We usually report on items that have sold, but take this opportunity to report on an item that is slated for auction. In this case, a wonderful Lincoln relic being auctioned by Heritage in Dallas on December 2nd. The starting bid is $25,000 and here is the catalog description, in full:
The Bugle Which Sounded Taps for Lincoln. Over the years, Heritage has offered various important relics related to President Lincoln’s assassination, but none are more poignant than this instrument which belonged to the bugler in his personal guard.
The story begins in 1863, when Governor Tod of Ohio offered to raise a troop of 103 men to serve as President Lincoln’s personal guard. One volunteer from each Ohio county would be selected to serve in this elite unit. Young Hiram Cook of Columbus offered his services, but all the positions were filled, he was told – except, the officer said, that the unit did not have a bugler. Cook acknowledged that he did not play the instrument, but assured the man that he could learn to do so based on his earlier experience playing the cornet in the Union Army. Apparently, he was a quick learner, because by the time the troop assembled he was up to the job. The guard continued to watch over Lincoln until his assassination.
A 1940 newspaper article in the Columbus, Ohio, Citizen quoted Cook at length about that tragic night. Some troopers escorted the president on his visit to Ford’s Theatre, but Hiram and most of the guard had turned in when a man woke them shouting “Call out the guards! Seward has been attacked!” Cook played “Boots and Saddles” and the troop mounted up and set off for the Secretary of State’s residence when another man flagged them down, shouting “For God’s sake go to Ford’s Theatre, President Lincoln has been shot.” Recalled Cook, “We wheeled our horses so suddenly that some of us fell on the rough street and were injured. The rest of us hurried to Ford’s Theatre.”
They arrived just in time to witness the President’s limp body being carried across the street and up the stairs to a small second floor bedroom in what would become known as the Peterson House. “With difficulty we cleared the street and stood guard until 7 o’clock in the morning when the president died. Two hours later the body, wrapped in an American flag, was taken through the hushed streets to… the White House.”
For the next two days, Lincoln lay in state at the White House and then in the Capitol building, the body at all times watched over by his guard. “At six o’clock (Thursday) morning, after a prayer by Dr. Gurley, members of the Cabinet, Navy Officials, and a number of other dignitaries followed the coffin to the railway station, where the funeral train waited to carry the body from Washington to Springfield. A great crowd of people had gathered for the last scene of the tragedy. They stood in absolute silence with uncovered heads, while I raised my bugle to my lips and sounded taps over the body of Abraham Lincoln.”
The train made slow progress, stopping in a number of cities so citizens could pay their respects. According to the official History of Ohio, “at each place where the services were held on route the historic bugle was used in blowing taps, including the final obsequies at Springfield, Illinois.”
According to a June 17, 1923, article in the Columbus Dispatch, “the historic bugle has been located in Columbus and will be used in blowing the assembly call in the ‘Pageant of Memories’ which will be given at the state G.A.R. encampment June 26. The bugle is the property of H. M. Cook, who inherited it from his father, Hiram Cook, who was a member of President Lincoln’s bodyguard.”
The historic bugle has remained in the Cook family ever since. In 1973, it was loaned to the Smithsonian Institution as part of an exhibit of artifacts of slain presidents, and displayed alongside the bugle which sounded taps for President Kennedy. A photograph of the Smithsonian display accompanies the bugle, along with as letter of thanks from the Associate Curator of the Division of Political History. It has been consigned for auction by a direct descendent of Hiram Cook whose notarized affidavit accompanies the lot.
The bugle has been beautifully framed in a shadow box display measuring 25″ x 19″. The mouthpiece is a vintage replacement, but is otherwise in excellent condition save for minor bumps and bruises from use. The braid and tassel, which hang from the bugle, are period and presumably original.
Eldred’s in East Dennis, Massachusetts sold the Dan Schofield Collection of Political Americana on October 18th. Dan was a well-liked collector who specialized in early imprints and ephemera related to the Dorr Rebellion and Rhode Island. A very rare anti-Lincoln card from 1864, patterned after the well-known “A. Lincoln, Counsellor-at-Law” Salt River ticket, but with the addition of some woodcut illustrations, sold for $1625.
A 66” rail splitter’s parade ax, inscribed “1st Ward Republican Club N.P.R.I. [Newport, Rhode Island] crossed the block for $10,000.
