JFK, Geo. Washington, Stephen Hawking lead RR Auction’s April 14 sale
BOSTON–R.R. Auction‘s April Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale features something for every collector, with more than 800 items available for bidding online through April 14. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
Highlights include books signed by John F. Kennedy, led by a six-volume History of Ireland book set. The first free end page of each volume is signed “John F. Kennedy” in black ink. The lone exception occurs in the sixth volume, which is signed upside-down on the final free end page, which suggests that it was likely stacked upside down at the bottom and that Kennedy accidentally signed the book believing it was right side up. The consignor affirms that this book set was purchased in Palm Beach, Florida, shortly after Kennedy’s famed winter White House was privately sold in June 2020. Given this information, and the consistent placement of Kennedy’s early full signatures, we strongly believe that this six-volume set derives from the personal collection of John F. Kennedy, the first Irish Catholic to become President of the United States.
Also on offer is a post-Revolution recommendation from George Washington. The highly unusual one-page document is signed “Go: Washington, late Com’dr in Chief of the Armies of ye U.S.,” and dated February 28, 1785. Penned entirely in Washington’s hand, the document reads in part: “I certify that Seaver was a Lieutenant of the Massachusetts Line in the Service of the United States of America, and from the testimony of the General Officers under whose orders he acted that he is brave & intelligent, and in all respects has supported the character of a Gentleman and man of honor. Given under my hand this 28th day of Febru’y 1785, Go: Washington, late Com’dr in Chief of the Armies of ye U.S.” The Revolutionary War document aided in advancing the career of an officer who would go on to command one of the first six frigates in the budding U.S. Navy. Washington’s attractive and seldom-seen heraldic red wax seal enhances its appeal.
A lot of particular interest is a rare book signed by the late physicist Stephen Hawking in the early 1970s, before his ALS diagnosis took hold. The first edition copy of The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution was published in 1973, before Hawking lost the ability to walk and write. Hawking autographs are of the utmost rarity; this example exhibits ironclad provenance.
The sale’s lineup features an original LeRoy Neiman oil painting of legendary New York Rangers centre Jean Ratelle, signed and dated “LeRoy Neiman 72” along the bottom in paint. Ratelle is rendered by Neiman in his trademark impressionistic style, showing him dressed in his iconic #19 Rangers jersey, skating towards the goal during one of his finest campaigns. In 1972, Ratelle was awarded his first of two Lady Byng Trophies in recognition of his great sportsmanship and elite play. In 2017, Ratelle was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history.
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