Auctions | December 29, 2020
Courtesy of Ripley Auctions

Four Volumes: General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period by Charles Burney, Printed for the Author, with three first editions, 1732 & 1739. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Indianapolis, IN – Items from the estate of the legendary British conductor and composer Raymond Leppard (1927-2019), a Grammy-winning recording artist and scholarly revivalist of 16th and 17th century baroque operas, will come up for bid in a live and online auction slated for Saturday, January 16th, by Ripley Auctions. The 315-lot auction will begin at 11am Eastern time.

The Maestro’s personal collection includes a rare and notable library of 100+ books, featuring orchestral, choral and operatic scores, historical reference material and music theory volumes, many dating from the 17th through the 19th century. Highlights include works by Bach, Rossini, Mozart, Handel, Schubert, Wagner, Tartini, Stamitz, Burney, Britten, Elgar, Stanley and others.

“In addition to his musical genius, Raymond Leppard was known for his warm character, generous heart and good humor.  This endeared him to the likes of Queen Elizabeth - the Queen Mother – Princess Margaret, Benjamin Britten, Frederica Von Stade, Dame Janet Baker and members of the infamous Bloomsbury group, among others,” said Kristen Hein, Vice President of Development for Ripley Auctions.

Most of the lots in the auction are from the Leppard estate, which also features many of his personal effects, artworks and decorative accessories. The balance of the catalog consists of fine items pulled from prominent estates and collections in the Indianapolis area. Notably, Raymond Leppard served as music conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 1987-2001.

Courtesy of Ripley Auctions

Multi-volume sets will include the three-volume Mémoires ou Essais sur la Musique. Tome Premier, Duxieme, Troisieme. Par le C. en. Grétry. Published by de l'Imprimerie de la République, A Paris, 1797 (est. $800-$1,200); and the four-volume General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period by Charles Burney, Printed for the Author, with three first editions, 1732 and 1739 (est. $1,500-$2,500).

Charles Villiers Stanford’s hand-written and scored Cushendall, An Irish Song Cycles, The poems by John Stevenson, OP 118, signed on interior and last page, July 18, 1910, has a pre-sale estimate of $500-$700; while Forty Select Anthems in Score, Composed for 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8 Voices; by Dr. Maurice Greene, Organist and Composer His Majesty's Chapels Royal, MDCCXLIII, should realize $800-$1,200.

Six Concertos for the Harpsicord or Organ composed by Handel, London, Printed for I. Walsh in Chatherine Street in the Strand, circa 1738; Amphion Anglicus A Work of Many Compositions, For One, Two Three and Four Voices: Instrumental Music, Organ, Harpsichord or Theorboe-Lute by Dr. John Blow, London, 1700; and L'Allegro il Pensieroso , ed il Moderato, The Words from Milton, The Musick Composed in 1739 by G. F. Handel, all have estimates of $800-$1,200.

Franz Schubert, Sinfonie in H-Moll "Die Unvolledete"; Musik Verlag Emil Katzbichler, London, printed by T. N. For Henry Herringman, 1673, should change hands for $3,000-$5,000; while Four Volume facsimile Musique de Gluck Operas, Publiee par M-elle F. Pelletan et B. Damcke, Paris, Simon Rechault, Editor: Alceste, Iphigenie en Tauride, Armide, Iphigenie en Aulide, has an estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

L'Italiana in Algeri, Opera Comica in due Atti, M. Gioacchino Rossini, B. Schott figli, Magonza, First Edition, before 1820, is expected to command $600-$900. Also, Benjamin Britten’s signed musical score for "Overture The Building of the House," with the composer's hand-written notes, 1967, carries a modest estimate of $500-$700.

Eight Concerto's in Seven Parts, Compos'd By Michael Christian Festing. Opera Quinta, London, Printed by William Smith, at Corelli's Head, M.DCC.XXXIX, 1739, is estimated to knock down for $400-$600; and Maestro Raymond Leppard's personal score of Claudio Monteverdi Il Ritorno D'Ulisse in Patrinia in two volumes & two acts, with Leppard's personal notes, Faber Music Ltd, London, should garner $500-$700.

Raymond Leppard studied harpsichord and viola at Trinity College, Cambridge, and conducted regularly before making his professional debut at Wigmore Hall in London in 1953, conducting his own group, the Leppard Chamber Orchestra. He soon became known for his performances of Baroque and Classical music, often conducting, in period style, from the harpsichord.

He also started writing musical scores to accompany performances of Shakespearean plays and staged productions of Handel’s opera Samson, Monteverdi’s landmark opera L’Incoronazione di Poppea and operas by the Italian Baroque composer Francesco Cavalli. Through his work, Leppard became a champion of music that had gone dormant for three centuries and revived it for contemporary audiences.

