- From the Publisher
- Ford’s Theatre Ticket Voucher
- A Cup Half-Empty
- Who Were the Lincoln Life Guards?
- Kepi Controversy
- Primary Source Material: Manuscripts
- Overlooked Evidence: Lincoln in Pioneer Chicago
- “THE UNION Is DISSOLVED” The Charleston Mercury Broadside: Points of Authenticity and Variations
- Lincoln Letter Fraud on Ebay
- What He Really Thought of Lincoln: The Discovery of an Unpublished Letter by William F. Herndon
- The Sanitary Fair’s Gifts to President Lincoln
- Behind the Scenes At Federal Hall
- In The Marketplace
- LINCOLNPHILE (book reviews)
- The Annotated Lincoln
- Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies
- Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History
- “Lincoln” Hits the Screens
- We Have The War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860-April 1861
- Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War
- President James Buchanan and the Crisis of National Leadership
- Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln
- Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President.
- Abraham Lincoln: The Image of His Greatness.
- Letters to the Editor
- The Obvious Lincoln
- DeWitt Deaccession Debate
- Fake Lincoln Endorsement
- Historical inaccuracies found in CDV
- More on the Lincoln Avengers
- Cartoon Artist Identified
- Kepi Commentary
- An Item in Search of a Story
- Show & Tell
- Replicas For Sale
- Dueling Blogs
- Lincoln Artwork or Just Artwork?
- Devil with a Blue Dress On
- Breyer Model Horses
- Kudos on the new site!
- This daguerreotype looks like Lincoln, but is it Lincoln?
- What Is Lincoln’s Embalmer Worth?
- New Lincoln Stuff on the Market
- Rail Splinters
- Suspect Lincoln
- A Note from the Great Beyond
- ‘A. Lincoln’ Money Pit
- Added Cachet Value
- A Constant Flow of Fakes
- Problematic Copy Images
- Fraudulent Tintype
- If Only It Were Real!
- Rip-Off Ribbons
- Bogus Ballot
- “Ay, tear her tattered ensign down”
- Legit and Illegitimate Theater: The Ford’s Theatre Ticket
- Implausible Provenance
- Twice As [Not] Nice
- These Have Age, But Not Enough
- The Real and the Unreal
- Great Finds!
In the Marketplace: 2013
International Autograph Auctions, Ltd. of Nottingham, England held an auction on December 14th. We spotted an interesting sketch of Lincoln, described thusly:
WHALE JAMES: (1889-1957) English Film Director of Frankenstein (1931) and other horror films. An excellent original pencil drawing, with watercolour additions, signed (‘J. WHALE’) and drawn by Whale, one page, 4to, n.p. (London?), 1921. Whale has executed a full length study of actor William J. Rea in costume as American President Abraham Lincoln. Signed by Whale at the foot of the drawing and additionally annotated in his hand at the head of the page, ‘William J. Rea as Abraham Lincoln at The Lyceum’. Professionally lightly mounted and matted in cream and framed and glazed in a pale wooden frame to an overall size of 12.5 x 15.5. Autographs of Whale are extremely rare in any form and this is a particularly attractive and desirable example. Some very light age toning to the left edge and a few minor stains to the lower right corner, none affecting the drawing or signature. Whale began his career as a cartoonist although very soon moved into the world of theatre as an actor, set designer and stage director. The present drawing was made by Whale while working on a production of John Drinkwater’s drama Abraham Lincoln at The Lyceum Theatre in 1921.
It sold for a “whale of a price”… $1,760.
A sophisticated political collector listed a somewhat scarce Lincoln & Johnson back-to-back ferrotype on eBay. While not the most desirable type, its pristine condition and original red ribbon elevated it to special status. Eleven bidders vied for it, resulting in a strong price of $1,925.
Omaha Auction Center sold a Gutzon Borglum plaster bust of Lincoln on November 24th. It measured 7 3/4″ high and was signed by the artist and dated 1912. It crossed the block for $1,100. The buyer was obviously no “chiseler”!
Heritage Auctions in Dallas had their semi-annual Americana & Political auction on November 23rd. There was a great selection of Lincolniana., more so than usual. An example of O-16, measuring 5 1/4″ x 7″, taken by Samuel Fassett on October 4, 1859, was housed in a period frame and marked on the verso: “Property of Samuel M. Fassett personal [copy]“. It realized $4,062 and would have gone higher but for condition issues.
A pair of Lincoln banners were offered that originated in Providence, Rhode Island, being consigned to the sale by descendants of the original owners. The larger one measured 46″ x 40″ and was produced “…by a number of the Ladies of Providence” for the Providence Republican Club. It sold for $32,500.
A smaller banner (36″ x 24″) from the same consignment simply read: “Eternal Vigilance is the price of Liberty”. The price of this banner was $3,750.
A George Clark ambrotype, holed at top with a red, white and blue ribbon threaded through, made an even $10,000. This was the 1/2 length pose. It also comes with a head & shoulders “close-up”. By coincidence, another George Clark ambrotype surfaced a couple of weeks prior at a Skinner’s “Discovery” sale, appropriately named, as a New England dealer and a Lincoln specialist both “discovered” the gem and battled it out. The dealer prevailed at $10,200, but we suspect he did not leave himself room to make a profit.
An example of the Leonard Wells “nude” bust of Lincoln, originally purchased from the inaugural “Railsplitter” auction of 1995, crossed the block for $18,750, far outpacing inflation.
Finally, a diminutive 1864 ferrotype “flag” stickpin, formerly in the Joe Brown collection, was bid up to $3,750, approximating the same amount it sold for when last auctioned. In today’s economic environment, items “holding their own”, value-wise, is perhaps the best we can hope for. We are aware of a McClellan mate, likewise unique, in a Kentucky collection.
Skinner’s held a manuscripts sale in Boston on November 17th. We spotted two items of interest. The first was a terrific Jefferson Davis letter written four days after South Carolina seceded from the Union. It was written while Davis was still a member of the U.S. Senate and before the secession crisis started to snowball. Here is the Skinner write-up, in full: Davis, Jefferson (1808-1889) Autograph Letter Signed, 24 December 1860. Three pages, on a Carson’s Congress stationery bifolium, with the original envelope. To John W. French, written from the Senate Chamber, expressing his dismay at the unfolding of political events, i.e. the December twentieth secession of South Carolina, and impending secession of Mississippi. The envelope toned with tears, the letter clean, with folds, 8 x 5 in. “I would have written to you often if my heart had been less sad, if hope had left me one ray to guide me towards the end we both desire. Necessity confronts me, and my duty is to meet the event which I have no power to control. Whatever of good it remains for me to do, whatever of power I have or may bear rests upon the confidence felt in me as a Southern man who will sacrifice everything for the Union, save the rights, the security, and honor of my constituents. Proud of their confidence, I am insensible to any inducement to depart from the path I have trodden during the trials which gave me the regard I possess in the breasts of the people of Missi[ssippi].” Notably, Davis first wrote the word “union” beginning with a lower case u, and then went over that original inscription, replacing the small u with a bold upper case letter. It sold for $6,600.