A fine copy of the “Wigwam Edition” Lincoln campaign biography realized $1875.
Finally, what happens when two people who don’t know any better battle it out over an auction lot, each thinking the other one knows what’s he doing? Answer: one person gets burned real bad. A case-in-point is the rather common San Francisco paper ballot from 1864. It generally sells for $200-$250. The one in the Schofield Collection bucked-the-trend and soared to $2000. Ouch!!!
The Written Word Auctions, Tamworth, NH September 29th. $1020.
Columbia, Columbia, to Glory arise. 12 ½” x 15 ¼” printed flyer, John Wilson & Son, Printers, 1862. The card’s stated purpose is to “…make a Record for Reference of one of the most important Events of the present century; viz., the Passage of the Bill, in Congress for the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia, which was signed by President Lincoln, April 16, 1862….” Detailed are the individual votes for and against passage of the measure. Also shown are historic quotes about the institution of slavery. E.g. “LAFAYETTE – ‘I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of AMERICA, if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery’….” Age-toned, one tear in the left margin.
Selling at Swann Galleries in their printed Americana September 2017 sale, this very rare print by Thomas Worth. “The Voluntary Manner in which Some of the Southern Volunteers Enlist.” Lithograph, 13 1/4 x 18 inches; New York: Currier & Ives, [late June or July 1861] A satirical depiction of a Confederate recruitment office from early in the war, before the Confederate Army was taken very seriously. A poor farmer is forced into the room at the point of bayonets; a fellow recruit appears to be in a drunken stupor, with a small dog relieving itself on his foot. A small assortment of household goods is captioned “Prizes taken by the Confederate Navy.” A broadside tacked to the wall celebrates Lincoln”s suicide, and another hails the “glorious victory for the South” at the Battle of Boonville, a minor 17 June 1861 battle in which the Union actually suffered only 12 casualties. Most likely, a print produced at any point after the July 1861 Battle of Bull Run would not have found humor in the idea of heavy Union casualties. Another notice is signed by Robert Toombs, who served as the Confederate Secretary of State only through 25 July. Reilly 1861-34. None known at auction, and only 3 other copies traced. The hammer price not including buyer’s premium was $1100.
An eBay vendor is currently offering a hand-carved wooden statue of “Old Abe The War Eagle” for $6,875. It is 8 3/4” tall x 3 3/4” wide x 4 1/4” deep. It was carved by George Gillies, a veteran of the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. “Old Abe” was the mascot of the 8th Wisconsin. Gillies was supposedly one of the eagle’s caretakers. The asking price for the bird seems rather aggressive. The Maltese Falcon, it ain’t. Still, a nice piece of Lincoln-related memorabilia with some good crossover appeal.
DuMouchelles Art Gallery in Detroit, Michigan held a sale on September 17th. It included a 15 1/2” bronze of Lincoln by Moses Jacob Ezekiel done circa 1870. We have seen Ezekiel busts of Robert E. Lee, but this is the first example of Lincoln we have encountered. Accordingly, the $5,000 sale price does not seem out-of-line.
Cowan’s in Cincinnati held a sale on September 8th that featured “Treasures from the Eric Caren Collection”. Apparently, Wes & Eric have a history that goes way back, so it seems appropriate that Cowan’s was given a shot to handle some of the Caren material. Our favorite item was a 10” x 14” albumen of Lincoln & Tad, taken by Alexander Gardner. This pose proved extremely popular and was extensively pirated; however, finding an untouched, original from-life image by Gardner is most difficult. This one had the added bonus of a 21” x 30 1/2” carved wood frame symbolizing the Emancipation Proclamation breaking the bonds of slavery. With an opening bid of $7,500, it crossed the auction block for $14,400. A solid buy!
An interesting Lincoln-association piece was just offered on eBay with a starting bid of $2,000. It did not sell, but we picture it here and include most of the description provided by the seller.