But he was a modern artist as well, conducting music for several films, including Lord of the Flies in 1963. He also conducted 20th century works by other composers, including Benjamin Britten, Virgil Thompson and Nicholas Maw. In 1976, Leppard moved to the United States, where he served as music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and as principal guest conductor of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra between 1984 and 1990.

Leppard made some 200 recordings for such labels as EMI, Decca and CBS, including one of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis’s seminal album, Baroque Music for Trumpets. It would be one of two Grammy Awards Leppard would earn in collaboration with Marsalis. In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II made Leppard a Commander of the British Empire.

Ripley Auctions’ gallery is located at 2764 East 55th Place in Indianapolis. Online bidding will be provided by and The full catalog can also be viewed at Telephone and absentee bids will be accepted. Previews will be held by appointment only, the week before the auction. To schedule an appointment, call 317-251-5635.
Ripley Auctions offers auction services for estates, collections and personal property for individuals, heirs, executors, legal representatives and commercial clients. It is a state-of-the-art global marketplace for arts, antiques, jewelry and memorabilia. Ripley Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To inquire about consigning an item, an estate or collection, call (317) 251-5635; or, you can e-mail them at
To learn more about Ripley Auctions and the Saturday, January 16th auction featuring items from the estate of Raymond Leppard, please visit Updates posted often.

Auctions | December 28, 2020
Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Bernardus Sylvanus, Untitled World Map (Venice, 1511) sold to a collector for $42,500.

New York — Swann Galleries closed out 2020 with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Thursday, December 17. “92% of the 405 lots hammered down, with about a third above estimate, participation numbers which exhibit a very interested, willing, and active market for this material,” said Specialist Caleb Kiffer.

The star of the sale was an original 1853 oil painting of a California gray squirrel by John Woodhouse Audubon, the son of John James Audubon. The work came to auction after having descended through John Woodhouse’s family, and sold for $42,500. By John James Audubon was Night Heron or Qua Bird, 1835, from Birds of America, which brought $30,000. Additional natural history included William Jardine’s The Naturalist’s Library, 1843, complete with 40 volumes containing over 1,200 hand-colored engraved plates of animals, birds, fishes and insects, at $7,800.

World cartography proved to be popular with buyers, making up nearly half of the top 20 lots by value. Bernardus Sylvanus’s 1511 world map, one of the earliest attainable printed maps to show the New World, earned $42,500; a prize example of Johannes Blaeu’s striking Nova et Accuratissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula, a seventeenth-century Dutch world map, garnered $23,750; and Sebastian Münster’s Typus Cosmographicus Universalis, Basel, 1532, with elaborate woodcut borders designed by Hans Holbein the Younger, saw $16,250.

Atlases and books with maps included Nicolas Sanson’s Atlas Nouveau, Paris, 1693, which brought $11,250; Arnoldus Montanus’s survey of the Americas, Die Unbekante Neue Welt oder Beschreibung des Welt-teils Amerika, Amsterdam, 1673, translated into German by Olfert Dapper, at $8,750; and Robert Laurie and James Whittle’s A New and Elegant Imperial Sheet Atlas, London, 1800, with $7,500.

“I was very pleased to close out the season with a strong sale of maps and atlases. Interest was wide-ranging with aggressive bidding from around the world on lots from the modest range to the more expensive. That's one of my favorite aspects of curating these sales, offering collectors at any level of experience or means the chance to find an interesting piece which they would be happy to call their own,” concluded Kiffer of the sale.

Swann is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit

Auctions | December 28, 2020
Courtesy of RR Auction

Boston — An F. Scott Fitzgerald handwritten letter to a fan in Princeton, NJ, will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction.

The four-page handwritten letter, undated, circa late 1920, to "Mr. Fitzgerald," replying to commentary on This Side of Paradise, in which the protagonist 'Amory Blaine' was based upon himself, and the character 'Rosalind Connage' was based on Zelda.

In part: "It'll probably amuse you to know that 'Amory' married 'Rosalind,' two days before the publication of the novel...' Clara' is a cousin of mine who lives in Norfolk...Of course Amory's 'I know myself' is immature & entirely false. I finished the book when I was 22 & my point of view was much more ignorantly omniscient than is is now, when I should hesitate to proclaim anything except a pessimistic optimism. Don't you think your 'socialism won't do' is a bit too certain. Seems to me it contains an echo of the 'Democracy won't do' & 'Suffrage won't do' in other ages.

