Auctions | April 1, 2019

Thoreau Manuscript & Warhol Watch Featured at RR Auction

Boston, MA — RR Auction's April Fine Autograph and Artifact sale features an impressive selection of pop culture material with online bidding through April 10, 2019. 

Highlights include Andy Warhol's personally-owned 14K white gold Elgin Crusader pocket watch, with a back that opens to reveal an ornate engraved filigree pattern, along with the make and model. The face is white with gold Arabic numerals and gold hands, and has an inset seconds dial. Provenance: The Andy Warhol Collection, Sotheby's, April 1988.

Warhol had an appreciation of art which translated into his penchant for luxury watches. He was once quoted as saying: 'I don't wear a [Cartier] Tank watch to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it's the watch to wear.' Warhol himself was an avid collector of watches, said to own over 300 pieces, the most beloved of which he kept in a canopy hung over his bed. This superb, sophisticated timepiece is an exceptional example boasting exquisite provenance. (Estimate: $10,000+) 

Also featured the iconic two-piece suit worn by Colonel Harland Sanders. The white two-piece suit made by Merton Chesher of Toronto, consisting of a light fabric double-breasted dress jacket and matching pleated trousers, both of which feature manufacturer tags identifying them as belonging to the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder. 

The jacket tag is sewn into the inner right breast pocket; the pants tag is located on the front inner waistband: “Name: Col H Sanders 5271L, Date: May 17/67.” Also included is Sanders’s white dress shirt made by Arrow Belmont Club with inner collar stamped: “Bard Sanforized Plus 2, 17-33CC.”  The outfit is accompanied by a black tie that was not worn by Sanders. 

A rare opportunity to own what is perhaps the most iconic suit in the history of the American fast food industry, said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. (Estimate: $5,000)

Highlights from the literature section of the online offering include a Henry David Thoreau manuscript sought-after handwritten manuscript contained within the first volume of the 1906 'manuscript edition' of Thoreau's works, one page both sides, apparently being his journal entry from August 24, 1854. In part: "They appeared to suffer more than any trees, except the white ash. Their leaves (and also those of the alders, hickories and grapes, and even oaks more or less) were so curled on the upper 3/4 of the trees, that their foliage had a singularly glaucous hue. Seen at a distance in rows along the river, they had somewhat of the same effect with the silvered tip of the swamp white oak. The sight suggested a strong wind constantly blowing and turning up their leaves. I went ashore & felt of them. They were more or less crisped & curled permanently. It suggested that, to a slight extent, occurs every year. On the Cliffs, so many young trees & bushes were withered, that from the river, it looked as if a fire had run over them." 

The sheet is professionally inlaid into a larger sheet, which was subsequently bound into the first volume of the twenty-volume set The Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Manuscript edition, limited issue, numbered 555/600. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1906. Hardcover, 6.25 x 9, 435 pages. The other volumes of the set are not included. Book condition: G+/None, with ex-library labels and markings. Autographic condition: very good, with possible reinforcement to a long diagonal crease, and old tape repairs to splitting along the central horizontal fold. 

Fifty years after Thoreau's death in 1862, his manuscripts passed through a few hands until they were inherited by E. Harlow Russell. He then negotiated with publisher Houghton Mifflin to sell the literary rights of Thoreau's unpublished journals, also selling at least six-hundred pages of his original manuscripts to the firm. These were then broken up and included, one page at a time, in the first book of each copy of this enormous twenty-volume limited 'manuscript edition' set. This example resembles the published versions of his journal from August 1854, but does not correspond exactly as the compilers took editorial liberties. Offering outstanding observations on nature, this is an ideal Thoreau piece of the utmost desirability. (Estimate: $15,000+ ) 

Other top items include a letter by Queen Elizabeth I, an important letter by Thomas Jefferson about the Bonaparte family, a rare check by Charles Darwin, and a handful of vintage Topps baseball card sets. 

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction from RR Auction will conclude on April 10.  For information, visit the RR Auction web site at