Historically important, original quarter-plate daguerreotype of Illinois Supreme Court Associate Justice and Mrs. Samuel D. Lockwood. Authenticity absolutely guaranteed. A former circuit-court rider, Lockwood awarded the young Abraham Lincoln his law degree in 1836. “According to family tradition,” wrote Michael Burlingame,”Lockwood examined Lincoln [for his law degree] by taking him out for a walk and questioning him [about legal matters] as they strolled along.” Related to Lincoln through marriage, the strongly anti-slavery Lockwood was associated with him for the rest of Lincoln’s life. Although friends, Lockwood rebuked Lincoln for one of his legal arguments when appearing before him in the state Supreme Court. Lincoln appeared as an attorney before him in that venue 91 times. In 1848, when Lockwood retired from the Illinois Supreme Court and Lincoln was ending his only term in Congress, the future president chaired the committee of the Menard Circuit Court that wrote a resolution praising Lockwood for his long years of service. In January 1850 Lincoln wrote to President Zachary Taylor recommending his friend and sometimes law partner, State Judge Stephen T. Logan, for a federal judgeship. Lincoln added, “I mean not to abate in the least my recommendation of Judge Logan, when I say that Judge Lockwood too is most worthy of such an appointment. His moral worth, and legal ability are above all question. For about twenty-five years he was a judge of our Supreme Court; and his opinions, extending through nearly all our books of Reports, are a sufficient guaranty of his capacity, to all who may not personally know him. His appointment, I think, would give very general satisfaction. Your Obt. Servt. A. LINCOLN.” In 1854, when Lincoln was campaigning for the U.S. Senate, Lockwood also sought that position. Lincoln’s agent, Judge David Davis, wrote to Lincoln on Dec. 27, 1854, that another of Lincoln’s agents, Leonard Swett, “ascertained while he was gone–that the [Chicago] ‘Tribune’ was not for you–but for Judge Lockwood.” When Lincoln was president, Lockwood wrote a recommendation to him and Lincoln noted on it, “Judge Lockwood, the writer, is one of the best men in the world.” Lincoln’s fond feelings for Mrs. Lockwood also are recorded in nearly the same language. Mrs. Lockwood’s niece, whose name was recorded as “Mrs. Dr. Stevens of St. Louis” looked strikingly like her aunt. In 1860, after the election, she met the president-elect at the home of a mutual friend in Springfield, Ill. She recalled, “Mr. Lincoln took me by the hand, and drew his face nearer and nearer to mine, till I was frightened; when he said, ‘Are you a relative of Mrs. Lockwood?’ I replied, I am proud to say she is my aunt’; and he said, ‘You may well be proud, for she is the best woman God ever made.’” Lockwood, like Lincoln, originally was a member of the Whig Party; he too became a Republican. Lockwood joined the new party in 1855.
We occasionally see ribbons issued for the first July 4th celebration following the Civil War. They typically feature portraits of Lincoln and Washington, or sometimes Grant. Apparently, the swelling patriotic fervor was not felt equally across the nation. An eBay vendor recently offered this 9” x 12” broadside issued in Lexington, Missouri shortly before July 4, 1865. It sounded an alarm that multiple and perhaps conflicting celebrations were being planned which could lead to violence. Accordingly, the authorities advised that, unless all parties coalesced and coordinated their efforts jointly, there would be no July 4th celebration in Lexington that year. It sold for a reasonable $335.
Christies held a manuscripts sale on June 15th. It marked the inaugural auction for our own Peter Klarnet in his capacity as Senior Specialist in the Manuscripts Department. It was an unqualified success (no surprise there!) and an auspicious start. We feature one item which far exceeded its estimate, reprinting the catalog description in its entirety:
LINCOLN, Abraham (1809-1865). [First Inaugural Address.] [Springfield: Illinois State Journal, January 1861.] Endorsed on verso of final page by, William Henry BAILHACHE (1826-1905). With an Autograph document signed, (“William Henry Bailhache”), n.p., n.d.
Seven pages, quarto (350 x 215mm). (Extremely minor marginal wear and penciled emendations in an unknown hand.) Bailhache’s document has been affixed to the front of the printed speech with a red ribbon at top margin through a pair of file holes reinforced with grommets. Two pages, 310 x 200mm. (Clean fold separation to first page.) [With:] Special Session. Senate Ex. Doc. No. 1. Inaugural Address of The President of the United States on the Fourth of March, 1861.—Ordered to be printed. [Washington, 1861.] 10 pages, octavo, disbound.