Of course commercially I am at present a success—probably making as much as any three men in my class at Princeton all together yet in my dealings with either the magazines or the movies or the publishers I have joined them, as a class, dull, unimaginative, with a vague philosophy compounded of a dozen or so popular phrases. I have worked where I first left the army, as an advertising man at $90 a month and a car repairer and was extremely disgusted at being one of the exploited hogs in either hog-pen.

I can see from your letter that you are a Catholic. I was a very strong one, very nearly a priest, and then when adversity really came & I struggled out of it it seemed that it was at first myself I must look to. My favorite writers are now Conrad, Heackel & Nietche & Anatole France—of Americans H. L. Mencken.

Except for Benediction, The Ice Palace, & The Cut Glass Bowl my collection of stories is trash—to tickle the yokelry of Kansas and get enough money to live well. I doubt if I shall ever do such stuff again. 'Darcy' was Sigourney Fay, a monsignori & my best friend. When he died the church became an utterly unreal but beautiful story to me."

The letter is paired with a signed by F. Scott Fitzgerald: a matte-finish photo of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, boldly signed in fountain pen with reference to This Side of Paradise, "This is 'Rosalind,' don't you prefer her to Clara? F. Scott Fitzgerald".

Accompanied by a carbon copy of John J. Fitzgerald's two-page letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald that elicited this exceptional response, and an envelope marked "Fitzgerald Correspondence" in an unknown hand.

"Though Fitzgerald dropped out of Princeton to join the Army in 1917, his university years permanently shaped his life and career," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. "It was in this world of privilege that he devoted himself to finding his voice as a writer."

Drawing inspiration from the people he knew in real life, Fitzgerald drafted This Side of Paradise after a breakup with Zelda. He hoped it would make him a famous novelist and help win her back—a successful endeavor, as he notes that "that 'Amory' married 'Rosalind,' two days before the publication of the novel." He also makes reference to his favorite cousin, Cecilia Delihant Taylor, upon whom 'Clara' was based.

In 1919 Scribner's accepted his manuscript for This Side of Paradise on its third submission, and the book was released to wild success the following year. The notoriously acerbic H. L. Mencken, who Fitzgerald here recognizes as his favorite American writer, offered high praise for his debut as 'best American novel that I have seen of late.' (Estimate: $6,000+)

Also featured in the auction is a F. Scott Fitzgerald signed First Edition of The Vegetable. (Estimate: $20,000+)

Online bidding for the Fine Autograph and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began Dec 18 and will conclude on January 13. For more information For more information, go to

Auctions | December 28, 2020
Courtesy of RR Auction

Frederick Douglass autograph letter signed. Estimate: $15,000+

Boston — RR Auction's first sale of the New Year is led by leaders: icons of the Civil Rights movement, political powerhouses, and social activists that brought about positive change with online bidding through January 13.

Highlights include remarkable letters by Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Among them is a Frederick Douglass one-page handwritten letter to attorney and pioneering civil rights activist Albion Tourgee, who would later litigate the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case. In part: "My appointment is another step in the upward course of my race and I rejoice to be identified with it."

At this time, President Rutherford B. Hayes had just assumed office and appointed Douglass as United States Marshal for the District of Columbia—the highest political office to be held by an African American at that point. Douglass accepted the commission and became the first African American confirmed for a presidential appointment by the US Senate. Recognizing it not just as a personal achievement but "another step in the upward course of my race," Douglass remained in the position until 1881, when he was made recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia. (Estimate: $15,000+)

A Martin Luther King, Jr. typed one-page letter on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church letterhead, dated January 12, 1959. Letter to Mrs. Edmund Mahon, in full: "Thanks for your very kind letter and your encouraging words concerning my book, Stride Toward Freedom. This book is simply my humble attempt to bring Christian principles to bear on the difficult problem of racial injustice which confronts our nation. I hope that in some way it will contribute to a peaceful solution to this problem. It is certainly gratifying to know that you found the book helpful. I was especially happy to know that you are from Alabama and that your views are so thoroughly Christian on this issue. Let us continue to hope and pray that the Spirit of Christ may reign in our midst, and that we will be able to rise from the darkness of man's inhumanity to man to the bright daybreak of Freedom and Justice for all."

Published in 1958, King's first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, chronicles the planning, events, and aftermath of the first successful large-scale application of nonviolent resistance, the year-long bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. A comprehensive and insightful account, the book traces the journey of a community and highlighted King's transformative devotion to equality and non-violence. Addressed to an Alabama native and eloquently outlining the religious ideals that informed King's activism, this is an outstanding early letter by the revered Civil Rights leader. (Estimate: $12,000+)

Also featured is a Malcolm X four-page typed letter signed "Malcolm X," dated March 25, 1959. Letter to his prophet and teacher Elijah Muhammad, touching on deeply private subjects relating to his wife and marriage. Addressing the topic of his "down hill marriage," Malcolm recounts the dispassionate atmosphere surrounding his engagement to Betty Shabazz, the revelation that he may not have been ready for such a domestic partnership, and the frank disclosure of intimate marital problems: "The main source of our trouble was based upon SEX." Discussing feelings of inadequacy after her accusations of impotence, a tiring pregnancy, and worried that problems at home will have an effect on his work, Malcolm X looks to Elijah Muhammad for guidance and hopes that he will be able to speak with Betty.