The other item was the two-volume set of Alexander Gardner’s “Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War” with 100-tipped in photographs. It crossed the block for $192,000.
Tom French published his second issue of the “USAmericana” mail auction on November 13th. It was actually the 25th auction of political Americana for the affable Californian. There was an excellent selection of 19th century political items. A single portrait Lincoln Brady ribbon with the notation “Three Chears [sic] for Old Abe” sold reasonably for $2,185.
A gilded brass star stickpin for Lincoln made $1,380.
Selling for identical prices of $4,025 were a figural eagle torch in excellent condition and an unlisted Douglas ribbon in red. Prices were mixed and we detected some softness in sheet music & songsters. Plus, anything with a defect, serious or not, seemed to perform under par. But, the stuff we wanted for our own personal collection was bid through the roof!
Wes Cowan had a sale on November 15th. A super rare and desirable Lincoln Wide Awake portrait flag was offered with a ridiculous estimate of $10,000-$15,000. These have sold for as high as $70K in the past, but “those were the days” and, this time around, it went for a “reasonable” $43,700. The very next lot was an unusual Wide Awake ribbon from Marshall, Michigan. With some minor faults, it sold for $1,725. Keep your eyes open for wide awake stuff and don’t get caught napping!
An eBay vendor purchased the contents of an attic in Chillicothe, Ohio. When sorting through his purchases, he found a Lincoln & Hamlin “Republican Banner for 1860″ hand-colored print “hiding” in the pages of a book. It had insect damage, some mildew and minor abrasions, but the colors were extremely vibrant. A prime candidate for restoration or “creative framing”, it sold for $1,948. Sounds like this could be the pilot for a new reality TV series!
This very ornate G.A.R. Lincoln badge was listed on eBay with a Buy-It-Now price of $425. Not only was the badge over-the-top, so, apparently was the price!
Freeman’s of Philadelphia had an Americana sale on November 13th. It contained a very fine Lincoln funeral item. The piece had previously been offered on eBay where it “sold” for $1,000, but the owner didn’t like the price and refused to consummate the transaction. It now resurfaced with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. We reprint the catalog entry in full:
Silver bullion tassel, spangled bullion stars, bullion fringe and wool from Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train 1865. Walnut shadow box contains tassel, three stars, bullion fringed black crepe wool, and wool with self-fringe; together with a printed mourning ribbon bearing the initials “U.S.M.R.R. Alexandria, VA” and a portrait of a beardless Abraham Lincoln. H: 15 1/2 in. W: 11 1/4 in. PROVENANCE: Sidney D. King, West Pittston, Pennsylvania. Lot accompanied by letter, dated February 16, 1902, by King in which he describes the building of a railroad car for the use of President Lincoln: “The car was built by the authorities of the U.S. Military R.R. a name which covered parts of the Manassas Gap, the Loudon and Hampshire and the Orange and Alexandria railroads which were confiscated by the government. The headquarters, roundhouse, car shops and machine shops were inside the stockade at Alexandria, VA and under the charge of Colonel D.C. MacCallum. I was assistant M.C.B. at that time, was in the shops constantly while the car was being built….It was really magnificent and every available convenience was used….When the car made its first real journey, that from Washington to Springfield bearing the dead body of the President to its final resting place, it was elaborately draped in black cloth with silver bullion fringe, silver spangled stars and large silver tassels about nine inches long and three in diameter. There were also many black tassels used about the biers on which rested the two coffins (the president’s and that of his son Tad). These funeral trappings were removed on the return of the car to Alexandria and divided up as relics. I got one of the large silver tassels and some of each of the other decorations and put them in a case made of the same materials as the car…It is to be hoped the plan for preserving the car may be carried out for it is a genuine relic of war time even if it did not go to the front and it seems to me the resolute self-denial of the President in not using it during his lifetime, and his one journey in it, when his wearied body was past the need for earthly luxury are striking incidents in even such a notable career as that of Lincoln.”
This time around, the result was no different. No one was willing to pay a price that the seller liked, so let us bow our heads as the funeral march is played.
PBA Galleries of San Francisco held a book and manuscript sale on October 24th that included an extensive array of African-American material. We noted a 34-page pamphlet issued in 1865 that dealt with a group of African-Americans who planned to erect a monument to the martyred President. They apparently met on the White House grounds in an effort to raise awareness and money for the project. The souvenir booklet reprints letters addressed to the committee as well as a speech given by Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson. It realized $360.
Talk about ugly! Just in time for Halloween, an eBay seller is offering this 13″ x 8″ wax plaque of Lincoln for $75 Buy-It-Now or best offer. It weighed 13 pounds. Anyone got a match?
An eBay seller offered this 24 1/2″ copper wall plaque featuring a portrait of “Abraham Lincoln”. It was unmarked, but likely of French origin. The Buy-It-Now price was $1,499.
Swann Galleries in New York held a manuscripts sale on October 10th. A copy of the desirable “Charleston Mercury The Union is Dissolved!” broadside extra was offered with an intriguing estimate of $10,000-$15,000. It made one hope that perhaps the market for these has peaked and started to soften. Pure illusion! It was hotly contested and sold for a very strong $37,500. We are aware of an unique variety of this historic extra issued by the Abbeville [SC] Banner that utilizes the same type fonts and layout. Abbeville was the hometown of John C. Calhoun. It may be that the Charleston Mercury and the Abbeville Banner had shared ownership, thereby accounting for the two varieties.
An Abraham Lincoln ALS was listed on eBay by an unsophisticated seller who said it was part of an estate that contained many old documents. Lincoln wrote it on June 4, 1860 to Elias W. Leavenworth, a New York Republican. According to the Lincoln Log, Lincoln answered seven letters that day. This [eighth] example is unrecorded. In it, Lincoln admits he can’t answer all the letters that he was receiving, but felt compelled to do so in Leavenworth’s case, given the good news that was being conveyed. We can only surmise that this good news had something to do with Lincoln’s chances of carrying the Empire State in the general election. The seller’s guarantee of authenticity and the offer of a refund instilled confidence in the bidders, bolstered by the obvious fact that it was a real document. It did rather well, selling for $11,600.
Imagine his surprise when someone bought a box of old family photos at an estate sale only to discover that it contained an unpublished photo of Lincoln and members of his Cabinet at a campaign stopover during the election of 1864! (Have you stopped laughing, yet?) What’s the first thing you do? You guessed it! List it on eBay for an astronomical price, make some wild, unfounded assertions and wait for your ship to come in! The silver print photo measured 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and was affixed to a board. Silver prints generally date from the 1890-1920 period; however, given the style of clothing, this was probably a copy image of a Civil War era photo. It shows a group of men on a platform with spectators in the foreground. The vendor was able to identify Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens and five members of Lincoln’s Cabinet, including former Secretary of War Simon Cameron. He suggested that eBay’ers might recognize some that he had missed. Sure… why not? Everybody can join in the fun! His research did not reveal the fact that Lincoln did not actively campaign in 1860 or 1864 and there are no known photographs of him posed together with Cabinet members. He never even posed with the Hellcat, his wife. It was offered for $125,000, or best offer. It’s a shame nobody has paid his price. Such high levels of scholarship deserve to be rewarded handsomely. We ought to send this guy to Congress. He’d fit right in!