The privately-printed first draft of Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, a rare copy retained by its Springfield, Illinois printer: William H. Bailhache. Believed to be the only extant copy in private hands. After Lincoln had prepared the first draft of his inaugural address, he contracted William Henry Bailhache of the Illinois State Journal to print a small run of copies for his private use. Upon reaching Washington, Lincoln circulated some of the copies among his friends for comment, and used one of the copies to construct the final draft of his speech delivered 4 March 1861. The penciled emendations on the present copy, presumably done by Bailhache, note the edits that were made by Lincoln for the final version as delivered on 4 March 1861. Perhaps most important was his revision of his conclusion which originally read: “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you, unless you first assail it. You have no conflict, without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ it. You can forbear the assault upon it; I can not shrink from the defense of it. With you, and not with me, is the solemn question of ‘Shall it be peace, or a sword?’” That paragraph was replaced with less bellicose language: “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Lincoln gave Bailhache the present copy as a keepsake. Later, Bailhache affixed a manuscript statement to the printed sheets to explain the provenance: “I hereby certify that the printed sheets, numbered one to seven inclusive, hereto attached, contain a full, perfect and exact copy of the original draft of the Honorable Abraham Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address, printed for his personal use, from his own manuscript, given to me for that purpose… This was done in the month of January, A.D. 1861, about four weeks before he departed for Washington, at the office of the ‘Illinois State Journal,’ Springfield, of which I was the general manager for many years. Expecting the injunction of secrecy, there was no formality or affectation in his manner regarding the printing. I had the work done under my personal supervision in a private room in the Journal Building, by a trusted employee, sworn to secrecy. When it was finished I returned the manuscript, together with the printed copies in to Mr. Lincoln’s own hands, and he then gave this copy to me, which I retained ever since in my possession, regarding it valuable as an heirloom….”
Not listed in Monaghan, Historical Collections. We have located five (mostly edited) copies in the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress and an additional edited copy in the Papers of Robert Todd Lincoln at the Library of Congress. It appears that this is the only extant copy in private hands.
Price realized USD 56,250
Estimate USD 6,000 – USD 8,000
A new discovery (of sorts)! A CDV that just sold on eBay caught our eye as it depicts a bust of Lincoln we are unfamiliar with. At first glance, it looks like the standard Leonard Volk “draped” or “classical” bust of Lincoln; however, there are noticeable differences in the toga. We cannot tell if the bust is plaster or marble. It reminds us of other CDVs that depict Rogers’ groups. In any event, it may real represent a “lost” artwork by the noted Chicago sculptor who is most famous for modeling candidate Lincoln in 1860. It sold at the opening bid of $50.
An eBay vendor recently offered a “single Lincoln ferro” with a Buy-It-Now price of $1295. This is the same portrait and style used in the most desirable 47 mm. doughnut. Unfortunately, the frame was missing, as was the portrait of Hamlin. It wasn’t a doughnut, but rather half a doughnut hole. No takers as of this writing.
Potter & Potter of Chicago, who specialize in magic items, pulled off a “feat of magic” when they sold this 7” x 10 1/2” pink silk name ribbon for Douglas & Johnson. Despite the occult venue, it sold for $1,500.
Antique Associates of West Townsend, Massachusetts, a wonderful dealer cooperative run by David Hillier, is currently offering:
Abraham Lincoln: 18.75” Carving, Standing Figure attributed to Frank Pierson Richards (1852 to 1929).
Rochester and Springfield, Illinois. The carver was a farmer who spent evenings carving figures. A group of his works may be seen within the permanent collection of the Illinois State Museum. Another carving is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Carved and painted pine Base inscribed – PRESIDENT 1861-1864 ABE – L 1809-1865.
See The Flowering of American Folk Art 1776-1876 by Jean Lipman and Alice Winchester, page 123, plate 164. See Sotheby’s, American Beauty, The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin, New York, January 23, 2016; lot 1470. Also, Christies, May 23, 206, lot 135; and Sotheby’s, the Feldman sale, June 23, 1988, lot 135. $23,500.
An antique charcoal-fueled sad iron with a Lincoln “masthead” was offered on eBay with a starting bid of $99.95. In these days of wash-and-wear, no one had any use for it and it went unsold. It is now a sad, sad iron.
Profiles in History of Calabasas, California held an auction on June 8th. A check for $2000, signed by Edwin Booth and made payable to his brother, John Wilkes Booth, was endorsed by the assassin and “cashed in” for $15,000.