This letter makes plain the type of confessional relationship Malcolm had with Muhammad, and communicates the level of discipleship he held for the man and the cause of the Nation of Islam. This tone is all the more notable given that in a few short years, Malcolm would lose faith in Muhammad—based in part on accusations of sexual misbehavior against Muhammad made by young NOI secretaries—and very publicly remove himself from the association, ultimately prompting his own death by assassination. Thanks to his uncompromising stand for social justice, Malcolm X now stands as a mythic figure of the Civil Rights Movement; this letter stands as a testament and reminder of the very human identity behind the icon. (Estimate: $40,000+)

The sale also features multiple Abraham Lincoln documents; a significant signature from Barack Obama; and several Nelson Mandela autographs.

Other top lots include an important F. Scott Fitzgerald letter about This Side of Paradise, a first edition of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, a rare Al Capone Document, a fully signed example of Nirvana's breakthrough 'Nevermind' album, and an exceedingly rare check signed twice by Nikola Tesla.

Online bidding for the Fine Autograph and Artifacts sale from RR Auction began on December 18 and will conclude on January 13.

Join us as we make history selling history in January 2021.

Auctions | December 28, 2020
Courtesy of PBA Galleries

Hot Water Music with original painting by Charles Bukowski. Estimate $5,000-8,000

Berkeley, CA – PBA Galleries announced an auction of Fine Literature – Science Fiction & Mystery on January 7th, 2021. Offerings will include over 450 lots of fine literature, science fiction and mystery books. Section One comprises a wide variety of modern literature (with some earlier works represented as well) and features a large section of scarce and early titles by Raymond Carver, many of them signed, including his first chapbook of poetry and his first story to appear in book form. Section Two showcases a large collection of the works of Ray Bradbury, with many signed and scarce pieces, as well as a wonderful selection of the works of H.P. Lovecraft and related ephemera.

Courtesy of PBA Galleries

First editions, many signed, are featured throughout the sale. A scarce first edition of Saul Bellow’s Dangling Man in the scarce dust jacket will be up for bidding (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000). Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, signed by the author on the title page, also includes a publisher’s review slip laid in and dust jacket (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). The first edition of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, the classic story of the “cynical adolescent” Holden Caulfield, is available with the first issue jacket ($2,500-$3,500). The first edition of Beckett’s existential classic, Waiting for Godot, was preceded only by the near-impossible-to-obtain 35-copy large paper edition (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000).

Other highlights include Hot Water Music, with an original painting by Charles Bukowski. Bukowski’s classic collection of stories is one of 100 numbered copies with an original painting by the author (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000). A scarce, signed limited edition of Simone de Beauvoir’s classic work, The Mandarin, for which she won the Prix Goncourt in 1954, will be on the auction block (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500). H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider is in the first volume of his posthumous works, and the first book published by Arkham House (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500). One of the most important novels of the 20th century, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, is a first edition with the dust jacket (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). The complete 36-issue run of Dell Ten Cent Books, a short-lived experiment by the publishing company in publishing short fiction, is expected to draw competitive bidding.

PBA continues to safeguard the health of employees and clients by remaining closed to the public. PBA will limit live auction participation to online or phone bidding. For more information about upcoming sales or to schedule a Zoom preview or phone bidding for a future auction, please contact the galleries at 415.989.2665 or

Auctions | December 22, 2020
Courtesy of University Archives

Letter signed by John Adams eight years after his presidency ended, possibly the longest letter by Adams in private hands, discussing the current state of politics. Estimate: $70,000-80,000

Westport, CT – A four-page manuscript consisting of nearly 2,300 words written entirely in the hand of English physicist Sir Isaac Newton, a World War II-dated letter written in English by Albert Einstein in which he reveals that Nazi leaders didn’t give much thought to his Theory of Relativity, and a 16-page letter signed by John Adams regarding British abuses eight years after his presidency ended, are just a sampling of what’s in University Archives’ next online auction planned for January 6th.

The full catalog, showing all 440 lots, is up for bidding and viewing now, on the revamped University Archives website (, as well as on the popular platforms, and Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. The sale contains rare and highly collectible items from multiple specialty categories.