A small, hand-painted, cast metal statuette recently sold on eBay for a Buy-It-Now price of $24.99. If anyone has any more information on it, please let us know. In the meantime, we are posting an image plus the highly erudite and well-researched description of the vendor which, though somewhat atypical, should serve as an exemplar for all listings on that site:
“This is a nice figer of abe Lincoln having his photo taken. And I gess the outher guy is that famous civil war photographer grandbell or Gardner???..im not shour..but the peace Is stamped 1920 on bottom..see 3rd photo..has a good aged look to it..and is in grate shape..and it has some weight to it..not some cheap remake..thanks for looking..real nice paint job..is a little chipped in some spots..but realy nice for being 90 years old.”
The most anticipated event since the 1999 sale of the Andrew Zabriskie Collection occurred September 19th-20th in Philadelphia. Stacks-Bowers Galleries of New York City conduced part XXIV of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection during the annual Whitman Coin Show. Ford, who died in 2005, was considered perhaps the greatest scholar in the field of numismatics, especially in the area of tokens and medals. As a teenager in the 1930′s, he worked for Stack’s then, following military service in the Intelligence Division during World War II, he went to work for the New Netherlands Coin Company. His services as a cataloger were in demand. He wrote many scholarly articles and gave erudite lectures and presentations. He used his knowledge to good effect, spotting “diamonds in the rough” which he scooped up. He was involved in the sale of several major collections. He also was an aggressive buyer at auctions when such collections were dispersed. He had an interest in the political series. It was rumored he had 400-600 ferrotypes. The collection was sold over the course of several years but, after twenty-three installments, no ferrotypes appeared. The family had decided to retain these “lesser pieces” as a reminder of the collection. Finally, they decided to sell the last remnants which Stack’s offered in a two-session event. The collection covered material from Benjamin Franklin & Lafayette to FDR. The strength of the collection was the tokens & medals, including one rarity after another, many in multiple metals including silver. Many of the pieces had been acquired at the McCoy auction in 1864, remaining in collector’s hands from that time forward, lovingly preserved in their original state. There were about 250 ferrotypes in the sale and a total of 237 Lincoln items. While many were unique and “never-before-seen”, they were impressive, but not overwhelming. There were no “belt buckle” ferrotypes, no George Clark ambrotypes, no Lincoln & Johnson jugate. and only three of the largest size doughnuts. There was the complete run of 1860 jugates, but two of them were defective. Obviously, Ford’s true love was tokens and medals. After the conclusion of this final installment, the price realized for everything will exceed $60 million. Mr. Ford lived most of his adult life in a modest home in Rockville Center, Long Island. He eventually spent his last days in a nursing home, physically and mentally debilitated. It demonstrates to us that many collectors are not in it for the money. They are satisfied with the basics and live modestly. Their enjoyment is the thrill of the hunt and the acquisition of both knowledge and objects of historic value and beauty. For such people, having millions in the bank would bring them little joy. In reviewing the results of the sale, we concluded that prices were quite strong, especially for numismatic material. The ferrotypes uniformly sold within expectations. While a couple of minor items slipped through the cracks and sold for embarrassingly low amounts (everything was sold unreserved), many things hammered for record prices (primarily those super rarities and never-before-seen items). A good number of things sold reasonably (i.e., 80% of retail), but there seemed to be few money-making opportunities for those dealers who attended the show in the expectation of stocking up. Many items which routinely sell for a certain amount among political collectors were fetching many multiples of the “going rate” from coin people. The political dealers in attendance, as well as those following the sale on their home computers, had to be shaking their heads in disbelief. Lincoln material did uniformly well with few surprises. We could list dozens of interesting examples, but offer these, as a brief overview. A lovely John Bell single portrait ferrotype (JBELL-1860-39) sold most reasonably for $705 (Bell material seemed a little soft). A large Breckinridge & Lane ferrotype doughnut went to an old-time collector on the phone for $8,812. It had a very unusual portrait of Breckinridge, but we preferred the other example in the sale with the larger head (that can be mated with the three other 1860 candidates) which sold for $7,143 (not pictured here). A gorgeous Stephen Douglas campaign medal in copper achieved $529. A Lincoln 1861 inaugural medal in silver which had sold for $2,475 in the Zabriskie sale more than doubled that record, selling for $5,288 this time around. The largest of the 1864 Lincoln ferrotypes, in excellent condition, was purchased for $5,875 by another old-time collector who spent over one hundred grand at the venue. A McClellan-Pendleton ferrotype jugate sold for $17,038, we believe, to the same phone bidder who snagged the unusual Breckinridge doughnut. Finally, a Lincoln silvered brass shell in the shape of a shield, found a worthy home (we’re not naming names!) for $7,050, besting the Zabriskie result by over $2,000. We’ve experienced Zabriskie and Ford… what’s left to look forward to? Guess well just have to manage somehow!
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts had an auction on September 21st. It included a circa 1926 Jennings 25-cent slot machine… the “Lincoln De Lux” model. Perhaps gamblers of that day thought they could trust a one-armed bandit named after Honest Abe. The reserve on this piece apparently was $1,500 (the high end of the estimate) and it failed to sell. No one hit the jackpot this time around… everyone got lemons!
An eBay vendor listed a “Wide Awake” kepi in September. He did some research and found an almost identical kepi from the A. E. Fostell Collection (featured in a “Rail Splitter” cover story some years back as well a cover story in “Civil War Times”). The Fostell specimen had an old paper sticker identifying it as a Wide Awake kepi from the campaign of 1860. There were two kepi’s in the Fostell Collection. They were offered in a Heritage Auction a handful of years ago and failed to sell, primarily by virtue of unrealistic estimates (in the $15,000-$20,000 range) and lack of concrete provenance. The eBay seller relied on his research in representing his example as a Wide Awake kepi used by a Lincoln supporter in 1860. There were no markings on the hat except its place of origin (Salem, New York). Salem (near Poughkeepsie) was indeed Lincoln territory, but there were Bell and Douglas men there, as well. Plus, these red, white and blue kepi’s were worn by partisans of all four parties in 1860 (brass and glass colored lanterns were also used by partisans of all four parties). In addition, this style of kepi was used in presidential campaigns up until 1880. So, while the kepi being offered is MAY be a Lincoln item, it is not certain. Absent some strong documentation or other evidence, the best that can be said is that it is a circa 1860-1880 political campaign hat, quite possibly used by a member of the Lincoln marching club, the Wide Awakes. The item was bid up to $715, did not meet its reserve, so goes back on the shelf (these non-sales of “Wide Awake” kepi’s are getting to be “old hat!”).
