Top Lots: Revolutionary Americana & Autographs

Tuesday’s sale of Revolutionary Americana from the Allyn Kellogg Ford Collection, followed by a sale of Autographs, broke over 15 auction records, and doubled the low estimate for the sale as a whole. The Allyn Kellogg Ford collection, sold to benefit the Minnesota Historical Society, featured material that had been acquired in the 1930s and 40s and was well preserved for the past 70 years. At the core of Ford’s collection was a large group of letters related to Brigadier General George Weedon who corresponded with many central figures in the American Revolution. 
Autograph Letter Signed by Jonathan Trumbull Jr. to Brigadier General George Weedon, 1781, sold for $90,000.
The top lot was a 1781 letter written by General George Washington’s aide-de-camp Jonathan Trumbull Jr. to Weedon, which describes the British surrender at Yorktown. Estimated at $4,000 to $6,000, the letter ultimately brought $90,000 after heated bidding, marking a new auction record for a letter from Trumbull Jr. 
Autograph Letter Signed by David Hume to the Earl of Hertford, 1766, $48,000.
Another record-breaking lot was a letter from David Hume to the Ambassador of Great Britian to France, the Earl of Hertford. In it, the famed philosopher recounts William Pitt’s speech before the House of Commons defending the American reaction to the Stamp Act, and offering his own opinion in favor of repeal. The 1766 letter sold for $48,000.
Autograph Letter Signed by Samuel F.B. Morse, 1864, sold for $28,800.
From the Autographs portion of the sale were two letters by Samuel F.B. Morse that set auction records, bringing $28,800 and $26,400. Both concerned Morse’s development of the telegraph. In one, he discusses the Senate’s approval of funding for his experimental telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore. In the other, he discusses the choice of wording for the first telegraphed message in the United States: a Bible passage that read, “What hath God wrought?”