Letter from Grant to Lee sells for $63,250 at Gallery 63 Gallery 63 in Atlanta's August 4-5 sale featured a trove of material from the '60s pertaining mostly to Dr. Martin Luther King ($17,250) and a letter from Ulysses S. Grant to Robert E. Lee ($63,250).
News-Antique.com - Aug 14,2007 - IMPORTANT MLK AUDIO TAPES FROM THE '60s, LETTER FROM GRANT TO LEE,
SIGNED ENGRAVING OF ROBERT E. LEE ALL CHANGE HANDS AT GALLERY 63
(Atlanta, Ga.) - Gallery 63 is fast becoming the auction house of choice for consignors of civil rights and other historical merchandise. The firm's August 4-5 sale featured a trove of audio tapes from the 1960s pertaining mostly to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ($17,250); a letter written by Ulysses S. Grant to Robert E. Lee ($63,250); and a steel engraving of Lee, signed by the general ($43,125).
“Ever since we moved into our larger quarters (at 4577 Roswell Road in Atlanta), it seems we've gotten more of this kind of historic material, and it's great,” said Paul Brown of Gallery 63. “We were already known as the consignment arm of Red Baron, and for staging some really wonderful multi-estate sales with fresh-to-the-market material. And now we're known for something else, too.”
Indeed, the three aforementioned pieces of American history alone accounted for more than $100,000 in a sale that grossed about $1.35 million. Civil rights and Civil War took center stage, but the auction saw about 1,250 lots change hands in a broad range of categories, from fine art to period furniture. The sale attracted over 460 registered bidders. About 650 people overall packed the gallery.
Gallery 63 made the news across the country a few months ago, when it appeared poised to sell a folder of previously unknown documents pertaining to Dr. King. But the King family intervened, and when the exact provenance of the material could not be determined, it was pulled from the auction block. However, the publicity resulted in phone calls from consignors with other civil rights material.
The MLK items sold at the August 4-5 sale comprised a trove of over 20 original audio and video tapes of speeches, sermons, hearings and interviews originally aired in the 1960s and pertaining mostly to the slain civil rights leader (although some tapes concerned Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy). They came from the estate of Jerry Tucker, a former newsman at WNOO in Chattanooga.
On one tape, Dr. King sits for an interview with Mr. Tucker, an event that was broadcast once, in 1960, and never aired again. It is the only reel of the interview that exists. Also sold, as a separate lot, was a letter, written on Southern Christian Leadership Conference letterhead, thanking an organizer of a banquet honoring Dr. King for receiving the Nobel Prize in 1964, and a dinner invitation.
The letter written by Grant to Lee (dated April 10, 1865, the day after the official end of the Civil War), discusses the terms of surrender of the Confederate Army and was originally penned at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. The letter was consigned by a Texas woman who became aware of Gallery 63 when she saw a television report on the folder of MLK papers that were pulled from sale.