FALLS CHURCH, Va. – A letter written by Abraham Lincoln in the early days of the Civil War, a document from 1793 signed by Washington and Jefferson; and a rare first-edition copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) are a few of the highlight lots in a Feb. 28 auction to be hosted by the Waverly Rare Books division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. Start time is 6 p.m. Eastern, and all forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live LiveAuctioneers.
The one-page Lincoln letter, framed and handwritten on Executive Mansion stationery (above), was penned on June 10, 1861, just two months after the firing on Fort Sumter. Lincoln writes to Capt. John Adolphus Dahlgren (1809-1870), asking about the possible government purchase of a new gun. He signs it, “Yours truly, A. Lincoln.” The letter should command $6,000-$8,000.
The 1793 document, signed by George Washington as President and Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State (below), regards the appointment of Thomas Benbury to “Inspector of the Revenue for Survey Number Two in the District of North Carolina,” just a week before Benbury’s death. Affixed with the Seal of the United States and nicely framed, the document has an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.
The first-edition, first-printing copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly), is expected to reach $3,000-$5,000. Published in 1852 by John P. Jewett & Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), the book includes several anomalies (example: it says “cathecism” rather than “catechism”). It has a modern, tan leather binding, with the book’s title on the spine.
Also among books pertaining to Black Americana and slavery, a first-edition copy of Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom (Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), should knock down $800-$1,200. With an introduction by Dr. James McCune Smith, the book shows the ownership inscription of Mrs. Mary Huntington (Mexico, N.Y.) and is dated 1855.
Items pertaining to the Kennedys seem to hold endless fascination for collectors. A 1961 inaugural-edition hardback copy of John F. Kennedy’s best-selling book Profiles in Courage (Harper & Brothers, N.Y.), with dust jacket, carries a presale estimate of $400-$600. The book is inscribed: “For Betty Osborn – with every good wish,” possibly written by JFK’s secretary.
Jackie Kennedy memorabilia often has more value than items directly connected to JFK, as is the case with her black lace mantilla (or head scarf), which is expected to realize $1,000-$2,000. The 60-inch by 23-inch mantilla is from the collection of Mary B. Gallagher, Jackie’s personal secretary, secretary to John F. Kennedy when he was a U.S. senator, and the author of My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy.
Two Confederate Civil War diaries are being offered as one lot, with an estimate of $1,000-$2,000. One, from 1862, is presumed to be that of Pvt. John Carpenter, who writes with clarity and immediacy about the battles of Fredericksburg, Antietam and Pickett’s Brigade. The other one, from 1865, is from Pvt. H.H. Ewbank and contains notes about the postwar period.
A first-edition copy of The Gospel According to Saint John, one of 2,000 copies printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society (London, 1804), with text in English and Mohawk on facing pages, should fetch $800-$1,200. According to the book, “The translator was a young educated Mohawk named Teyoninhokarawen, commonly called John Norton.”
A Ronald Reagan briefing sheet, signed by President Reagan and dated Aug. 11, 1988, is expected to make $200-$400. The matted sheet measures 24 inches by 18 inches and reads, “START: Are we better off with a START agreement?” Below that Reagan inscribes, “Yes. Ronald Reagan.” From the Reagan Foundation’s diary entry: “A fruitful meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
One lot containing more than 40 photographs from the Secret Service archives carries a presale estimate of $200-$400. The photos are of historical luminaries including Presidents Jimmy Carter, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Harry Truman.
For additional information about any item, call 703-532-5632, extension 575; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.