A John Wilkes Booth Reward broadside, the standard variety lacking photos, was a fine example and rewarded its consignor with a final bid of $37,500.
A decent example of the “Charleston Mercury” broadside announcing “The Union is Dissolved” matched expectations, realizing $23,750.
Finally, a James Buchanan ALS with “fabulous” content changed hands for $4062. We reprint most of the catalog description below:
Buchanan, James. Extraordinary autograph letter signed (“James Buchanan”), 4 pages (4.5 x 7.25 in.; 114 x 184 mm.), front and back on conjoined leaves, Wheatland, near Lancaster [Pennsylvania], 21 September 1861, written to General George W. Bowman. Toning on outermost edges and general soiling. Minor chipping with separations at folds (mainly vertical fold joining the leaves). Five months following the attack on Fort Sumter, James Buchanan defends his actions in the final days of his doomed Presidency.
“My Dear Sir, Your favor of the 17th instant has afforded me much gratification. I did receive the information to which you refer & apparently from direct quarters; but at the time I stated emphatically there must be some mistake & I did not believe it. Let that pass. I was perfectly convinced before your letter that you had not abused me, nor become a Black Republican. I had a hard time of it during my administration; but upon a careful review of all my conduct I should not change it in a single important important [sic] measure if this were now in my power. When the official documents & the facts come to be presented to the public, I entertain no apprehension as to what will be their verdict. On the one side I had been violently opposed by the Republicans from the beginning & on the other side the leading Secessionists were estranged from me from the date of my message on the 3 December & soon after when I returned the insolent letter of the South Carolina Commissioners to them unanswered all intercourse political or social between them & myself ceased. I was on the next day, or a day or two after, violently attacked in the Senate by Jefferson Davis & his followers & the letter which I had returned was submitted by him to that Body & published in the Congressional Globe. I pursued my own steady course from the beginning. The Charleston authorities were directly notified over & over again that if they attacked Fort Sumter I should consider this attack as the commencement of a civil war. I need scarcely say that I agree with you in approving ‘the active prosecution of the war by the Government’: I have never held any other language since the Confederates commenced it by the attack on Fort Sumter. It would probably have commenced early in January had the Senate confirmed my nomination of a Collector for the Port of Charleston….Your friend James Buchanan.”
Buchanan’s efforts to maintain peace between the North and the South alienated both sides, and the Southern states declared their secession in the prologue to the Civil War. Buchanan’s view of record was that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Buchanan, first and foremost an attorney, was noted for his mantra, “I acknowledge no master but the law.” Given the dire state of affairs, Buchanan declined to seek a second term. Popular opinion had turned against him, and the Democratic Party had split in two. Buchanan had once aspired to a presidency that would rank in history with that of George Washington. However, his inability to impose peace on sharply divided partisans on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst Presidents. An exceptional letter exhibiting the circumstances facing the embattled President in his final days of office. Five weeks following Buchanan’s departure, the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter.
“Hicks in the Stix”. Blackwell Auctions of Clearwater, Florida held a sale on June 10th that included some art-related Lincolniana. A lithograph of Lincoln signed by artist Joseph DeCamp, published by Louis Prang in 1897, realized $1680. The portrait was copied by DeCamp from the beardless photograph taken by Preston Butler, with beard added. As it turns out, in the decades that followed, someone copied the DeCamp print to make a painting, signing it “T. Hicks”. This oil on canvas was owned by a New York collector who spent the last 30 years of his life trying to authenticate it as a work of Thomas Hicks. In the process, he collected anything related to the portrait, including letters from DeCamp to Prang, the lithographic stone used to print the DeCamp portrait and original photographs of Hicks, two of which were offered in the sale. Hicks did paint Lincoln from-life in 1860, that portrait currently housed in the collection of the Chicago History Museum. He did not, however, paint the portrait owned by the New York collector, despite his signature appearing on it.
A sixth plate daguerreotype of Hicks, together with a lock of Hicks’ hair, sold for $13,200.
A signed carte-de-visite of Hicks, with some faults, managed $3720.
An eBay vendor listed a nice pair of 1860 ferrotypes. We don’t know why they weren’t offered individually, but they still did alright, selling for $1712. These were acquired by a member of the “inner circle” who, as they say, was prepared to go higher. The brooch lacked the pin but, if you’re not going to wear it, who cares?
