Thomas Jefferson’s set of Aeschylus tragedies leads Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts sale Feb. 6

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PHILADELPHIA — A seven-volume set of Aeschylus tragedies specially made for President Thomas Jefferson is the highest-estimated lot at Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts sale scheduled for Tuesday, February 6. The complete sale catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Jefferson wasn’t just a book collector; he enjoyed creating unique volumes from original editions that suited his reading style. Beginning in March 1820, Jefferson tasked Philadelphia-based bookseller John Laval (1769-1839) to acquire different editions of Aeschylus for the express purpose of constructing this multilingual set. It features translations in Greek, French, English, and Latin, and has numerous notations throughout, presumably in Jefferson’s hand. The set also includes an ownership inscription from New York politician and attorney Gulian C. Verplanck on the front endpaper in the first volume, which reads: “Bought at the sale of the Library of Thomas Jefferson. Washington March 3d-1829. The volumes were compiled by himself and bound by his direction. This mode of binding together translations commentaries &c being a favorite with him. Many of the classics in the Library of Congress are examples of it. G.C.V.” The set carries an estimate of $80,000-$120,000.

John Hills was one of the foremost cartographers of the American Revolution and one of the leading mapmakers of the United States’ first capital, Philadelphia, following independence. He served in the British Army as a cartographer during the Revolutionary War, but resigned in 1784 and remained in America. In 1796, with the support of Philadelphia mayor Matthew Clark, Hills completed this map, which has come to be considered ‘the most important survey of the city of the Post-Revolutionary generation’ and which is, according to the Stanford Libraries, “today a landmark of early American urban cartography.” Notably, this map was part of the Martin P. Snyder collection, the famed Philadelphia historian. Only one other example of this map has appeared at auction since 1990. It is estimated at $12,000-$18,000.

Nineteenth-century monographs with color plates of animals and birds remain a strong category among collectors, having been pursued and preserved for more than a century. Color plates, or color images, were extremely novel in the early to mid-19th century, and acquiring a book that featured them was an expensive endeavor. The best surviving examples come from ornithologists such as John Gould, an English scientist and author who famously identified the birds that would become known as Darwin’s finches (Charles Darwin would cite Gould’s work in his seminal book On the Origin of Species)A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America is Gould’s fourth work and was published between 1844 and 1850. This example is a “handsome copy” according to Freeman’s, and has an estimate of $10,000-$15,000.
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Seven-volume collection of the works of Greek tragedian Aeschylus from the library of President Thomas Jefferson, estimated at $80,000-$120,000 at Freeman’s.
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John Hills, ‘This Plan of the City of Philadelphia and it’s Environs’ map, estimated at $12,000-$18,000 at Freeman’s.
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John Gould, ‘A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America,’ estimated at $10,000-$15,000 at Freeman’s.
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From Americana to Renoir paintings, Thomaston Place’s Nov. 10-12 sale has it

Federal period Sheraton sideboard made for U.S. Navy Captain Joseph Whitmore of Newburyport, Massachusetts, estimated at $6,000-$8,500 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

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THOMASTON, Maine – A printed silk broadside recording Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address to Congress of March 4, 1801 forms part of Thomaston Place Auction GalleriesAutumn Majestic Sale, taking place Friday, November 10 through Sunday, November 12. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Printed by in Boston by William Pechin, it is one of only four recorded copies on silk known to exist. Jefferson gave his address in ‘Washingtin City’, in the Congressional Hall (the only completed room in the new Capitol building), using his 1,725 words to plead for unity among the new country’s factional politicians. He famously declared, “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names, brethren of the same principles. We are all Republicans”.

Many more similar ink-on-silk printings survive of Jefferson’s 1805 speech for his Second Inauguration. These were available by subscription and published in quantity by True & Parks of Boston. However, this 12 by 15in broadside from 1801 has an estimate of $7,000-$9,000.

A fine example of Federal period furniture appearing in the sale lineup is a Sheraton sideboard made for U.S. Navy Captain Joseph Whitmore of Newburyport, Massachusetts. As a young man, he was injured at Bunker Hill, and endured a mutiny and a plague of yellow fever while on the U.S.S. Warren in Havana harbor. His son, also named Joseph, opened the Amazon River to steam navigation, for which the U.S. Congress issued him a gold medal.

