Auction Highlights: Autographs — March 7, 2024

Timed Sale | Opens for Bidding February 21 at 2 PM
Lots Start Closing March 7 at 12 PM EST

George Gershwin, Piano solo and second piano score for “Rhapsody in Blue,” Signed and Inscribed on title-page.
Estimate $6,000 to $9,000

This auction will contain property from the Forbes Collection, reflecting a keen interest in American history, world leaders, American entertainers between the 1930s and 1960s, and writers. Among the presidential items is an extraordinary copy of As We Remember Joe, signed and inscribed by John F. Kennedy to the book’s publisher, together with the publisher’s mailing list for over 250 of the 500 copies that were printed, and related correspondence. Other presidential autographs include Eisenhower, Truman, and F.D.R. Autographs by leaders in other parts of the world include sizable archives of letters by prime ministers Georges Clemenceau and William Gladstone. 

Remarkable entertainer autographs from the collection include two lots by Elvis Presley: an agreement signed with Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation for the 1961 film Wild in the Country, and a photograph signed and inscribed in the 1960s. Possibly more striking still is the complete sheet music for “Rhapsody in Blue,” printed soon after the piece’s 1924 premiere, signed and inscribed by George Gershwin. There are also items signed by Cary Grant, Betty Grable, Katharine Hepburn, and others.

Among material from other consignors are business leaders, with an autograph letter signed by an elderly and reflective Alfred Nobel to his brother in which he explains that duty prevented an earlier reply: “I’m too much of a philosopher to consider anything to be really imposing, but . . . if you have a trace of . . . duty, you slave until you drop.” Historic American autographs include John Hancock, who, as Governor, signed a document shortly after the Revolution appointing a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation (the governing body that preceded the U.S. Congress); and George Washington, who, as President of the Potomac Company, approved a sheet of accounting for the Company by signing it in 1787. 

Other categories feature a business card signed by Marilyn Monroe; an autograph musical manuscript of Dixie signed by its author, Decatur Emmett; and a valentine signed by Andy Warhol.

John F. Kennedy, As We Remember Joe, Signed and Inscribed to the publisher, with original mailing list and related correspondence, 1945. Estimate $15,000 to $25,000
(Left) Elvis Presley, Color Photograph Signed and Inscribed, “Best Wishes,”  circa 1967. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000; (right) Elvis Presley, Typed Letter Signed, accepting the agreement to perform in the film Wild in the Country, 1960. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Printed lyric sheet for their co-authored song, “Attica State,” Signed by both, 1971. Estimate $10,000 to $20,000

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