Date: April 22, 2010
Time: 1:30 PM
Exhibition: Sat., April 17, 10-4
Mon., April 19, 10-6
Tues., April 20, 10-6
Wed., April 21, 10-6
Thurs., April 22, 10-noon
Contact Person: Marco Tomaschett
Swann Galleries’ April 22 auction of Autographs saw strong results, with 88 percent of items finding buyers and a sale total of over $350,000.
“The market continues to show an upswing,” said Autographs cataloguer Marco Tomaschett, “with the old standby autographs proving particularly strong among collectors and dealers alike.”
The auction’s top lot was an attractive photograph of Theodore Roosevelt in his Rough Rider uniform, signed as President, 21 November 1904, which brought $15,600. The large image shows Roosevelt standing outside a tent at Camp Wikoff in Montauk Long Island, and is inscribed “with best wishes.”
Another Roosevelt highlight was a typed letter signed, with a 12-line autograph postscript also signed, to Frank T. Winslow, offering a clarification of his statement about Thomas Paine, defending himself against the charge of maligning Paine, 26 March 1918, $4,800.
Other notable presidential items included an Abraham Lincoln partly printed document signed, ship’s papers for the Barque Cornelia, New Bedford, 8 June 1864, $9,000; a James A. Garfield partly-printed document signed, an unaccomplished Postmaster appointment, $7,200; and a first edition of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Crusade in Europe, from a limited edition with a signed facsimile of the D-Day order, Garden City, 1948, $3,600.
Among other examples of Americana were a document signed by Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion, a receipt for provisions for his regiment, 7 October 1781, $5,280; an Alexander Hamilton letter signed, as Secretary of the Treasury, 29 September 1792, $4,320; and a Samuel Francis Smith autograph manuscript signed, the complete four stanzas of the song America, two pages, 12 December 1876, $2,400.
An unusually large offering of music-related autographs featured an album containing approximately 80 late 19th- and early 20th-century signatures or signatures with inscriptions from composers, musicians and conductors, among them an autograph quotation of two bars from Falstaff, dated and signed by Guiseppe Verdi, $11,400; as well as two bars on a hand-drawn stave from La Bohème signed by Giacomo Puccini, 1907, $4,080; an autograph letter signed by Maria Callas, 8 May 1962, $5,760; and an archive of over 60 items written to or concerning Russian musician and composer Myron Jacobson, $5,520.
There were two signed first editions of books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, signed and inscribed and with a small ink drawing by the author, 1922, $12,000, and This Side of Paradise, inscribed “in memory of a very (?) English, very halcyon afternoon tea, May 17, 1921,” $7,200.
Among other literary autographs were a brief autograph letter signed by Karl Marx, a request for a subscription, 8 May 1879, $9,600; an initialed pencil drawing by Robert Louis Stevenson of his home in Samoa, $3,840; and a typed letter signed by James Baldwin discussing a new work, Cannes, 11 January 1954, $8,400.
Several Albert Einstein-related lots included a bust-portrait photograph signed and dated 1929, $6,240; a typed letter signed that sheds light on the physicist’s wartime view on pacifism and conscientious objectors, 30 March 1942, $7,800; and a typed quotation regarding common sense versus science, signed 21 August 1951, $9,000.
Other scientific highlights were an autograph letter signed by Louis Pasteur, in French, with the original holograph envelope, Paris, 9 July 1897, $3,120; and an ALS by Marie Curie, thanking an unnamed recipient for helping her gain access to the Radium Institute, Paris, 14 February 1918, $4,560.