The family’s sideboard, made in mahogany with unusual birch side panels, was sold in 1929 from the estate for $1,600 (about $28,000 in today’s money). It comes with the original bill of sale and an estimate of $6,000-$8,500.

Another well-provenanced piece of Americana with a Newburyport, Massachusetts connection is a carved and painted spruce eagle by local woodcarver Joseph Wilson (1779-1857). Remarkably, this 2ft 3in high architectural element is known from an albumen photo stereoview card showing it in situ on a building on State Street in Newburyport circa 1870. Retaining much of the original paint, it has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

The large and diverse inventory at Thomaston Place ranges from the modern to the ancient. Representing the latter category is an ancient Egyptian sculptural fragment that comes in a silver mount inscribed ‘Small toenail from colossal Statue of Ramses II. Temple of Luxor, Feb. 13th, 1899.’ According to a letter dated 1919 included with the lot, the 5in pink granite carving was collected by photographer, author and adventurer Sigmund Krausz in 1899 at the entrance to the Luxor temple. It was purportedly from one of the colossal statues of Ramses II (1279-1213 BCE). Krausz wrote a record of his time in Asia Minor, Egypt and India, titled Towards the Rising Sun, a Story of Travel & Adventure, published by Laird & Lee in Chicago, 1903.

Leading the lineup are some big-hitting oil paintings. A late Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting of a young girl with flowers in a waterside landscape comes in what is probably the original Impressionist matched corner frame. In a private collection in Maine since it was bought from a New York gallery in 1952, it is estimated at $40,000-$60,000. The scene probably depicts Cagnes-sur-Mer, where Renoir lived from 1908-19. During that period, he was in fragile health and suffering from arthritis so debilitating it required him to change his painting technique, tying brushes to his wrist when needed.

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Federal period Sheraton sideboard made for U.S. Navy Captain Joseph Whitmore of Newburyport, Massachusetts, estimated at $6,000-$8,500 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Carved and painted spruce eagle by Joseph Wilson of Newburyport, Massachusetts, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Printed silk broadside recording Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address to Congress of March 4, 1801, estimated at $7,000-$9,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Silver-mounted ancient Egyptian granite toe fragment, purportedly from a Luxor temple statue of Ramses II, estimated at $40,000-$60,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

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Pierre Auguste-Renoir, ‘Girl with Flowers, in Landscape near Cagnes-sur-Mer,’ apparently in its original Impressionist matched corner frame, estimated at $40,000-$60,000 at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.
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Yankee Stadium seat a nostalgic highlight of Aug. 16 Benefit Shop sale

Seat removed from Yankee Stadium during a 1970s refurbishment of the venue, estimated at $100-$300. Image courtesy of the Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc.
Seat removed from Yankee Stadium during a 1970s refurbishment of the venue, estimated at $100-$300. Image courtesy of the Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc.
Seat removed from Yankee Stadium during a 1970s refurbishment of the venue, estimated at $100-$300. Image courtesy of the Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc.

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. — The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. will hold its next Red Carpet auction on Wednesday, August 16, starting at 10 am Eastern time. Boasting more than 750 items, the auction ranges from documents signed by Founding Fathers and renowned presidents such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, James Monroe and Ulysses S. Grant. It will also feature a trove of baseball memorabilia that centers on the New York Yankees. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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First-edition King James Bible a special entry at Freeman’s May 3 sale

First-edition King James Bible, estimated at $70,000-$100,000
First-edition King James Bible, estimated at $70,000-$100,000

First-edition King James Bible, estimated at $70,000-$100,000

PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s Books and Manuscripts auction, set for Wednesday, May 3, brings collectors a distinguished variety of illustrated books from the collection of Nicholas Wedge, 17th- and 18th-century maps, a selection of classic titles by the likes of James Joyce and Charles Darwin, and important Americana. The sale is led by a first edition of the King James Bible, printed in London in 1611. One of only 114 known extant copies, it carries an estimate of $70,000-$100,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Lincoln pre-election note a top contender at University Archives, Apr. 19