An eBay vendor who typically handles jewelry and watches recently came across a nice group of circa 1861 song sheets printed in Baltimore by CSA sympathizers. The best one of the lot was a 6″ x 10″ sheet titled “The Last Race of the Rail-Splitter”. It depicted a runaway slave at the top. It apparently was issued around the time of Lincoln’s inauguration and focused on stories of Lincoln avoiding an assassination attempt planned for him during his stopover in Baltimore. The President-elect made a change in plans and took a D.C.-bound train in the middle of the night. His wife and family traveled on the train meant for Lincoln. The publisher of this sheet berated Lincoln for using his family as decoys, likely to be killed in his place, so he could avoid injury. It sold for $364, the highest price achieved for any items in the collection.
A very attractive Lincoln ribbon was just sold on eBay. It consisted of two overlapping ribbons, 7 1/2″ long, worn by a delegate to the Republican League of Pennsylvania convention at Reading in 1893. $104 was the winning number.
A lot of people are prophets of doom and gloom and decry the sad state of the collecting “bug”. Then, something happens that contradicts that position and gives rise to hope. A case-in-point is a recent offering on eBay of a pair of Abbott tintypes of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens. Both are scarce, but not overly rare. The pair were in very nice shape, but lacked the suspension loops at the top. Based on past results, $1,000 would have been a strong price. There were a total of 21 bids on these and they wound up selling for $2,025. We have seen some pretty strong prices for Jeff Davis material lately and he may yet give Honest Abe some competition. They used to say: “The South Will Rise Again” and I “aint’ just whistling’ Dixie!”
A vendor on eBay from Sofia, Bulgaria offered an 18″ x 24″ poster for the Bulgarian release of “Abraham Lincoln in Illinois” with Raymond Massey. The Bulgarian release title was simply “Abraham Lincoln”. World War II was raging in Europe when the film was released, so we wonder what type of reception it received. We assume that anything that came out of Hollywood was viewed as superior to local product. It had a starting price of $49.95, but failed to sell. Abe Lincoln “bombed” in Sofia.
James D. Julia of Fairfield, ME had a four-day sale in late August, It included a tour-de-force example of the woodcarver’s art. We reprint the catalog description in full: IMPORTANT AND UNIQUE CARVED LINCOLN COMMEMORATIVE FLOOR SCREEN. Last third 19th century, America. The rectangular frame carved in relief with the bust of Abraham Lincoln in profile framed within four crossed American flags centering a scroll carved “EMANCIPATION 1863.” Beneath the bust is carved a log cabin on the left, the White House on the right. The plaque mounted within a frame comprised of oak leaves and branches issuing from a tree trunk stand, the base mimicking the roots of the tree. The top of the frame carved with draped American flags, each surmounted by a wreath, all centering a carving of the great seal of the United States. SIZE: 74″ h x 36″ w. CONDITION: Floor screen retains original surfaces, now somewhat crusty and dry. Stress cracks are present along the top of frame. Minor repairs to oak leaves, one leaf tip absent. Overall very good. Est. $15,000-25,000. It crossed the block for $29,625.
Another less stellar offering was described as: PLASTER BUST OF MARY TODD LINCOLN. The well executed bust showing her with ringlet curls and head scarf. Unsigned, 19th/20th century. The bust with an integral turned base. Light aged off-white finish having light craquelure. Purportedly this was the plaster used for the modeling of Mary Todd Lincoln in bronze. SIZE: 27″ h x 20″ w. PROVENANCE: Collection and shop contents of Linda and the late Vito Peri (owners of the Blue Dolphin Antique Shop, Northport, Maine). CONDITION: 8″ old tight crack to back, some chipping to finish and edge. Generally good. Est. $1,000-2,000. It realized $1,896. Personally, we don’t think this has any shot of being Mary Todd Lincoln. If we had to hazard a guess on its identity, we’d say Sarah (Mrs. James K.) Polk. In any event, we wouldn’t want it displayed on our mantel no matter who it is!!
Finally, here is something that had some POTENTIAL cross-over appeal: RARE AND HISTORIC ANTIQUE LOUIS VUITTON TRUNK MADE FOR VICE PRESIDENT HANNIBAL HAMLIN. Hannibal Hamlin was from Bangor, Maine and was the 15th Vice President of the United States serving under President Abraham Lincoln during his first term. When preparing to run for a second term, it was Lincoln’s intent to ingratiate some portions of the South by selecting a Vice Presidential candidate from the South and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was selected. Eventually Hamlin was appointed as the United States Ambassador to Spain in 1881. It is believed that this rare Louis Vuitton trunk may have been purchased at this time for their move to Spain or purchased at an earlier date. A label on the interior of the lid boasts two medals won by the Louis Vuitton Company, one in 1867 and the other 1868. So it is entirely possible that the trunk could have been owned by the Hamlin’s long before his eventual trip to Spain. The trunk is covered in what appears to be original black oilcloth type surface. On one end in red ink is clearly stenciled, “H. Hamlin”, also, “W177”. The end also retains remnants of a paper Liverpool Steamship label. The opposite end of the trunk is also stenciled, “H. Hamlin” and the lid of the slightly domed trunk retains a couple remnants of ancient paper shipping labels. The trunk is also fitted with iron carrying handles on either end. The interior top of the lid with a great old Louis Vuitton label, “1 Rue Scribe 1 Paris. Fabrique d’ Articles DeVoyage SN 4931”. The interior of the trunk is lined with a white paper having a delicate repeating black design and fitted with two removable trays, each having web bottoms. The lid and front are fitted with metal hinges (which have now become detached from the top lid). The trunk was acquired many years ago from descendents of the Hannibal Hamlin family at that time along with numerous other artifacts relating to Hamlin and the Hamlin family. This is the earliest Louis Vuitton trunk our firm has ever handled and we believe this to be not only a rare and valuable Louis Vuitton trunk but also one of historic import. SIZE: Approximately 43-1/2” long, 24” deep, 27” to the top of the dome. CONDITION: The trunk shows much use and wear with scattered losses of the outside surface material and similar losses to the interior. Lots of wear, chips and rubs to the ribs and to the surface. This was obviously an item well used by the Hamlin Family over the years. Est. $5,000-10,000. There were no takers on this one, so it goes into the pile of unclaimed luggage.
A Springfield, IL area vendor offered a highly unusual Lincoln campaign ribbon on eBay at the end of July. It measured 3″ x 9 1/2″ and featured the “tousled hair” portrait of Lincoln. This portrait, rarely seen, appears on ribbons originating in Illinois and Iowa. It sold for $4,250.
American Primitive Gallery of New York City is currently offering on their web site a Lincoln marble bust, unsigned, 15″ x 8″ x 8″, for $2,400.
Historical Collectibles Auctions (HCA) of Burlington, NC had an on-line auction on July 18th. A 20″ x 24″ commemorative lithograph, printed in two colors by B. B. Russell of Boston in 1865. showed Lincoln, the text of the Emancipation Proclamation and various related vignettes. In excellent condition, and fairly scarce, it far exceeded its estimate and sold for $7,110.
Heritage Auctions held their spring Americana & Political Sale on June 22nd. A gold mechanical pencil, owned by Lincoln’s grandson, Lincoln Isham, was offered. It was inscribed “To Hon. A. Lincoln by Jos. E. Stokes 1864.” No information could be found on Mr. Stokes, but he was undoubtedly an office seeker (a.k.a., Orpheus C. Kerr) and sought some favor from the President. It sold for $11,950.