These include literary (Chekhov, Dickens, Hemingway, Solzhenitsyn and others); presidential (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy and others); foreign (Napoleon, Khrushchev, Victoria I and others); science (Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Freud and others); and space (Apollo XI, Neil Armstrong, cosmonauts and the Wright Brothers). It will be University Archives’ biggest sale to date.

“We keep breaking our own records at University Archives,” said company founder and president John Reznikoff. “When we had our largest-ever 349-lot sale back in August, we didn’t expect to break that record, but just four months later, here we are, with a 440-lot extravaganza of amazing and unusual autographs, historical documents, rare books, manuscripts, collectibles, relics, coins and currency. We invite collectors everywhere to ring in the New Year with us.”

In the Sir Isaac Newton manuscript, written around 1710, the legendary physicist seeks inspiration from the Kabbalah, early Christian philosophers and biblical texts to connect metaphysics to physics, thus uniting the abstract world with the concrete world he had partly decoded by discovering gravity. The length and subject matter of this manuscript, along with its outstanding provenance, make this an exceptional find. It has an estimate of $130,000-$160,000.

There are nine lots relating to Einstein, including two typed letters and two autograph letters signed by him. In the World War II-dated letter, he wrote, “My first manuscript about relativity was not burned by the Nazis. I myself threw it into the waste-basket after it was printed judging it was good for nothing” (est. $75,000-$80,000).  A letter written in German discussing his Unified Field Theory and the behavior of matter in space and in motion was penned the year of his death.

The 16-page letter signed by John Adams is quite possibly the longest letter by Adams in private hands. In it, he opines about the state of current political affairs eight years after his presidency ended. Adams also excoriates British policies undermining American sovereignty--like the impressment of American sailors--and also lends support to his erstwhile political rival Thomas Jefferson, who was nearing the end of his own second presidential term (est. $70,000-$80,000).

A one-page letter written and signed by Thomas Jefferson to his cousin George, regarding the plantation business (“I am very sensible of your kindness in having gone beyond my draughts, which I by no means intended”) should bring $5,000-$6,000. Also, a two-page Revolutionary War-dated letter signed by George Washington, commenting on the courage of Patriot troops during the ongoing Battle of Yorktown, is expected to bring $24,000-$26,000.

Staying in the era, a four-page letter written and signed in 1759 by the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, discoursing on the inculcation of financial and moral responsibility, and other money matters, should realize $60,000-$70,000; while one page of a bifolium, dated Feb. 17, 1795 and signed twice in the third person by Alexander Hamilton, as he prepares to move back to New York after vacating his cabinet post, is expected to rise to $3,000-$3,500.

A Charles Darwin three-page autograph letter dated Dec. 26, 1876 and signed, referring to his beloved friend and mentor, Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell, is significant and enhanced by a desirable full signature (est. $6,000-$7,000). Also offered will be a generous lock (50+ strands) of hair belonging to the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, accompanied by a piece of paper inscribed, “1819 / Napoleon’s Hair / from “Mr. Captain and Capt. Nagle” (est. $5,000-$6,000).

A Civil War-dated military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln for a veteran officer of the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, who would succumb to war injuries in May 1867, has an estimate of $6,000-$7,000. British leader Winston Churchill, tasked with demobilizing military forces after World War I, sent a typed letter signed to the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, regarding black soldiers in 1919. It should garner $3,000-$3,500.

A three-page letter signed by Lee Harvey Oswald as “Your Brother / Lee” sent from the Soviet Union in the spring of 1961, should also be of interest. In it, Lee promises to return to the United States “if I can get the government to drop charges against me” (est. $5,000-$6,000). Jackie Kennedy, as a 16-year-old high school boarding student at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., has doodled a heart and dedicated a vintage black and white photograph to a chum named Betty (est. $1,500-$1,700).

A lightly shellacked D&M baseball from the 1920s, signed by many of the era’s brightest stars (including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Lefty Grove and Al Simmons), with an LOA from James Spence, LLC, is estimated to bring $6,000-$7,000. Also, a large, original signed drawing by Shel Silverstein, of a character called “Runny Babbit”, used for a 2005 book of poetry by the author-entertainer, plus a rare signed contract, should finish at $3,000-$4,000.

Lots 1-220 will begin promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time. Upon the completion of lot 220, there will be a 30-minute break. After the break, the auction will resume at lot 221 and end at lot 440.  

University Archives has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare items of this kind. It is actively seeking quality material for future auctions, presenting a rare opportunity for sellers. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that may be a fit for a future University Archives auction may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111, or email him at

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.
For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, January 6th online-only Rare Books, Manuscripts & Relics Auction, please log on to

Auctions | December 21, 2020
Credit: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2020

A rare contemporary broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence. Estimate: $600,000–800,000

New York – Christie’s presents Americana Week 2021, a series of three live and online sales comprised of Outsider Art on January 21, In Praise of America: Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints and Broadsides on January 21-22, and an online-only sale of Chinese Export Art Featuring Property from the Tibor Collection open between January 7-20.