A handwritten note twice signed by Abraham Lincoln days before winning the 1864 presidential election, most likely to his eldest son Robert, estimated at $40,000-$50,000
A handwritten note twice signed by Abraham Lincoln days before winning the 1864 presidential election, most likely to his eldest son Robert, estimated at $40,000-$50,000
A handwritten note twice signed by Abraham Lincoln days before winning the 1864 presidential election, most likely to his eldest son Robert, estimated at $40,000-$50,000

WILTON, Conn. – A handwritten note twice signed by Abraham Lincoln just days before winning the 1864 presidential election, ship’s papers from 1794 signed by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and a 1748 handwritten note signed by Benjamin Franklin are among the highlights of University Archives’ online-only auction slated for Wednesday, April 19. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Mark Twain’s typewriter could tap out a $30K winning bid at Heritage, Feb. 22

Williams No. 6 typewriter personally owned by Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Williams No. 6 typewriter personally owned by Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions
Williams No. 6 typewriter personally owned by Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, estimated at $20,000-$30,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

DALLAS – Heritage Auctions’ Feb. 22 Historical Manuscripts Signature® Auction will feature Samuel Clemens’s, aka Mark Twain’s, personally owned Williams No. 6 typewriter, one of the most remarkable American literary relics of the 20th century. It was one of the last typewriters owned by one of the most popular and important American authors, and it has an estimate of $20,000-$30,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Hail to the chiefs who grace presidential dinnerware

A James Monroe Paris porcelain demitasse cup with an engraved transferware portrait of the nation’s fifth president realized $8,500 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2016. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
A James Monroe Paris porcelain demitasse cup with an engraved transferware portrait of the nation’s fifth president realized $8,500 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2016. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
A James Monroe Paris porcelain demitasse cup with an engraved transferware portrait of the nation’s fifth president realized $8,500 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2016. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK —  Even the address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, sounds impressive. The White House in Washington, D.C., where the U.S. President lives and conducts the nation’s business, is not known as the “People’s House” for nothing. As the seat of the Executive branch of the nation, the White House is a source of fascination and pride for its citizens. Countless members of the public have toured its halls, attended holiday events such as the famed Easter Egg Roll, and seen the lavish tree displays in December on television. Its interiors and furnishings have long been of interest, particularly items used by the leaders who once called the White House home. Chief among these is presidential china and dinnerwares.

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Presidential signatures and letters enliven RR Auction’s Feb. 8 event

Letter signed by General George Washington four days before the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolutionary War, estimated at $50,000-$70,000
Letter signed by General George Washington four days before the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolutionary War, estimated at $50,000-$70,000
Letter signed by General George Washington four days before the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolutionary War, estimated at $50,000-$70,000

BOSTON – RR Auction‘s February Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction, scheduled for Wednesday, February 8, boasts more than 850 remarkable items and celebrates Presidents’ Day with a special section featuring presidential autographs, artifacts and memorabilia. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

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Early American History Auctions ably lives up to its name, Jan. 14

April 1775 mezzotint print portrait of Samuel Adams, estimated at $12,000-$18,000
April 1775 mezzotint print portrait of Samuel Adams, estimated at $12,000-$18,000

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – On Saturday, January 14, Early American History Auctions will present a sale titled Autographs, Political, Americana, Coinage, containing exceptional material from the American Colonial era through the Revolutionary War period and to the War of 1812 and beyond, most notably from the collection of Ambassador J. William “Bill” Midddendorf. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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University Archives invites you to own a piece of history, Dec. 14

NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club insurance cover signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, estimated at $8,000-$10,000
NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club insurance cover signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, estimated at $8,000-$10,000
NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club insurance cover signed by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, estimated at $8,000-$10,000

WILTON, Conn. – A NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club insurance cover from the Buzz Aldrin family space collection, signed by all three Apollo 11 crew members, and an autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson from Monticello in which he mentions Napoleon Bonaparte are a few of the expected highlights in University Archives’ online auction slated for Wednesday, December 14 at 11 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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