Swann kicked off its fall season in grand style with the first installment of The Eric Caren Collection: How History Unfolds on Paper. This sale–just a portion of Caren’s vast and ever-growing collection–featured printed, manuscript and photographic documentation of great events from American history and beyond, including posters, pamphlets, books, maps, newspapers, and broadsides from the 16th through 20th centuries. During the preview, one collector was spotted viewing both a 1546 eulogy of Martin Luther and a packet of 1940s press photos of the Collyer brothers, the famed Manhattan hoarders.
The top lot was King Charles II’s letter calling for Edmund Andros to take possession of New York from the Dutch, sometimes called “The Birth Certificate of New York.” It sold to Seth Kaller, Inc. of White Plains, NY, a leading Americana dealer, for $120,000. He also won several other important lots, including a Thomas Edison archive ($14,400) and a rare official printing of James Madison’s Virginia Resolution ($11,400).
The first printed baseball scorecard, from a game played in Philadelphia in 1866, sold to a collector for $36,000, against an estimate of $5,000-7,500. It was helped by an article in the sports section of the Philadelphia Inquirer which ran the day before the auction. Among the books in the auction, a 1677 Boston first edition of Hubbard’s Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians brought $24,000, and a first English edition of Exquemelin’s Bucaniers of Americabrought $11,400.
Newspapers were another strength of the sale, which will not be a surprise to anyone who has followed Eric Caren’s career. Nine single issues of newspapers brought at least $3,000 each, led by a 1765 issue of the Boston Post-Boy regarding protests against the Stamp Act, which sold for $19,200.
Among the many photographs in the sale, the top lot was a group of 5 cabinet card photographs of the Dalton Gang (four of them in their coffins), $8,400. The top poster in the sale was an early Buffalo Bill piece that brought $6,720.
At least two significant auction records were set. An illustrated Philadelphia broadside titled “Remarks on the Slave Trade,” brought $14,400–a record for any of the many engravings of the famous slave ship Brooks. A well-preserved copy of The Arraignment, Tryal, and Condemnation of Captain William Kidd, for Murther and Piracy, 1701, brought a record $7,200.