A superlative Lincoln & Hamlin jugate ribbon, last offered in the Don Warner Collection in 1980, finally resurfaced. Mounted at the top and bottom to an album page, it retained all its original sheen and found a new home for $10,755.
A 2″ Wide Awake tin shell hat badge, similar to the one with the five-pointed star (a highlight of the Zabriskie Collection), realized $9,560.
A beautiful plaster bust of Lincoln, unsigned but attributed to Max Bachmann, was in perfect condition and sold for $5,975 to an art aficionado.
A tin and glass parade lantern with stenciled lettering reading “Union Little Mac” was a more affordable selection, trading hands for $900. It had appeared many years ago in a George Rinsland or Leon Weisel mail auction, was purchased by boxing guru Burt Sugar who subsequently sold it to Tom Slater who offered it on one of his fixed price color catalogs in 1990/1991. Just a little more than twenty years later, it makes another appearance. These things make the rounds, if any you are patient enough and have longevity. There were many Lincoln-related items in the auction and we anticipate Heritage will continue along these lines. They may be the go-to place for Lincoln stuff!!
This most unusual imprint of the Emancipation Proclamation was offered on eBay. It was published by Rufus Blanchard of Chicago in 1864 and measures 10 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ (trimmed). It was printed in red and powder blue against a starry background. Multiple type fonts were employed and the bottom of the sheet contains an anti-slavery statement by the publisher, highlighting the importance of the Proclamation in preventing European powers from joining the conflict and the key role to be played by the infusion of black troops. Despite faults, it sold for $711.
An eBay vendor offered this unusual mother-of-pearl plaque of Lincoln housed in a 9 1/2″ x 12″ frame. We assume it was 20th century vintage. No “lover of fine art” was willing to pay the starting price of $99, so the listing expired.
Some things are just too goofy to pass up. An ebay seller offered this Lincoln woven ribbon with a Buy-It-Now price of $350. He claimed it was made in April 1865, but the weaving process was aborted when Lincoln was assassinated, accounting for the lack of colored threads in Lincoln’s portrait and above. That wouldn’t make sense even if the ribbon dated from 1865. Since it was made in 1893, the story comes unraveled.
We see a lot of fake Lincoln flags being offered on the internet, so when a real one shows up, it generates a lot of interest. An eBay vendor listed such an item, having just inherited it. His family lived in Maine in 1860 and were Lincoln supporters. The flag was acquired at that time and passed down through the family. Measuring around 10 1/2″ x 16″, it generated over 30 bids before selling to a Pennsylvania flag dealer for $12,700.
Premier Props in El Segundo, California held an auction on June 15th that included what was purported to be a shawl woven by Mary Todd Lincoln during her brief stay in an Illinois sanitarium. We reprint the catalog description in full:
“Estimated Price: $10,000 – $15,000. Description: Abraham Lincoln’s long suffering wife finally had a total breakdown after her husband was killed, and she then lost yet another son. She was declared insane and with the urging of her oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was committed to Bellevue Sanitarium in Batavia, Illinois. It was there she meet Sarah Bunker, the daughter of a famous clairvoyant, Caroline Howard, who consulted with Mrs. Lincoln, and gave her much solace. To thank her, Mary Todd Lincoln gave her a series of gifts, including a shawl that Mrs. Lincoln hand knitted herself while in the Sanitarium. It was passed down through Howard’s descendants for many years. After the last descendant passed away, everyone was looking for the shawl, but it could not be found. However, a life-long family friend was given some information that perhaps the shawl was hidden, since in their last years, this descendant suddenly became fearful that it would somehow ‘disappear in the wrong hands’. The friend was able to find it, hidden in the rafters of their attic. He has cherished it ever since, and has loaned it to several museums for display. This remarkable piece of historical memorabilia is now offered for sale personally by this friend who has treasured it for many years. The shawl comes with a large file of authentication papers, documents, and special newspapers and other rare press reports and clippings.”
From a layman’s point of view, the shawl did not look like something made in the late 1870′s. It actually looked like something one might find in a clothing store in 2013. We do not have the recent definitive Robert Todd Lincoln biography at hand, but recall that only a couple of outside people were given access to Mrs. Lincoln and the name Sarah Bunker does not ring a bell. In addition, no disrespect intended, buying an historic artifact from a company that deals primarily in movie props does not instill confidence in us. One does not need to be a clairvoyant to have predicted that this item, despite the plethora of documentation, would fail to sell, despite the reasonable opening bid of $1,000.
An eBay vendor offered this CDV with the assertion that it depicted the Lincoln family or, alternatively, actors depicting the Lincoln family. Since the Lincoln character has a beard, the photograph could not date prior to 1861. Lincoln did have four sons; however, in 1861, Robert would have been 18, Edward was dead over ten years, Willie would have been around 10 and Tad 7. Mary Todd Lincoln would have been 43. The children in the photo seem to range in age from 5 to 10. The woman, who has a Mary Todd Lincoln-style hairdo, is not the corpulent figure we have come to expect. OK, the man is tall and has a beard. There are four sons (one making a guest appearance from the graveyard). The woman has her hair pulled back and parted in the middle. Beyond that, NOTHING IS RIGHT! They could be actors, we’ll admit, but they could also be a normal family posing at the photographer’s studio. The attribution and value of the piece depends on whether you’re the buyer or the seller. It failed to attract an opening bid of $85 and exits stage left.
Steve Hayden (civilwartokens.com) held an internet only sale that concluded on June 2nd. It contained a wide array of Civil War patriotic tokens, store cards, Hard Times tokens and political tokens & medals. A copy of DeWitt AL-1864-43 (“Lincoln & Liberty. Good for Another Heat”) was unusual for several reasons. It was not holed, struck on an oversized 23 mm. planchet and lacked a “collar”. Some advanced collector “collared” it for $1,755. A copy of DeWitt AL-1864-5 in copper (“Union Candidates”) sold for $701. Finally, a copy of Fuld 134/283 (“Redeemed”) in German silver was itself “redeemed” for $2,800. We have never seen it before and wonder if it was made to honor Lincoln’s successful re-election or issued when Richmond fell. Steve does not charge a buyer’s premium (how refreshing!) so all prices are net.
Skinner’s held a sale on June 1st that included a 15″ x 21″ albumen of Lincoln. It was O-121, taken by Gardner on August 9, 1863. Rare in any format, it is especially so in this oversized version. Estimated at $20,000-$30,000, it crossed the block for $12,000, representing a single bid at half the low estimate. A sale is a sale.
We noticed this unusual 1 1/2″ white metal token on eBay. Lincoln, a Union shield and a soldier are depicted on the obverse. It was issued to honor the five units (named on the reverse) who responded to the call for the defense of Washington following the bombardment of Ft. Sumter. These were the so-called “First Defenders”. They arrived in the capital on April 18, 1861. This token may have been issued during the war but, more likely, for a post-war re-union. It sold for $51.