Cowan’s Auctions of Cincinnati held an “American History” sale on June 9th that included many items from the estate of noted Civil War dealer and author Norm Flayderman (mostly broadsides and pipes). A Salmon Chase ALS written on September 14, 1864, has great content as it discusses Chase’s support for the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. Chase’s presidential ambition is well-known, but he resigned as Secretary of the Treasury and would replace Roger Taney as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Still, his discontent is readily apparent in the text. In part: “Recently I fear that some folks have been saying that I would not support the Union nominee. You don’t need any assurance that I have said nothing to warrant any such sayings. I wish Mr. Lincoln and especially that some of his most trusted advisers were more in harmony with the sentiments of the great majority of Americans than they seem to be, but I have doubted that Mr. Lincoln’s heart is for Union and Nation and I answer that there is little or no hope for the principles and measures to which the best years of my life have been devoted… the sympathies of those who love their country should be with the Baltimore nominees…” $1920.
A 4 1/4” x 3 1/4” sheet of uncut campaign ferrotypes from 1860 was an unusual offering. This one had seventeen total or partial images of all the nominees. These were cut from the sheet and mounted in campaign medals or badges. Surprisingly, we have never seen a complete example of the finished product utilizing these portraits. $1080.
A 19” x 24” broadside by King & Baird of Philadelphia compares the statements of candidate McClellan with the Chicago Democratic platform of 1864. It deals with the issues of “Arbitrary Arrests” and “Interference with Elections”. Issued in both English and German versions, this rare German version realized $420.
A 6 1/2” x 8 3/4” Gardner albumen of the hanging of the conspirators, one of seven sequenced images, shows the hoods and nooses being adjusted prior to the “drop”. Affixed to a trimmed mount, it was estimated $3,000-$4,000 and sold for $3000.
Finally, a 27” x 41 1/2” broadside, printed in two colors, announced excursion tickets on the West Shore Railway to Grant’s funeral in New York on August 8, 1885. Rare, large and graphic, it made $1080.
An eBay vendor from Vermont got real lucky when he picked up a Lincoln & Johnson broadside at a yard sale/house clean-out in nearby Newport, New Hampshire. Measuring 16” x 22”, it was issued post-election, announcing a “Union Republican Levee!” to celebrate the result. With some missing pieces and loss, it attracted a great deal of attention and sold for a strong retail price $7788. Hmm, let’s see… what’s the current taxable rate for capital gains?
A 9” x 12” broadside issued at the time of the general election in 1860 announced the timetable for a special train leaving Boston for Woburn. The purpose of the added train was to gratify the need of some people to quickly determine the results of the election. Seems rather odd. They did have telegraphs back then. It would have been easier if the telegraph offices stayed open all night to transmit the results as they became known. Whatever! Listed on eBay under “railroad collectibles”, it brought $315.
Heritage Auctions held a sale on May 13th with a strong focus on “Washington and the Founding Fathers.” Still, no Heritage sale is complete without a fine assortment of Lincolniana. A 35” x 54” two-sided silk banner had a hand-painted portrait of Lincoln, titled “The Preserver of his Country”. The back side was inscribed “Malice toward None Charity to All”. It was likely produced after the inauguration on March 4, 1865 and as late as July 4, 1865. With some damp stains, but intact, it realized $9062. (Images: Heritage Auctions, HA.com)
A small hand-painted wood box with portraits of “Abraham Lincoln” and “Andrew Johnson” on the lid, obviously copied from the Currier & Ives Grand National Union Banner for 1864, sold for $3500. It measured 8 3/4” x 6 1/4” x 3 1/4” and was found at a flea market in Pennsylvania.
A Gardner CDV of Lincoln, taken on February 9, 1865, shocked everyone when it made a record $11,500. It’s one of our favorite poses of Lincoln and, apparently, several other people feel likewise.
A 3 3/4” x 6 1/4” pencil sketch by Pierre Morand, showing Lincoln resting comfortably in a chair at City Point, Virginia, changed hands for $6250. Morand used a from-life sketch by journalist Alfred Hunt to produce his more detailed version. A letter from Morand that accompanied the lot gave its history. It was a “from from-life sketch”.
Finally, a choice example of the large size Merriam token of Lincoln in copper, AL-1860-38, fetched a strong $1375. Several records were achieved at this sale.
