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.


George S. Lowry

Director Emeritus

Marco Tomaschett

Specialist, Autographs
(212) 254-4710 ext. 12

David Rivera

(212) 254-4710 ext. 13

Department ScheduleSee Past Auctions

Jun 17

Fine Books & Autographs

Sale 2573
Consignment Deadline: April 23 — Submit Material

Summer 2021

Focus on Women

As collectors and institutions turn their focus to the important contributions of women, Swann is pleased to feature their work at auction. We are seeking consignments that highlight the stories of all those in the community who identify as women in the fields of activism, art and design, community, education, entertainment, health and wellness, science and innovation, sport, and work. The auction will feature first editions, handwritten manuscript material, archives, and works on paper by historically significant poets, novelists, scientists, journalists, photographers, playwrights, performers and beyond. Submit Material by May 30

Summer 2021

LGBTQ+ Art, Material Culture & History

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