News | January 18, 2024

Stamp Act Defiance Placard Sold for $4.5m


STAMP ACT CRISIS [THE SONS OF LIBERTY – LAMB, John (?) (1735 ‐1800).] Autograph document signed (“Vox Populi”), [New York, October 23‐24 , 1765]. One page, 156 x 192mm., on laid paper. Estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000

The top lot of the Christie’s Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana sale, The Stamp Act Defiance Placard, has been sold for $4,527,000.

It is the earliest known documentary evidence of popular revolt against Great Britain in the American colonies and the only example in of this manuscript in private ownership. “The sale of this important artifact from the dawn of the American Revolution highlights the important role played by New York City in the events leading to 1776," said the Head of Sale, Peter Klarnet, "and the fact that the revolution began with the brave actions of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.” 

Other highlights included:

  • The earliest record of Lee’s surrender, the event that signaled the imminent conclusion to the Civil War, part of the first official set of manifolds documenting the event, which brought $882,000
  • the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Isaac de Costa, 1775, the first map of the Revolutionary War, which made $327,600
  • Admiranda narratio fida tamen, de commodis et incolarum ritibus Virginiae by Theodor de Bry and Thomas Hariot, 1590 or The Great Voyages, Part I, in Latin, which made $252,000

The sale made a total of $11,145,044. More than 15% of the buyers and bidders who participated were new to the category at Christies, and 10% of buyers were millennials. A single-owner portion of the sale, The Library of Ernest E. Keet: New France and New England, totaled $3,372,284. The Head of Department, Christina Geiger said: “We are very gratified to achieve these results on behalf of the Cloudsplitter Foundation, directly benefitting the people and environment of the Adirondacks. The success of this collection is a wonderful testament to Mr. Keet's vision as a philanthropist and collector.”