Standout objects across the week of sales include a 1776 broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence (estimate: $600,000-800,000) as well as a fine copy of Paul Revere’s iconic engraving of the Boston Massacre (estimate: $200,000-300,000) from the Collection of Ambassador J. William Middendorf II; a Newport card table made by John Townsend (estimate: $150,000-250,000); a selection of works by Bill Traylor from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation and from the Collection of Jerry and Susan Lauren; and a pair of goose tureens and covers from the Tibor Collection (estimate: $125,000-175,000).

On January 21-22, In Praise of America: Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints and Broadsides features several distinguished collections including 35 lots from the singular collection of Ambassador J. William Middendorf II, which includes some of the most important documents and images documenting the history of the United States from its 17th century colonial origins through the American Revolution and the Founding Era. Highlighting the selection is a rare contemporary 1776 broadside edition of the Declaration of Independence (estimate: $600,000 – 800,000) as well as a fine copy of Paul Revere’s iconic engraving of the Boston Massacre (estimate: $200,000 – 300,000). These historical pillars—documents that helped fundamentally alter the course of history—are supported by a rich array of period broadsides and prints, objects that informed the world of their intended audience, while at times moving them to action. The objects in this selection not only help tell the rich and complex story of colonial and revolutionary America, they also help tell the story of those who produced them: the printers, engravers, painters, and writers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Siegmund Collection of American Folk Art features 94 lots lovingly collected over a lifetime. All of Joanne and Fred Siegmund’s purchases were joint decisions except one surprise gift for Joanne’s 40th birthday: a pair of green Windsor chairs (estimate: $5,000-7,000). Joanne’s passion and commitment to the genre was recognized with her appointment to serve on the Board of Trustees at the American Folk Art Museum in New York. The Siegmund collection shows an appreciation of self-taught artistry and includes A Pair of Portraits: A Sea Captain and His Wife, Samuel Addison Shute, possibly in collaboration with his wife, Ruth (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and A Pair of Portraits: Mr. and Mrs. Moffet by John Usher Parsons (estimate: $15,000-30,000), as well as painted furniture, weathervanes and carved objects.

The important furniture offerings include a Newport card table made by John Townsend (estimate: $150,000-250,000), a set of six rosewood nesting tables by Duncan Phyfe from 1841 (estimate: $50,000-80,000), and a carved oak box attributed to the shop of Thomas Dennis (estimate: $15,000-30,000).

The robust Folk Art section includes portraits by Joshua Johnson and significant baskets by Dat So La Lee (estimates: $100,000 and $40,000-60,000). Also featured are thirty lots of early English ceramics from the Longridge Collection, including an important dated and initialed dish with a portrait of Charles II (estimate: $50,000-70,000).

The silver section encompasses works from the late 17th century through the 20th century, highlighted by The Governor Gurdon Saltonstall Basin, an Important American Silver Basin by Jeremiah Dummer (estimate: $30,000-50,000) and an 1876 Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition: A Monumental American Silver-Plated Centerpiece Epergne (estimate: $10,000-20,000). A selection of Tiffany is led by a set of 12 American 18-Karat after dinner coffee cups, saucers and spoons and an American silver and mixed-metal vase (estimate: $10,000-15,000). The section is further anchored by the collection of Mary M. and Robert M. Montgomery Jr. which includes eight lots of Gorham silver from their Art Nouveau Martelé line.

News | December 18, 2020
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Washington, D.C. — The Library of Congress has completed a more than two decade-long initiative to digitize the papers of nearly two dozen early presidents. The Library holds the papers of 23 presidents from George Washington to Calvin Coolidge, all of which have been digitized and are now available online.

The Library plans to highlight each presidential collection on social media in the weeks leading up to the next presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.

“Arguably, no other body of material in the Manuscript Division is of greater significance for the study of American history than the presidential collections,” said Janice E. Ruth, chief of the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress. “They cover the entire sweep of American history from the nation’s founding through the first decade after World War I, including periods of prosperity and depression, war and peace, unity of purpose and political and civil strife.”

The 23 presidential collections in the Library’s holdings, acquired through donation or purchase, are of such significant value that Congress enacted a law in 1957 directing the Library to arrange, index and microfilm the papers, an enormous job that concluded in 1976. With the dawn of the digital age, the collections of presidential papers were among the first manuscripts proposed for digitization. The conclusion of this effort marks the addition of more than 3.3 million images to the Library’s online archives.

