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Autographs

 

Swann Galleries holds regular curated auctions of Autographs, offering examples by well-known scientists, world leaders and influential composers, as well as manuscripts by canonical writers and important artists. The department made history on October 25, 1988, when it offered the first Anne Frank autograph ever to come to auction; in May 2016, we sold Anne Frank’s personal signed copy of Grimm’s fairy tales to an institution for $62,500.

The top lot in the department was an autograph letter signed by Phillis Wheatley to Obour Tanner, in which she discusses the American Revolution; the letter was purchased for $253,000 in November 2005. Further highlights include a Civil War album containing a page signed by 14 U.S. Presidents, including Lincoln, which was purchased for $60,000 in November 2016; in the same sale, we sold a letter signed by Connecticut Governor Samuel Huntington to New Jersey Governor William Livingston informing him that his state had just ratified the U.S. Constitution, for $36,400. A letter by George Washington to his spymaster, Benjamin Tallmadge, requesting intelligence during the Revolutionary War, reached $40,000 in November 2017.

The department also handles collections, most notably Revolutionary Americana from the Allyn Kellogg Ford Collection, which brought over $2M in 2012, and documents from the personal files of Marlene Dietrich, including letters to the actress from Ernest Hemingway, one of which sold for $18,750 in May 2017. We accept quality consignments with an eye towards good provenance and scarcity.

 

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Specialists

George S. Lowry
Director Emeritus
Marco Tomaschett
Specialist
David Rivera
Administrator

(212) 254-4710 ext. 13
drivera@swanngalleries.com View Bio

Department Schedule Upcoming|Past

    • May 4, 2017
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2446
    • Featuring a premier selection of autographs by historical figures and creative geniuses, with property from the family of Marlene Dietrich, including a letter from Ernest Hemingway proclaiming his love for her.

    • Nov 1, 2016
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2428
    • Just in time for the presidential election, we are offering a remarkable assortment of political and American autographs. How many presidents can fit on a single page? Learn more.

    • May 5, 2016
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2413
    • This auction will present a parade of historical delights, including a strong selection of presidential material, as well as Americana, scientists, writers, world leaders, entertainers and others. More information can be found here

    • Oct 22, 2015
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2394
    • This October auction will offer a strong selection of Presidential autographs, many from the Forbes Collection, as well as an unusually large group of autographs by musicians, world leaders, scientists, astronauts, artists, businessmen and others. More information here

    • Mar 19, 2015
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2376
    • Offers a remarkable selection of Americana and presidential autographs, including choice examples from the Forbes collection. Select signatures by prominent international figures, including Sigmund Freud, Charles Stewart Parnell and Valentina Tereshkova, round out the sale.

    • Nov 20, 2014
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2367
    • This auction features a variety of historically significant items, including a large group of Presidential autographs, with several items from the Forbes Collection. Autographs by authors, artists, musicians, world leaders and others will also be on offer.

    • May 22, 2014
    • Autographs
    • Sale 2351
    • A strong selection of Presidential material features autographs by numerous heads-of-state, from George Washington to Ronald Reagan. There is a Benjamin Franklin autograph letter signed, as well as signatures by noted musicians, world leaders, artists and more. 

Consignments