Swann’s held an autograph sale on May 23rd. Prior to the Civil War, Ulysses Grant was working for his father, Jesse, in his Galena, Illinois tannery. We have never seen any ephemera related to the enterprise, but Swann had an itemized receipt on “J. R. Grant” business letterhead wherein the future Union commander and president wrote: “Rec’d Payment J. R. Grant By U. S. Grant”. Reasonably estimated at $500-$700, it realized $3,120. During the war, Jesse would ask for his son’s assistance in banning Jewish peddlers from the department Grant had authority over, thereby eliminating Jesse’s main competitors in the dry goods trade he was engaged in at the time.
Another lot consisted of a clipped signature of Lincoln glued to the bottom of a mounted 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ salt print of Lincoln taken by William Marsh. With some staining and loss to the mount, it equalled the previous lot, selling for an identical $3,120.
Genial Tom French of Capitola, California, after an absence of approximately five years, has decided to re-enter the auction business. His “come-back” sale occurred on April 24th and included 1344 lots of political Americana, drawn primarily from the holdings of Kentucky collector Bob Westerman, There were thirty-seven Lincoln lots, plus another sixteen Lincoln-related lots. A very unusual 1860 Lincoln ribbon from Iowa had a note attached indicating it was picked up by a soldier “on the field by St. Louis”. The ribbon looked like it had been through numerous battles and was in three distinct sections with some loss to the blank background. It had an odd-ball portrait of Lincoln and proclaimed “The Union Must Be Preserved. ‘Old Abe’ Will Do It!” Well, we guess he did, but it took four years of Civil War to accomplish. It sold for $1,495 and we assume the buyer will spend a few hundred dollars more to have it properly aligned and affixed to a silk gauze backing.
The next lot was a cartoon CDV that depicted Lincoln as a king on a throne, dressed as a jester, holding a scepter with the head of a Negro. The verse below says that in England they have a king and a jester while, in America, we save money by combining the two roles in one person. The $546 it sold for was no joke!
An invoice dated April 19, 1865 detailed charges from M. P. Sessions, Teamster of San Francisco, to the First California Guard for the rental of 24 pairs of horses to be used in the “funeral obsequies of the President.” It cost the Guard $288 back then, but the new owner coughed up $632 in the here-and-now.
We recently reported on the sale of an oval Douglas ferro and pondered aloud if mates existed for Bell and Breckinridge. Well, the patron saints of collecting must have been listening, because Tom offered the John Bell mate in his catalog! It realized $1,265. Welcome back, Tom!
An eBay seller offered a philatelic/political item. It was a postally-used envelope sent from Maryland to York, Pennsylvania on October 11, 1864. The cover had a hand-written stanza about democracy and a notation indicating that the envelope contained election returns (most likely gubernatorial). There was a common 3-cent stamp used to cover the postage, as well as a 4-cent “Lincoln subscription” stamp used to fund the Lincoln re-election campaign and promote his candidacy. This is the first time we have seen one of these stamps actually placed on an envelope and sent through the mails. It did not go into the dead-letter box, but managed a healthy $366.
It is but a short distance from the ridiculous to the ludicrous, but we offer yet another example of expectations gone amuck. Another eBay vendor offered this rare pamphlet published in Maryland in June 1861. It contains the report of the state committee on Federal Relations and the report of the Peace Commissioners appointed to meet with Presidents Lincoln and Davis. We do not have access to the report, but assume the named committee reflected the position of many Marylanders that their native state should join the Confederacy or, at the very least, remain neutral in the conflict and resist calls for the raising of Federal troops. A peace commission had met in Washington in February 1861 to no avail, as were concurrent Congressional efforts to affect a compromise and avoid civil war. At the time of this pamphlet’s publication, war had already broken out and we can say with some certainty that state commissioners of Maryland never met with the chief executives of the warring factions. The imprint had been discarded or deaccessioned by some historical society and had their stamp on the title page. It was offered on a Buy-It-Now or Best Offer basis for $1,500.
An eBay seller offered a most unusual, hand-colored, small folio lithograph of Abraham Lincoln published in Germany. Undated, it shows Lincoln as beardless with the notation that he is President of the United States. The Buy-It-Now or Best Offer price of $5,000 was way too “schtark” and it remains unsold.
Swann’s held a Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on April 16th. An 8″ x 6 1/4″ albumen photo of conspirator Lewis Powell (alias Payne) was an unusual offering. It was affixed to a sheet of paper with the notation: “Lewis Payne who attacked Seward”. It may be an unpublished pose which, like the others of Powell, was taken about the U. S. S. Montauk. Estimated at a reasonable $1,000-$1,500, it sold for a respectable $2,640.
A nice Currier & Ives cartoon from 1860, “‘Uncle Sam’ Making New Arrangements”, shows the three also-rans of that election being turned away from the White House, while Railsplitter Lincoln is welcomed by Uncle Sam as the new occupant. Bachelor Buchanan packs up his dirty linen and frets at not being able to find another job. Deceptively rare, it found a new home for $3,360.
Freeman’s held an Americana sale on April 17th. It included a pair of 41″ x 16″ bronze panels made by Olympio Brindisi in 1937 and 1946. Estimated at $3,000-$5,000, the pair went out the door for $2,500.
The very next lot in the sale was a large (46″ x 32″) Lincoln & Johnson broadside printed by King & Baird of Philadelphia. These come in different sizes, printed both on paper and on linen. This was the largest size, printed on paper. Another example sold some years back at one of the major New York auction houses to dealer Seth Kaller for $18,000. This one, estimated $5,000-$8,000, far exceeded expectations, realizing $36,250. So much for estimates! The underbidder In both cases was the same collector who gets a “honorable mention” for his persistence as well the “Honest Abe Auctioneers Award” for “keeping the boys honest.”
Heritage Auctions of Dallas held a manuscripts sale in New York on April 11th. A CDV taken by Andrew Jackson Riddle, official photographer of the Confederate military, shows the “Ambulance and wagon occupied by Mr. Davis and family of front of Brev. Maj. Gen. Wilson’s Headquarters Macon, GA. May 13, 1865.” The back stamp of T. M. Schleier of Nashville indicates this was a copy image. Still very rare and the first example we have seen, taken in the wake of Jeff Davis’s capture in Georgia. It sold for $2,031.
A three-document lot included official copies of orders signed by Secretary of War Simon Cameron (dated September 11, 1861) and his successor, Edwin Stanton (dated April 1, 1863). Cameron directs General John A. Dix to “arrest, forthwith the following named persons, viz. T. Parkin Scott, S. Teachle Wallis, Henry M. Warfield, F. Key Howard, Thomas W. Ball and Henry May and to keep them in close custody suffering no one to communicate with them and to convey them at once to Fortress Monroe.” An order from General Scott issued on June 24, 1861 authorizes the recipient to “seize at once and securely hold, the four members of the Baltimore Police Board; viz. Charles Howard, Wm. Getchell, J. W. Davis and C. W. Hinks Esquires together with the chief of the Police, G. P. Kane.” These orders were issued following the Pratt Street Riots in Baltimore and were part of an overall effort to squelch “subversive” activities and prevent Maryland falling into the Confederate column. The most controversial aspect of this program was the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. The mini-archive achieved $2,629.
