Auctions | August 25, 2011

Swann Auctions the Eric C. Caren Collection Sept. 15

New York—On Thursday, September 15, Swann Galleries will conduct a sale devoted to the Eric C. Caren Collection, which encompasses books, manuscripts, autographs, photographs, broadsides and ephemera that span the 16th century through the 1970s.

An avid collector since early childhood, Caren set out to own a representative document from every important event in modern history. Having completed that collection to his satisfaction, he began to assemble another one, freeing some of his earlier acquisitions for sale. The material offered on September 15th comprises just part of Caren’s vast collection, and is the first of three planned sales.

The highlight of this sale is King Charles II’s letter authorizing Edmund Andros to take possession of New York from the Dutch, which is basically the birth certificate of New York State, signed Windsor Castle, 30 July 1674. This manuscript, acquired as Lot 1 in the Malcolm Forbes auction in 2002, is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000.

Also from the 17th century—and also related to New York—is a partial broadside, A Speech Made by His Excellency Benjamin Fletcher, printed by William Bradford in 1693, which is quite possibly the first New York imprint, and one of only two known extant copies ($8,000 to $12,000).

Another significant broadside is Remarks on the Slave Trade, the first American broadside appearance of the famous floor plan of the slave ship Brooks, which proved to be a powerful tool in bringing many Americans into the abolitionist camp, Philadelphia, 1789 ($15,000 to $25,000).

Providing an unusual glimpse into the life of our first president is a doctor's bill for two years of service to “His Excell'y George Washington Esq.” by James D. Craik, his personal physician. This extensive Autograph Document Signed includes entries for 144 distinct services provided to Washington, his family and his slaves during the period shortly before his election as president, 1786-89 ($15,000 to $25,000).

There is a fascinating archive of 12 items from the early days of Thomas Edison's work, including his notes from the Edison Illuminating Company's Pearl Street Station in New York (the first commercial power plant in the world), an 1883 invoice to the City of New York for one month's supply of electricity to 67 street lights, as well as cyanotype photographs of his laboratory ($20,000 to $30,000).

Other intriguing ephemera includes the first printed baseball scorecard, for a game between the Athletic Club of Philadelphia and the Atlantic Club of Brooklyn, 1 October 1866 ($5,000 to $7,500); and an original mechanical plan of the Lusitania’s steam piping by its builders, John Brown & Company, which may hold some clues to the disaster ($10,000 to $15,000).

Among the many early newspapers in the sale are two concerning the Stamp Act, the 30 May 1765 issue of Benjamin Franklin’s The Pennsylvania Gazette, believed to contain the first printed American references to the passage of the act ($10,000 to $15,000), and The Boston Post-Boy, &c. Extraordinary, describing demonstrations at the Liberty Tree, 4 November 1765 ($25,000 to $35,000).

Also related to the Revolution is Sebastian Bauman’s Plan of the Investment of York and Gloucester, Philadelphia, 1782, a visually striking map providing the first and best American view of the final major battle of the Revolution ($15,000 to $25,000).

Among select book highlights are a 1677 Boston first edition of Hubbard’s Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians in New-England ($25,000 to $35,000), and the first English edition of Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin’s Bucaniers of America, London, 1684-85 ($8,000 to $12,000).
Photographs range from cabinet cards from the western United States depicting lawmen, outlaws, cowboys, and Indians to files of press photographs dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, with contemporary captions affixed to the backs.

The sale also features posters from the late 1960s and early 1970s, which capture the era of drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and Vietnam War protests, providing an affordable way to explore 20th-century history and popular culture.

The auction will take place Thursday, September 15 at 1:30 p.m. The items will be on public exhibition Saturday, September 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, September 12 through Wednesday, September 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, September 15, 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 advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Rick Stattler by telephone at (212) 254-4710, extension 27, or email: Online bidding is available via

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Rebecca Weiss
Media Relations
Swann Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
212-254-4710, ext. 23

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