Connoisseur Galleries of Bluffton, South Carolina had a sale on May 21st. A modern “masterpiece painting” of Lincoln was offered. Unframed, it measured 25” x 30” and was signed on the back “Kerin Master Portrait Artist schooled by Bianco”. We suspect this contemporary work was produced in Asia for export and, while extremely well-done, may be something of a commodity, all of which should be taken into account by any would-be purchaser. The sale included other presidential portraits of a similar nature and source. It sold on a single bid for $600.
Swann Galleries in New York City held a manuscripts sale on April 27th. A slightly “rough” cotton bandana (20” x 23”) featuring portraits of Washington and Lincoln, circa 1865, vastly exceeded expectations and sold for $5500. When it comes to display pieces of this vintage, it seems collectors are becoming increasingly tolerant of condition issues.
Another dealer in Downingtown offered a folk art hand-painted Civil War era canteen on eBay. It featured a portrait of Lincoln labeled “A.L.” with an eagle and steamers overhead. The Buy-It-Now price was $3,750, but the listing was ended early after a few days. Was it a period piece or not? Your call.
On May 1st, Pook & Pook of Downingtown, Pennsylvania had an online-only auction of modestly-valued antiques that included a pine pie safe with pierced tin panels. It measured 52” high and 41” across and had a later coat of blue paint. One front panel had the initials W.T.P. which the cataloger guessed meant “We The People”. One side panel had a profile portrait of a man who looked like Abraham Lincoln (maybe Mr. “W.T.P.?”) With a low starting bid of $200, it went out the pie-safe door for $750.
A bronze face of Lincoln, done by Lorenzo E. Ghiglieri (b. 1931), was offered on eBay with a Buy-It-Now price of $2450. The sculptor is still active and produced a bronze statue of Lincoln & Tad displayed outside of City Hall in Kansas City, Missouri. The face weights nine pounds and has a wire loop for hanging.
While the market for CDVs has been soft in recent years, cartes-de-visite that detail some aspect of a presidential campaign remain robustly pursued. Al Anderson’s April 2017 auction included this wonderful 1864 caricature carte of a crying George McClellan whining “I will go the the White House” with a title “Will anything keep that child quiet?” Issued by Stephens of Pennsylvania, it realized $200.
“Young Abe Lincoln” by outside, self-taught, Kentucky artist Charlie Kinney (1912-1991). Paint and graphite on poster. Excellent condition. Image is 22″ wide x 28″ high. Frame is 31″ wide x 38” high. Est. $800-$1200. Offered by Slotin Folk Art Auctions on April 29th, it realized $1062.
Duane Merrill & Company of Williston, Vermont held an estate sale on April 29th. It included some political items from the collection of Arthur Bingham of Vermont. The selection was very poor except for one phenomenal item, a hand-painted cotton banner from 1860, carried by members of the Keene, New Hampshire Wide Awake club. Beautifully-executed and in excellent condition, the two-sided banner measured a healthy 39” x 45”. Bidding was hot and heavy. It started at $2,000 and ended at $36,000 ($41,400). Purchased by a well-known dealer who hopes to flip it for $75,000.
A CDV of an Emancipation Proclamation stylized print, published by A. Kidder of Chicago in 1863, sold on eBay for $56. We’ve never seen the print or the CDV.
A stereo view of the “Landing at Lake Umbagog” in New Hampshire, offered on eBay, showed a small group of people awaiting the arrival of the side-wheel steamboat “Andrew Johnson”. Published by Kilgore of Littleton, New Hampshire, the rare view sold for $205. We suspect the steamboat had a short career, just like its namesake.
Wes Cowan held an internet only “timed” auction on March 23rd. A hand-colored 16” x 21” cartoon published by N. Bang Williams of Rhode Island caught our attention. Titled “Little Mac’s Double Feat of Equitation”, mounted on board with some tears, it still made a respectable $780. This equine motif may have been inspired by the then-popular opera “Mazeppa”.
A 3” x 5 1/4” tintype showing a Confederate sympathizer surfaced on eBay. The seated gentleman, wearing an outlandish hat, stares intently at the camera while holding a composing stick of wooden type in his lap that reads “Jeff Davis” (backwards). It probably read “Jeff Davis” (forwards) when typeset, but things appear backwards on tintypes. He may have been a printer, so this may be classified as an occupational tintype, as well as a partisan political artifact. A nice “go-with” for someone who collects broadsides, it was hotly contested and managed to make an imPRESSive $835.
