Auctions | October 17, 2011

Swann Galleries Autographs Auction

New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Autographs on Thursday, November 3 contains several fascinating items related to key figures in history. There are autographs by scientists, politicians, writers and artists, as well as a selection of Napoleonic autographs.

The sale contains a run of items related to Albert Einstein, among them a photograph of the physicist and his wife Elsa, signed by both, 1931 ($3,000 to $4,000); a Signed Photograph of Einstein at a formal affair—wearing a tuxedo—from the same year ($2,000 to $3,000); and a Typed Letter Signed, in German, offering to recommend a Jewish physicist for a university position, Huntington, NY, 1937 ($2,000 to $3,000).

There is a brief Autograph Note Signed by Sigmund Freud, a bill for 23 hours of analysis to one of his last patients on his Prof. Dr. Freud stationery, Vienna, October 1933 ($4,000 to $6,000).

An Autograph Letter Signed by Charles Darwin from December 1872 thanks an unnamed recipient for sending a book, and offers to return the favor by sending a copy of his Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals ($2,000 to $3,000).

The Napoleonic section offers a Letter Signed “Bonaparte,” as First Consul, to Councillor of State Jean-?tienne-Marie Portalis, in French, requesting a report on why certain Bishops had recently made unapproved appointments, Paris, 25 July 1802 ($1,000 to $1,500); and an Autograph Letter Signed, “Letizia good Mama,” by Napoleon’s mother to her other son, Lucien, Paris, 8 January 1804 ($600 to $900).

There are also two items related to English Napoleonic Wars hero Lord Nelson: an Autograph Letter Signed, written upon his return to London after the Battle of Copenhagen, July 1801 ($3,500 to $5,000), and an ALS to later Admiral John T. Duckworth, written two months before the Battle of Trafalgar, Merton, August 1805 ($8,000 to $12,000).

Other British items that span the centuries include a Vellum Document Signed by Oliver Cromwell, as Lord Protector, in the wake of England’s civil wars, nominating Richard Mayhew “to the Commissioners authorized by a late Ordinance for Approbation of Public Preachers . . .,” Whitehall, 19 May 1657 ($5,000 to $7,500); and a Signed Photograph of Winston Churchill in a standing pose, which is also signed by the photographer, Walter Stoneman ($1,500 to $2,500).

The American Presidents section features two clipped signatures by Abraham Lincoln, as President; two 1908 Typed Letters Signed by Theodore Roosevelt; a Signed Photograph of Herbert Hoover and his Cabinet, Washington, circa 1931 ($1,500 to $2,500); a Typed Letter Signed marked “Personal” from Franklin D. Roosevelt, as Governor, to editor of the Portland Oregonian, challenging a recent editorial claiming he is a candidate for President, Albany, 18 December 1930 ($1,500 to $2,500); and a program from the ceremony of the signing of the Oslo Accords, signed by Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, as well as Shimon Peres and Al Gore, Washington, 1993-94 ($3,000 to $4,000).

A related item is a Typed Letter Signed by Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, to Vice-President of the Zionist Organization Moses Gaster, inviting him to join the London Zionist Political Committee shortly before submitting to British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour what became the Balfour Declaration, July 1917 ($3,500 to $5,000).

The most visually appealing item in the sale is a collection of more than 120 illustrated Autograph Letters Signed by Frederick Stuart Church, bound in a single volume. Each letter is written to financier Grant B. Schley, on a variety of topics, many concerning art, and each with an illustration, mostly pen-and-ink, and mostly of animals—predominantly polar bears and lions—and women, 1913-17 ($15,000 to $25,000).

From the writers section of the sale is an Autograph Letter Signed by Samuel Johnson, showing concern for his friend Henry Thale, Ashbourne, 17 June 1779 ($7,000 to $10,000); an Autograph Inscription by Immanuel Kant, an unsigned dedication written on a blank leaf excised from a copy of his Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der blo?en Vernunft, circa 1793 ($3,000 to $4,000); a group of four early Typed Letters Signed by Ezra Pound, written to Rowfant Club member Rev. Charles Clinch Bubb, Jr., regarding private publication of his translations of Provençal poet Arnaut Daniel ($8,000 to $12,000); and an Autograph Manuscript by Jean -Paul Sartre, unsigned, 7 pages of fragmentary notes, probably from his unpublished 1964 Rome lecture ($2,000 to $3,000).

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 3.

The Autographs will be on public exhibition Saturday October 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, October 31 through Wednesday, November 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to noon.

 An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make arrangements to leave a bid or to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Marco Tomaschett at (212) 254-4710, extension 12, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is also available via
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