Top Lots from Swann's Caren Collection, Part II

New York—On March 15 Swann Galleries offered Part II of the Eric C. Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper. Caren’s collection aimed to document every important event in modern history through books, manuscripts, autographs, photographs, posters and ephemera that span the 16th century through the 1970s.

The highlights of the second sale were a scarce 1622 pamphlet titled A Briefe Relation of the Discovery and Plantation of New England, published in London before the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which sold for $55,200*; and a 1789 issue of the Gazette of the United States featuring the first printing in any form of the Bill of Rights, $31,200. A first printing of the English Bill of Rights, The Declaration of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, London, 1689 brought $7,800.

An original indictment from the Salem Witch Trials was sold to a Massachusetts collector for $31,200. The lot was discussed in a Salem News article that was picked up nationally. Collectors also competed for a broadside issue of the Charleston Mercury announcing South Carolina’s secession, $26,400; and a draft letter written by James Monroe about the burning of Washington in 1814, $5,760.  In all, seven of the top 20 lots went to collectors, a strong showing.

Institutions also did well, acquiring a nice copy of James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic I Want You for U.S. Army poster for $10,800, and numerous other lots. The College of William & Mary acquired a 40-foot-long scroll of Admiral Russell’s British naval accounts from 1692, during the reign of the original William and Mary, $2,400.

Among the surprises were the act to establish the United States Post Office, estimated at $2,500 to $3,500, and sold for $10,800; and a group of press photos of the first aerial circumnavigation in 1924, estimated at $200 to $300, and sold after heated bidding for $2,160.

For complete results, an illustrated catalogue (with prices realized on request) is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010. Catalogue and prices are also available online at

For further information, and to propose consignments to upcoming Americana auctions, please contact Rick Stattler by telephone at (212) 254-4710, extension 27, or email:

*All prices include buyer’s premium.
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