“The writings and records of America’s presidents are an invaluable source of information on world events, and many of these collections are the primary sources for books and films that teach us about our nation’s history,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We are proud to make these presidential papers available free of charge to even more researchers, students and curious visitors online.”

The collections include some of the nation’s most treasured documents, including George Washington’s commission as commander in chief of the American army and his first inaugural address; Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence; and Abraham Lincoln’s first and second inaugural addresses, along with many others.

The digitized presidential collections offer a robust set of primary resources and easy access for researchers, educators and students studying America’s early presidents.

For presidents who followed Coolidge, the National Archives and Records Administration administers the system of presidential libraries that house and manage the presidential records from President Herbert Hoover onward. The Library does not hold the original papers of all 29 presidents before Hoover, however. The papers of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, for example, are housed at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

With the digitization of papers from Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Grover Cleveland and Coolidge, the Library’s complete set of presidential collections is now available online for the first time.

Newly Digitized Collections

Papers of President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) The Harrison collection includes 69,600 items (178,479 images), with the bulk of the collection dating from 1853 to 1901. The collection contains correspondence, speeches, articles, notebooks in shorthand, legal papers, financial records, scrapbooks, memorials, printed matter, memorabilia, and other papers, covering every aspect of Harrison’s life and career.

Papers of President William Howard Taft (1857-1930) The Taft collection includes approximately 676,000 documents (785,977 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1880 to 1930. These papers constitute the largest collection of original Taft documents in the world and the largest among the Library’s presidential papers. The collection contains family papers, personal and official correspondence, presidential and judicial files, speeches and addresses, legal files and notebooks, business and estate papers, engagement calendars, guest lists, scrapbooks, clippings, printed matter, memorabilia and photographs.

Papers of President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) The Cleveland collection includes 108,200 items (192,602 images), with the bulk of the material dating from 1885 to 1908. The collection contains correspondence, diaries, messages to Congress, speeches, writings, printed materials and other papers relating chiefly to Cleveland’s presidencies and presidential campaigns.

Papers of President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) The Coolidge collection includes 179,000 documents (218,513 images), constituting the largest collection of original Coolidge documents in the world. The collection contains incoming correspondence with attachments, notes, carbon copies of outgoing letters from Coolidge or one of his secretaries, telegraph messages, appointment books and names and addresses of White House guests.

Full Set of Presidential Collections The Library of Congress holds the following collections of presidential papers and has made each available online.

  • Papers of President George Washington (1732-1799)
  • Papers of President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
  • Papers of President James Madison (1751-1836)
  • Papers of President James Monroe (1758-1831)
  • Papers of President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845)
  • Papers of President Martin Van Buren (1782-1862)
  • Papers of President William Henry Harrison (1773-1841)
  • Papers of President John Tyler (1790-1862)
  • Papers of President James K. Polk (1795-1849)
  • Papers of President Zachary Taylor (1784-1850)
  • Papers of President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)
  • Papers of President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
  • Papers of President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875)
  • Papers of President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)
  • Papers of President James A. Garfield (1831-1881)
  • Papers of President Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886)
  • Papers of President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)
  • Papers of President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901)
  • Papers of President William McKinley (1843-1901)
  • Papers of President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
  • Papers of President William Howard Taft (1857-1930)
  • Papers of President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924)
  • Papers of President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

The digitization of these collections reflect advancement toward a goal in the Library’s user-centered strategic plan to expand access, making unique collections available when, where and how users need them. Learn more about the Library’s five-year plan at

Auctions | December 18, 2020
Courtesy of Bonhams

London — A copy of the Bible bound for King Charles II, and reputed to have been used by his father Charles I at his execution on 30 January 1649, sold for £200,250. Known as the Stoneywood Bible, after the house near Aberdeen where it was kept for many years, it had been estimated at £20,000-30,000.

The sale also featured many items relating to John Chard, including: A handwritten account of the battle of Rorke’s Drift by Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers, who led the stand against the Zulu attack, sold for £175,500 at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale on 17 December. It had been estimated at £10,000-15,000. The 15 lots in the sale associated with John Chard made more than £485,000. The sale overall made £1,440,000 with 88% sold by lot and 93% sold by value.

John Chard was one of 11 men awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery during the defence of Rorke’s Drift and, at the personal request of Queen Victoria, wrote an account of the battle. The document for sale was Chard’s extensively annotated handwritten draft of his account for the Queen.

