An extraordinary collection known as “The Telephone Cases” is a virtual archive of literature chronicling the years of litigation that ended in a win for Bell and untouchable status for AT&T until 1982, when the Bell System was finally broken up. The auction lot includes 20 original pleadings, complaints, briefs and filing documents associated with the nearly 600 cases filed by and against the American Bell Telephone Company and its adversaries. The lot estimate is $1,000-$2,000.
As is fitting for a Presidents Day auction, the 166-lot sale includes a broad array of Presidential autographs and memorabilia. In addition to documents and other materials signed by James Madison, James Buchanan and Theodore Roosevelt, there are letters and photographs hand-signed by Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and George W Bush. A football emblazoned with the Presidential Seal and signed by four consecutive Presidents – GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush and Obama – is accompanied by a letter from the original owner, Worthington W White, who was an administrative officer and executive residence usher at The White House. Its estimate is $1,500-$2,500.
An attractively framed presentation dated February 14, 1865 features an Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) signed and sealed government appointment of J(ohn) H(olmes) Goodenow to the position of Consul General of the United States at Constantinople. Additionally, it is signed by Lincoln’s Secretary of State William H Seward [who later negotiated the United States’ $7.2 million purchase of Alaska from Russia]. The Lincoln appointment is from the penultimate month of the Civil War period. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000
Another framed presentation is anchored by a check drawn on First National City Bank of New York account of John F Kennedy. The $10.71 check is dated September 27, 1961 and made payable to Bethesda Engravers as payment for the engraver’s plate used to print JFK’s inaugural invitations. Handwritten by White House staffer Pamela Turnure, the check was then hand-signed by Kennedy. The framed grouping includes the actual engraver’s plate, an inaugural invitation and a letter on White House stationery. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000
In addition there are two important lots tied to women’s suffrage. The first is Ida Husted Harper’s 2-volume set titled Life And Work of Susan B Anthony. Published by Bowen-Merrill Co., in 1898 and 1899, the set is dated and inscribed by Anthony to her cousin, Mrs. Sarah Anthony Burtis, who assumed the post of acting secretary at 1848 Rochester Women’s Rights Convention. Estimate $800-$1,200. The second lot consists of a 4-volume set of books titled History of Woman Suffrage by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage. With lengthy personal inscriptions by Anthony and illustrated with steel engravings, this sought-after set is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.