Swan Auction: Preliminary results of Sale 2413, November 1, 2016

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF SALE 2413, November 1, 2016:


Sale total: $583,949 with Buyer’s Premium

Hammer total: $462,830

Estimates for sale as a whole: $363,340 to $542,060

We offered 285 lots; 255 sold (89% sell-through rate by lot)

Top lots                                                                                                                                                  Prices with buyer’s premium

118      Album with more than 130 Civil War-era signatures, including Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet,                               $60,000 C

and signed by 18 presidents, 1864-2010.                                                                                                                                         

26*      Samuel Huntington, Letter Signed, as Governor, to NJ Gov. William Livingston, informing him that CT ratified     $36,400 D

the U.S. Constitution, 23 January 1788.              

143      Andrew Jackson, Autograph Note Signed to Secretary of War regarding Cherokee Nation, circa 1837.                        $18,750 C

10         George Washington, Partly-printed Document Signed as Commander-In-Chief, 8 June 1783.                                          $13,750 C

35         Joseph Smith, clipped signature with the fragmentary closing “Your Friend,” undated.                                                    $13,750 C

119      John Quincy Adams, Letter Signed as Secretary of State, on the constitutional convention, 22 October 1818.          $11,250 D

146      Thomas Jefferson, Printed Document Signed as Secretary of State, the first Act in which VT is referred to   $11,250 C

 as a state, 2 March 1791.                                          

1           Album containing more than 200 signatures, including most of the 38th Congress, 1850-74.                                         $9,750 D

22         Benjamin Franklin, Document Signed as President of the Executive Council of PA, 1785.                                               $8,750 C

108      Raoul Wallenberg, Partly Printed Letter Signed, verifying that Jenö Radványi is released from wearing                     $8,125 C

the yellow star, Budapest, August 1944.                                                                  

276      Claude Monet, Autograph Letter Signed to Gustave Geffroy, inviting him to Giverny, 14 July 1891.                          $8,125 C

52         Muhammad Ali, Photograph Signed and Inscribed and Typed Letter Signed, 4 August 1967.                                         $7,500 C

189      Washington, Partly-printed Document Signed, Virginia lottery ticket, 1768.                                                                                         $7,250 D

225      Sergei Rachmaninoff, Autograph Musical Quotation dated and Signed, 1 February 1919.                                                 $7,000 C

257      J.D. Salinger, Autograph Letter Signed, offering consolation, Denver, November 1972.                                                    $7,000 D

23         Franklin, Partly-printed vellum Document Signed, granting 200 acres of land, 28 February 1787.                                 $6,760 C

29         John Jay, Autograph Letter Signed, to his son, discussing financial matters, Bedford, 29 November 1815.                  $6,240 C

216      Gustav Mahler, Autograph Note Signed, undated.                                                                                                                         $6,240 C

260      Mark Twain, Autograph Manuscript Signed, draft title-page for Appendix to ‘A Connecticut Yankee                            $6,000 D

in King Arthur’s Court,’ circa 1889.                                                                                                                                                  

11         Anthony Wayne, Autograph Letter Signed to Benjamin Rush, 20 September 1779.                                                            $5,750 C

KEY: * = Auction record; C = Collector; D = Dealer

Days Before Election, Presidential Signatures in High Demand

at Swann Galleries’ Autographs Auction

New York—On November 1, a mere nine days before the American Presidential election, Swann Auction Galleries offered an autograph album signed by 18 presidents, starting with Abraham Lincoln and ending with Barack Obama. Fourteen presidents signed the album on a single page, to make for a head-spinning who’s-who of powerful Americans. The album, which sold to a collector for $60,000*, was the centerpiece of an eclectic and well-attended Autographs auction.

         Presidents and historic political superstars performed exceptionally well in the sale. A Letter Signed by Samuel Huntington as Governor, informing the Governor of New Jersey that Connecticut had ratified the Constitution, sold for $36,400—over ten times the high estimate and an auction record for a letter signed by Huntington. Various Partly-printed Documents Signed by George Washington achieved high prices, including a 1768 Virginia lottery ticket, which sold for $7,250, and the 1783 military discharge of Edward Keyser from the Second New York Regiment, which brought $13,750.

         One outstanding lot was a Clipped Signature by Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. The fragment was cut from a letter that closed, “your friend” and on the verso mentioned the town of Plymouth, a site of spiritual relevance to Mormons. Bidders over the phone, online and in attendance pushed the price to nearly twenty times the estimate–it eventually went to a collector for $13,750.

         Also in the sale was an Autograph Letter Signed by Claude Monet to his friend, the artist and art critic Gustave Geffroy, inviting him to visit the garden “resplendent with flowers” in Giverny, where Monet painted his famous water lilies. The letter, dated July 14, 1891 and still in the original envelope, sold for $8,125. An Autograph Letter Signed by Edvard Munch to Judge J. Roede stated that his handyman will continue to assist in his painting, though he will no longer be able to garden or grow asparagus. The undated letter, in Danish, went for $3,250.

         There was no shortage of musicians’ signatures in the sale, led by Sergei Rachmininoff’s Autograph Musical Quotation dated and Signed, which sold to a collector for $7,000. Meanwhile, an Autograph Note Signed by Gustav Mahler with the salutation “Dear Director” in German sold above its estimate at $6,240. A poster featuring inkblots, each signed by a member of the Beatles with Ringo, the shortest Beatle, signing the shortest inkblot and inscribing his height, sold for $5,750 after frenzied bidding.

Swann Galleries’ Autographs Specialist Marco Tomaschett said, “Presidential autographs performed well, demonstrating that this election season has not diminished enthusiasm for the presidency. We are also seeing collectors bid enthusiastically for popular culture icons, while autographs of fine artists and classical musicians continue to increase in value.”


*All prices include Buyer’s Premium


 Lot 26sLot 118s




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