Much of the battle took place on the afternoon and evening of 22 January 1879, the fighting continuing through the night and into the following day. Against the overwhelming odds, the situation appeared hopeless – Chard wrote that “As darkness came on we were completely surrounded”. By the following morning, 370 Zulu warriors had been killed and the British forces had lost 15 men. Despite their numerical advantage, the Zulus chose to retreat, a decision attributed to respect for the courage of their opponents.   

Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts Matthew Haley said, “The defence of Rorke’s Drift was an important boost to morale after the heavy defeat of British troops by the Zulus at Isandlwana. The exceptional courage of Chard and his small band of men struck a chord with the public at the time which has echoed down the years, most famously in the feature film Zulu. Chard’s account of his exploits is a vivid reminder of valour against all odds and I am not surprised there was so much interest from collectors nor that it sold for such an impressive amount.”

Other Chard items included:

  • The Presentation Sword of Honour given to John Chard by the people of Plymouth in November 1879, a matter of months after his heroic exploits. Sold for £81,500 (estimate: £15,000-25,000).
  • John Chard's photograph album, commemorating his service during the Anglo-Zulu War, Among the 44 albumen prints are five relating to Rorke’s Drift including views of the storehouse, pontoon beneath Signal Hill and the plain. Sold for £69,000 (estimate: £3,000 - 5,000).
  • A previously unknown Portrait of John Chard V.C., head and shoulders, facing right, in the uniform of the Royal Engineers, by Alphonse de Neuville.  Sold for £32,250 (estimate: £1,000-2,000).

Elsewhere in the sale, an author’s presentation copy of Experiments and Observations on Electricity by Benjamin Franklin, inscribed in Franklin’s hand, sold for £81,500 (estimate: £20,000-30,000).

Auctions | December 15, 2020

Boston — This month RR Auction’s December specialty sale is a curated Apple auction that boasts a historic array of early Apple-related material that will be auctioned on December 17.  

Highlights include an exceedingly rare Steve Jobs signed letter offering Del Yocam a position at NeXT Computer Inc.

Courtesy of RR Auction

The two-page typed letter signed “steve jobs,” NeXT letterhead, November 14, 1991. Letter to Del Yocam, former COO of Apple who was then serving on the board of directors at Adobe Systems. In part: "NeXT is pleased to offer you employment on the following terms: - The title of President of Chief Operating Officer. - A salary of $250,000 per year, paid monthly in advance. - Participation in NeXT's great employee health plan, which includes major medical, dental, vision and prenatal benefits. In addition, NeXT is a smoking-free work environment. - You will be entitled to purchase Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand (660,000) shares of NeXT's common stock under the terms of NeXT's 1990 stock option plan… - I will support your election to NeXT's Board of Directors. NeXT offers no employment contracts, and your employment with NeXT is 'at will' and may be terminated by you or NeXT at any time."

Above the signature line is typed: "I accept this insanely great offer !!!"—"insanely great" being a famous Jobs-ism used to introduce the Macintosh.

The offer letter is signed at the conclusion by both Jobs and Yocam, with Jobs adding two handwritten amendments—"Start date to be Nov. 18th" and "All Functions will report to Del"—both initialed "sj." Jobs also initials a handwritten statement by Yocam, "Janet and I have prepaid for a South American cruise departing Feb. 28, 1992, and ending Mar 14, 1992."

"Letters signed by Steve Jobs are ultra-rare—we've been in business for more than 40 years, and this is the first that we have seen," said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Having been ousted from Apple in the fall of 1985, Jobs founded the innovative NeXT project, a computer and software company aimed at the markets of business and higher education. The first NeXT Computer was introduced in 1988 with great fanfare thanks to Jobs's marketing strategy. At NeXT, Jobs helped to develop a pioneering 'fingerless' automated manufacturing line right in Silicon Valley. He believed that keeping the design, development, and manufacturing in close proximity—all in a single plant, rather than outsourced overseas—would help NeXT out-innovate its competitors by allowing continuous improvement of their products. Although their computers encountered subpar sales, the NeXTSTEP operating system and development environment proved highly influential, forming the basis for Mac OS X. Apple purchased NeXT in 1997 for $429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock, with Jobs, as part of the agreement, returning to the company he had co-founded in 1976.

Despite signing this job offer, Yocam never served as NeXT Corporation's COO and retained the offer letter.

Also featured is a fully operational Apple-1 Computer with its exceedingly rare original box, signed by designer Steve Wozniak; an Apple keyboard signed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak with a great backstory.

Other items include computers from the collection of software pioneer Roger Wagner, materials from the collection of Apple's first COO Del Yocam, and a rare musical cue sheet from Pixar's Monsters, Inc., signed by Steve Jobs, Randy Newman, and others.

Online bidding for the Steve Jobs + Apple Auction from RR Auction began Dec 10 and will conclude Dec 17. For more information, go to