News-Antique.com - Jan 03,2008 - Photo caption: An autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln regarding a soldier's request to resign his commission. Lincoln autographs are among the most enduringly popular with collectors
Manhattan, New York - January 03, 2007 - On Thursday, January 17, auctioneers RM Smythe & Co, Inc, will hold its live Winter Autograph Auction, presenting collectors and dealers with one of the most interesting selections of historic autographs in recent memory. The sale, which begins at 11 am, features the collection of Steven Lee Carson, the fruits of fifty years of collection, with particular strength in presidential and related autographs. Following the public auction, Smythe will hold a mail bid and internet-only auction of Americana, autographs, books, photographs, philatelic items and more, beginning at 2 pm.
One of the most unusual items in the auction is an autograph book from the Carson collection containing the rare signature of James A. Garfield as President. It also contains remarkable combinations of autographs together on the same page, such as Presidents Hayes, Ford, and Carter; another page gathers together Supreme Court Justices Burger, Rehnquist, Blackmun, Brennan, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, O’Connor, Powell, Scalia, Souter, Stevens, Thomas, and White; while another sports authors and playwrights Edward Albee, EL Doctorow, Norman Mailer, Neil Simon, Salman Rushdie, Gore Vidal, and others. Another unusual combination being offered is a photograph of Richard Nixon being sworn in by Chief Justice Warren Burger that is signed by Nixon and Burger, but also by Henry Kissinger and President Jimmy Carter. Yet another is signed by both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, a naval appointment during the latter’s administration, with FDR signing as Acting Secretary of the Navy. Also from the Carson collection come rarities like a statement from New York Mayor Opdyke in response to the Draft Riots in 1863, and a choice content typed letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr., explaining that “the temper of events” in the South prevents him from accepting speaking engagements too far in advance. Among Carson’s lasting interests is the life of Abraham Lincoln. Accordingly, his collection features an autograph letter signed in which the President asks Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to approve an army officer’s request to resign. A moving autograph letter signed by his widow, Mary Lincoln, is written two weeks after the death of her son, Tad, and pleads with a friend to “come, come to me” to comfort her in her “fearful sorrow.”
Modern presidents and first ladies are also present, including a choice group of ten autograph letters signed by Nancy Reagan, one of them concerning her husband’s ongoing recovery from the 1981 attempt on his life! In a stunning pair of letters, each offered separately, Theodore Roosevelt writes about his struggle to negotiate the end of the Russo-Japanese War (for which he would win the Nobel Peace Prize), complaining that the English have been “foolishly reluctant to advise Japan to be reasonable;” and admits months after leaving office that he is disappointed in President Taft, his chosen successor,