An 8” carved gnarled branch or root was also listed on eBay and described as Abraham Lincoln. We tend to agree with the attribution, but don’t know its age or origin. At $99.95, no one was willing to go out on a limb.
An eBay vendor in Holland listed a 10” lidded jar with a handle that he said depicted Abraham Lincoln. Given the tall black hat, that could be. It also looks a little like Jeff Davis, or perhaps Uncle Sam dressed in formal attire for a night on-the-town. The starting bid was $225. More importantly, who exactly is it? And, what’s it doing in Holland?
A “Free Pass” to the “Constitutional Purifying Association” was offered on eBay. Not exactly a pass, but rather a illustrated, cartoon handbill, it measured 6″ x 9″. It was not dated and did not mention Lincoln specifically, but it did promise that those Copperheads who went through the purifying process would be able to “Vote for an Honest Man without prejudice.” It realized $245.
Normally, ballots for Congressional candidates don’t excite much interest. Such was not the case for this ballot issued on behalf of failed Democratic candidate Daniel M. Henry of Maryland for an election held on June 13, 1861. Henry was an anti-war, peace candidate in the early days of the Civil War and, like many Marylanders, felt an affinity to the South, hence the title: “Southern Rights Anti-Coercion Ticket”. A vocal minority of Americans felt that Lincoln had gone too far in using force to achieve a reunification of the Union. It sold for $405 on eBay.
A satin and metallic fringe ribbon worn by a member of the original Wide Awakes during the Blaine & Logan campaign of 1884 just sold on-line for $88. A nice “go-with” for your 1860 Wide Awake items.
In the “Mystery of the Wax Museum” category, three hundred people descended on Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on January 14, 2017 to bid on the contents of “The Hall of Presidents and First Ladies Museum” which has closed its doors after close to sixty years of continuous operation. This is a wax museum that housed life-sized figures of all 44 presidents and one-third scale figures of all the First Ladies dressed in their inaugural ball gowns. The figures were made by various artisans including Ivo Zini, Krenson Way Figure Studio of Missouri and Dorfman Museum Figures of Baltimore. Bidders came from as far away as Canada and a crew from the Stephen Colbert Show was on hand to film the event. The museum also included twenty murals by Charles Morganthaler showing the development of America, forty small folk art sculptures of the presidents and an extensive collection of Time-Life photos of Gettysburg resident Dwight D. Eisenhower. The sale was necessitated by rising operating costs and a decline in attendance. Owned by Gettysburg Heritage Enterprises, Inc. (Max Felty, President), the space will now be converted into offices. Static museums of this type no longer appeal to the younger generation who are more “hands-on”, preferring interactive, multi-media displays. The auctioneer was Randy Dickensheets of Pennsylvania On-Site Auction Company. The sale lasted seven hours and everything was sold “to the walls”. Not surprisingly, the top lot was the full size figure of Abraham Lincoln @$8500. His ardent Republican admirer, Theodore Roosevelt, was a close second @$8000. We anticipated a “melt down”, but apparently there’s a market for this stuff, creepy as it is!
An Alexander Gardner CDV showing a seated Lincoln holding his eyeglasses and a newspaper did better than expected when it realized $2225 on eBay. There were multiple images taken at this photo session. All, for some reason, are somewhat light in tonality.
A stereo view of the U. S. Mint in Philadelphia draped in mourning at the time of Lincoln’s assassination was offered on eBay and sold for $168. We have never seen it before. As the photo was taken, a boy is seen walking down the sidewalk apparently carrying an ogee shelf clock.
A vendor from Mechanicsville, Virginia recently offered a collection of early Confederate sheet music (circa 1861) that had belonged Mary Belle Pilcher of Bleake Hill, Henrico County, Virginia. After the war, she married a former Confederate soldier, Johh H. Worsham, who had served under Stonewall Jackson. The most interesting one was the “Abe-iad” (referencing the columbiad cannon). It shows a seven-star First National flag and a rebel soldier shooting a cannon at a fleeing “Honest Abe” wearing the Scottish disguise he purportedly employed while passing through Baltimore en route to the inauguration. It sold for $1605, despite staining and separation of the pages.