on the U.S. Navy’s North Pacific Exploring Expedition, a follow-up to that of Matthew C. Perry ($5,000-$8,000).

Edward Kern watercolor of a Japanese mountain, circa 1854. PBA Galleries image

Significant signatures may be found on vellum ship’s papers signed by Thomas Jefferson just six weeks into his presidency, countersigned by Attorney General Levi Lincoln as acting secretary of state ($6,000-$9,000). Illustrated books include George Henry Mason’s The Costume of China, bound with The Punishments of China, 1800 and 1801, with a total of 82 hand-colored aquatint plates and with letterpress descriptions in English and French ($4,000-$6,000).

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific time/2 p.m. Eastern. For more information, contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or pba@pbagalleries.com.