Lincoln was a keen student of presidential politics. A handful of letters exist where he discusses his “take” on the current political landscape and offers suggestions regarding strategy and the best means to achieve electoral success. Several such letters deal with the effect that the Know Nothing Party might have in drawing away enough Republican votes to give Democrats the victory. In one such letter, running over a full page in length, written to Illinois Judge James Berdan on July 10, 1856, Lincoln reacts to Berdan’s plan with one of this own: “… Let Fremont and Filmore [sic] men unite on one entire ticket, with the understanding that that ticket, if elected, shall cast the vote of the State, for whichever of the two shall be known to have received the larger number of electoral votes, in the other states… But there may disadvantages also which I have not thought of…” The split among Republican and former Whig voters may have cost the Republicans the election, just as the three-way split in 1860 worked to Lincoln’s advantage. Ironically, efforts to defeat Lincoln in 1860 through a fusion ticket of the type he proposed here (which occurred in New York), had no effect on the outcome. Sold together with the transmittal envelope free-franked by Lincoln (a possible violation of the privilege as he was no longer in Congress), it crossed the block for $33,460.
On March 5, 1862, President Lincoln wrote a memo to Secretary of State William Seward requesting a Cabinet meeting that evening. At that meeting, the question of a plan for compensated emancipation was discussed. The next day, Lincoln made the formal proposal in a speech given before a joint session of Congress. He felt that such an offer would undermine the efforts of the South to achieve independent status and might draw support from border states. The initiative went nowhere, but the plan was implemented in the District of Columbia through an act passed on April 16, 1862. At another Cabinet meeting held on July 22, 1862, Lincoln changed course and announced his intention to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This historic note (ex: Sang Collection), signed by both Seward and Lincoln, was estimated at $80,000-$100,000 and failed to attract the $60,000 reserve price.
Sotheby’s held a photography sale on April 6th. A 5″ x 7″ Lincoln albumen by Fassett, on the original two-tone photographer’s mount, sold for $11,250. According to the cataloger, the original negative was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, so finding original prints by Fassett is challenging. All you need is time and money.
An eBay seller listed this irresistible CDV of a young tike wearing a mourning badge for Lincoln. The badge was actually a large size gem albumen with Wenderoth & Taylor photo with red, white and blue ribbon at top (campaign usage) and a black ribbon, we assume, attached at bottom (mourning usage). Not surprisingly, the photo was made by Wenderoth & Taylor. The boy also appears to have two silk rosette armbands attached to the sleeves of his jacket. The CDV sold for $250.
Charlton Hall Galleries in West Columbia, South Carolina wouldn’t be the first auction house that comes to mind when looking for a Lincoln letter. But even down South Lincoln draws interest! In their March general estate sale they offered this Abraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed (ALS) Springfield, Illinois, June 18, 1860:
“Hon. William Jones
My Dear Sir,
Your very kind letter of the 8th was received several days ago- I have not yet determined definitely, but my impression is that I will not leave home during this canvas- It would, indeed, be very pleasant to meet my old Spencer County friends; and should I conclude to do so, (which I think improbable) I will write you-
I am very glad indeed to have received your letter, and will be glad of more whenever you can find time to write them.
Your friend as ever
With an estimate of $7,000-9,000, it hammered for $16,000 plus the buyer’s premium. The catalog drew attention to the fact that Jones was Lincoln’s last employer during his early residence in the Hoosier State. Apropos of that, we amend some information we found online regarding the Colonel William Jones Historic Site on Boone Street in Gentryville, Indiana:
“If you’re planning to see the Lincoln Boyhood Home in southern Indiana, also consider stopping by this restored house in nearby Gentryville. Lincoln slept here the night he gave a campaign speech for Henry Clay, the Whig presidential candidate in 1844. Lincoln lived in Illinois at the time and included his old neighborhood in the campaign tour.
William Jones, owner of the house, served as a Whig representative in the Indiana legislature from 1838 to 1841. He has been credited with steering Lincoln toward the Whig Party. In the 1820s, Lincoln had worked odd jobs for Jones and clerked in his store. Jones reportedly said then, ‘Lincoln would make a great man one of these days.’ He also recalled that Lincoln read all his books, including one on American history.
In early 1861, before Lincoln traveled to Washington for his first inauguration, Jones visited him in Springfield, Illinois. A local paper reported, ‘Mr. Lincoln was called upon to-day by an old man from Indiana named Jones for whom thirty years ago he worked as a common farm-hand at a dollar a day.’ Once the Civil War broke out, Jones joined the Union Army, despite being in his sixties. He was a lieutenant colonel of the 53rd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers when he was killed at the battle of Atlanta in 1864.”
A small folio Prang lithograph of Abraham Lincoln was offered on eBay. It likely will seem odd to the casual viewer as Lincoln is depicted with sideburns. It was no doubt produced after the 1860 election, but prior to the President-elect’s departure for Washington. During this time, it was announced that the Railsplitter planned on growing a beard. Printmakers immediately sought to get the jump on the competition and come out with updated versions of Lincoln’s visage. In this case, however, they were off-the-mark. Close, but no cigar, as they say. This was the first auction appearance that we can recall and the seller apparently had high hopes for it. The winning bid was $203, but the reserve was not met, so it remains “hair today and hair tomorrow.” It was soon thereafter relisted with a Buy-It-Now of $250.
Swann Galleries of New York held their annual African Americana sale on March 21st. Appearing for the first time at auction was a copy of John Brown’s “Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for the People of the United States.” The 16-page booklet was printed in a small shack in St. Catherine, Ontario by a black colleague of Brown’s, William Howard Day. The Constitution was printed as a response to the Dred Scott Decision and aimed to protect the “oppressed” people who had no rights that the white man was bound to respect. Day chose not to participate in the raid at Harper’s Ferry, but emigrated to England where he engaged in fundraising for a settlement for free blacks and former slaves in Buxton, Africa. Estimated at $10,000-15,000, it realized $22,500.
There were numerous lots related to the Emancipation Proclamation, including several decorative prints. The most unusual one was a 21″ x 27″ lithograph printed in 1864 by Martin & Judson. Lincoln is depicted on the bottom, vignettes of slave life on the left and vignettes of life post-emancipation on the right. It crossed the block for $6,480.
A rare Currier & Ives cartoon, dated 1862, titled “Re-Union on the Secesh-Democratic Plan”, had an early depiction of Uncle Sam saddled with slavery and war debt, prepared to accept the humiliating terms of re-union from Jeff Davis. Based on the subject matter, it seemed like a product of the 1864 election and we wonder if the cataloger misread the date or whether there was a mistake in the stone when drawn. In any event, a provocative cartoon of the era which sold for $960.
