Auctions | April 8, 2013

The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector, Part II, at Profiles in History

NEW YORK—April, 2013—Profiles in History, run by Joe Maddalena, is proud to announce the auction of The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector Part II on May 30th. A selection of the letters and manuscripts will be on display at Douglas Elliman's Madison Avenue Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue, April 8th to April 16th from 11am to 6pm. The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector Part I was a blockbuster sale with a letter by Vincent van Gogh selling for $336,000 and a Thomas Jefferson letter selling for $300,000. Part II promises to be even bigger.

At Douglas Elliman's Madison Avenue Gallery the letters on display will include letters from George Washington, one in which he looks to hire Negro slaves as laborers, pictured left. An emotional letter by Thomas Jefferson, to a Mrs. Katharine Duane Morgan, pictured below, in which he states, "I did what I could, and now acquiesce cheerfully in the law of nature which, by unfitting us for action, warns us to retire and leave to the generation of the day the direction of it's own affairs." There will also be a collection of Dwight D. Eisenhower letters to his wife Maime chronicling World War II. Eisenhower writes about everything from how he hates the Germans to his reaction to seeing the concentration camps.

Other highlights on display include a letter from Ernest Hemingway to a Mr. James thanking him for his work on Old Man and the Sea; an original signed patent application drawing by Thomas Edison of his light bulb; a Karl Marx letter in English to John Swinton; a letter from Charles Darwin to an Italian scientist regarding research on chimpanzee skulls; two leather bound albums of photographs from the second and third time that Hitler and Mussolini met face to face, and many many others.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for additional announcements and highlights of the upcoming auction, The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector Part II.


Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the world's largest auctioneer & dealer of original Hollywood Memorabilia, historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts. Born into a family of antiques dealers in Rhode Island, Joseph "Joe" Maddalena learned early on how to turn his passion of collecting historical autographs into a career. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, Joe pursued his passion to become a full-time dealer of historical documents, and opened his first office in 1985. Profiles in History has held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia and own virtually every Guinness Book record for prices of original screen-used memorabilia.  Highlights from their previous auctions include the "Cowardly Lion" costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); Steve McQueen's "Michael Delaney" racing suit from Le Mans  ($960,000); From the history-making Debbie Reynolds Auction in June 2011, Profiles in History sold the Marilyn Monroe "Subway" Dress from The Seven Year Itch for $5.52M and the Audrey Hepburn Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady for $4.44M. In February 2012, Profiles in History arranged the sale of a pair of Judy Garland screen-used Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz  to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In addition, Joe Maddalena is the star of Hollywood Treasure on Syfy, which takes viewers into the fascinating world of showbiz and pop culture memorabilia. For more information visit