Friday, April 29, 2011

Auction Preview: Copley at Sotheby's

The final round of the sale of the James S. Copley Library will be held at Sotheby's New York on 20 May, in 252 lots.

A major highlight will be John Lansing's notebooks from the Constitutional Convention, covering 25 May through 10 July, 1787. These are estimated at $600,000-900,000. See the full description here [PDF].

An impressive archive of Dwight Eisenhower letters to his wife Mamie, totaling 240 pages, is estimated at $400,000-600,000. A complete copy of the first book edition of The Federalist (New York: 1788) in contemporary boards, could fetch $200,000-300,000. Several other significant archives will be offered: a collection of materials related to John Charles Frémont is estimated at $100,000-150,000, while documents about the 1865 Hampton Roads peace conference could bring $80,000-120,000. Letters and documents about the assassination of President Garfield and the trial of Charles Guiteau are estimated at $50,000-80,000.

Three major single letters for sale include a 21 July 1788 George Washington letter to Nathaniel Gorham celebrating the ratification of the Constitution (est. $80,000-120,000); a letter from Abraham Lincoln to the House of Representatives from May 1864 (being a transcription in his hand of a letter sent to Montgomery Blair on 2 November 1863), estimated at $70,000-100,000; and an August 1808 letter from Thomas Jefferson to NH governor John Langdon (est. $60,000-90,000).

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