Finally, a rare document signed by General David Hunter, related to his own Emancipation Proclamation, was offered. The document states: “… Hard Times Middleton, late claimed as a slave, having been employed in hostility to the United States, is hereby declared… to be free. His wife and children are also free.” It claims its authority from the Confiscation Act of August 6, 1861 under which slaves who came under the control of Union occupation forces were released to the custody of the United States. They were not technically free. Hunter tried to remedy this legal limbo by issuing his own Emancipation Proclamation on May 9,1862. Having exceeded his authority, the Hunter proclamation was soon countermanded by order of the Commander-in-Chief, President Lincoln. It cost the winning bidder $5.040 to confiscate this important document.
An eBay seller offered this attractive small size (approximately 3/4″ x 7/8″) ferrotype brooch for Stephen Douglas in March. It was missing the pin and had some bends to the frame, but the portrait itself was quite nice. It found a new home for $1,370. It can be mated with a Lincoln, but we have never seen the Bell or Breckinridge varieties.
Julia’s held a Firearms sale on March 10th and 11th that included one Lincoln-related item. We reprint the catalog description, in full:
“WONDERFUL ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESENTATION SILVER HUMIDOR FROM 1861. This wonderful and historic presentation humidor which measures about 8″ tall with hinged lid and neoclassical design to the 7th New York regiment is pictured in a privately printed book that accompanies this lot. The 7th New York Regimental band played on the White House lawn April 27, 1861. ‘The President, Nicolay, Hay, Cameron, the ladies of the household and Willy and Tad Lincoln gathered on the portico, to listen to this concert, which included some soul-stirring national airs’. This quote from the Washington National Republican April 19, 1861. White House concerts were given on Wednesday and Saturday evenings in 1861. As can be seen in photos, presentation on the inside lid which measures in a 2 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ panel reads ‘Presented by Abraham Lincoln. President of the United States of America to The Seventh New York Regiment as a mark of admiration and respect of their talent displayed in the concert given on the lawn of WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON 1861′. Also accompanied by a copy of the book ‘Inside Lincoln’s White House- The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay’ Burlingame & Ettlinger, in which the 1861 concert on the lawn by the 7th is mentioned. CONDITION: Humidor is in very good to fine overall condition. Silver plating is worn through on a few high areas especially on lid as can be seen in photos. There is a soldered repair to finial on top of lid. The engraved presentation is in fine condition as can be seen in photos.” Estimated at $20,000-$30,000, it realized $17,737.
Saco River Auctions in Biddeford, Maine sold both a George Clark Lincoln ambrotype badge and a George Clark Douglas ambrotype badge on February 6, 2013. We previously reported on the Douglas whose owner unsuccessfully tried to sell it on eBay for $29,999. There were people in the hobby who questioned the piece (whether sincerely or as a buying strategy, we can’t say). Saco came up with a Lincoln ambro so the owner of the Douglas who likewise lives in Biddeford may have figured he’d consign his and “piggyback” the offering. The Douglas was an ambrotype copy-image of a salt print. It was painted black on the underside and included a brown piece of cloth (according to the folks at Saco, they took apart the Lincoln and it was constructed identically with the same piece of brown cloth). Apparently, the Douglas was assembled hurriedly. The glass photo was crudely cut resulting in some scallops and sheer chips to the underside of the glass. They didn’t wait for the paint to dry. This resulted in some brown discoloration or offsetting from the brown cloth onto the underside of the glass photo (this brown staining and the weave of the cloth is visible from the front). Some ghosting also occurred on the back side of the coated stock George Clark trade card or insert. It would appear that these components were sealed together for a long period of time and likely not exposed to the light of day until its recent purchase by the consignor. The Douglas was estimated at $4,000-$6,000 and sold for $8,954. The Lincoln which nobody questioned sold for $7,502. Obviously, there were some people who believed the Douglas was authentic. The winner probably got a good deal. Still, when it comes time to sell, he will have to contend with those “nattering nabobs of negativism”. We will closely monitor eBay to see if “walnutts” was the successful bidder. After all, he sold a “standard” Douglas ambrotype for $18,000 recently and may have seen this as a good money-making opportunity. If so, its final disposition is yet to be determined. Two days after the sale, a New Hampshire collector/dealer listed the Lincoln on eBay with a starting price of $25,000 or “Best Offer”. He apparently cleaned up the frame and switched the suspension hole to the top. That’s all you need to do to make a $7,500 item into a $25,000 item, right? Not!!
Heritage Auctions held a coin auction at the F.U.N. Convention in Orlando on January 14th. An MS62 slabbed specimen of DeWitt AL-1860-60 in silver (unlisted in that metal) sold for a very strong $1,057. Lincoln and rare equals beaucoup dinero.
Back in 1903, there was a “Railsplitters Lincoln Club” in Ohio. This 3″ x 7″ satin ribbon is a souvenir of the opening of the Republican campaign in that state. A mass meeting was held at Chilicothe. The speakers included the Republican candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Myron Herrick and Warren G. Harding. As the ribbon indicated, this group was prepared to “…toe the mark for Republican principles.” With faults, it sold for a reasonable $35.
An eBay vendor from Corning, New York offered this really neat Lincoln paper campaign ribbon from 1864 with a Buy-It-Now price of $3,200 or best offer. He did not specify the dimensions, but it looked to have good size. Unlike all other paper ribbons we are familiar with, this one was not printed on thick paper. Instead, it was printed on the same type of paper used for ballots and newsprint. This was not a disqualifying factor, by any means. It just seemed more like a ballot or something from a newspaper, but there did not appear to be any printing on the back and there was no list of presidential electors. It may have been excised from a broadsheet. Despite the rather aggressive price, it did not last long and someone the trigger and bought it now for $3,200.
NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE RAIL SPLITTER PRESS:
Book Review Archive
- Act of Justice: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War.
- The Dark Intrigue: The True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy.
- President Lincoln: the Duty of a Statesman.
- Lincoln’s Men: The President and His Private Secretaries.
- The Lincoln’s: Portrait of a Marriage.
- The Madness of Mary Lincoln.
- Lincoln the Inventor.
- Lincoln and New York.
Rail Splinters Archive
- Stereo view photographs of Abraham Lincoln statue damaged in 1906 San Francisco earthquake
- Lincoln in Film
- John Wilkes Booth? Probably not.
- Answer to the question “Whatever became of the Gillett collection?”
- What happened to the Gillette Collection?
- This Train is Bound for Glory
- Lincoln Ballots 1834-1864
- Lincoln Museum in Boise
- Lincoln at the Abolition Ball
- Where East Meets West
- A Prince of a Guy
- In Memoriam: C. Peter Scanlan
- Portrait of Lincoln Legal Associate Unearthed
- Thomas T. Eckert Archive: Telegraphic History of the Civil War
- Beethoven’s medium channels news of Lincoln’s Death by composing “The Funeral March”
- Where is Mary Todd Lincoln’s 1861 Inaugural Ball dress?
- The Meatball does The Sauceman (and The Rail Splitter) proud
- Lincoln “apparently not” a sexist
- Campaign woodcuts in illustrated magazines, symbolism or adornment?
- 1890 Wide-Awake Reunion program
- Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention Highlights
Past Print Issues