New York - Swann Auction Galleries’ September 27 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana was the highest-earning Americana auction at the house in the last six years, bringing $1.2M with 85% of lots selling. The day opened with a bustling auction room and a slew of bids for the morning session of The Harold Holzer Collection of Lincolniana and was proceeded by an equally successful afternoon session.
Top lots from noted Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer’s collection included Portrait of the beardless Lincoln, by John C. Wolfe, which brought in $40,000; a fourth edition of the famous “Wigwam Print,” the first standalone print of Lincoln, which sold for $21,250; and a commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president signed by Lincoln, 1861, which brought a record $18,750 for a printed commission signed by the president.
The Lincolniana portion of the sale set several additional records, including one for any printing of the 16th president’s famous 1860 Cooper Union address at $5,000. Winfred Porter Truesdell’s important reference work, Engraved and Lithographed Portraits of Abraham Lincoln, 1933, brought $4,000; an Andrew Johnson impeachment trial ticket sold for $2,125; and Victor D. Brenner’s 1907 plaque, which served as the model for the Lincoln penny, was won for $4,500.
The sale did not slow during the afternoon session: the top lot of the auction was Francis W. de Winton’s diary, containing notes on pow-wows with Indians during an official tour of western Canada, which sold for $65,000.
Latin Americana was successful in this sale. The selection was led by Juan de la Anunciacón’s Sermonario en lengua mexicana, Mexico, 1577, a first edition book of sermons in Nahuatl, bringing in $30,000. Maturino Gilberti’s Thesora spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá, 1558, boasted $18,750; Juan de Palafox y Mendoza’s Historia real Sagrada, luz de principes, y subditos, 1643, sold for $11,250; and Juan Alonso Calderón’s Memorial historico, juridico, politico de la S. Iglesia Catedral de la Puebla, circa 1650, at $10, 625.
Among many institutional bidders, William & Mary College won a collection of letters by Louise E. Blackmar, a Methodist missionary in India, to her stateside siblings, 1873-82. The Society of the Cincinnati’s library won a pair of letters by Charles McEvers describing unrest and British artillery fire in 1775.
Rick Stattler, Director of Printed & Manuscript Americana at Swann Galleries, said of the sale, “This was one of the most successful sales in the history of Swann’s book department. The Holzer collection finished above the high estimate in the morning session, and the afternoon session brought $969,100, on its own merits, it would have been an exceptional Americana auction.”
Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana department holds sales twice annually with an additional specialized African Americana auction held in March. Swann Galleries accepts consignment on a rolling basis.
Image: Lot 179: Francis W. de Winton, notes on pow-wows with Indians during an official tour of western Canada, 1881. Sold on September 27, 2018 for $65,000. (Pre-sale estimate: $15,000-25,000)