game, it makes the auction more fun for everyone. If you know you can get in on the action, you’re going to come back, and you’re going to also bid on other items and win them. Consignors, too, are much happier when something sells much higher than its estimate than they are when it sells for even a little less. They also know we aren’t going to give them false expectations just to get hold of their material.”
As usual, early presidents and first ladies were a hot item, with a very unusual letter by Abigail Adams in which she commiserates with a friend whose son died in battle bringing $7000. A great document signed by her husband, authorizing a letter of marque for the Quasi-War with France, sold for $6000. An autograph letter of recommendation signed by the ever-popular Thomas Jefferson while vice president brought $10,000.
Highlights from other collecting areas included an outstanding content typed letter signed by novelist Henry James in 1914, with his views on wartime topics ($850 - a record for him in that format); a delightful original drawing of the Grinch signed by animator Chuck Jones, who directed the television version of Dr. Seuss’s book ($700); an autograph letter signed by beloved “Peter Rabbit” author Beatrix Potter ($850); and a scarce program for a 1942 German marksmanship competition signed by notorious dictator Adolf Hitler ($2050).
Along with great autographs, Smythe offered collectible Americana, books, prints, and photographs in a mail bid and online sale following the public auction. Here, too, there were valuable rarities. A most unusual hand-drawn map of the area around Vicksburg, MS, used by soldiers under Gen. W.T. Sherman during the Union siege of that city, sold for $2100. A large tapestry celebrating the Declaration of Independence went for $1900. A letter from a girl who had witnessed the horror of the Great Chicago Fire reached $600, while a wonderful diary along with a few letters of a Civil War soldier, telling of his participation in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, went all the way to $3250.
This is just a fraction of the sale’s results. Prices realized for the entire sale can be found at the firm’s web site, www.smytheonline.com.
Smythe is already accepting consignments for its next auction of autographs and Americana, scheduled for spring 2008. Interested parties can contact the company at 1-800-622-1880 for more details.
Accredited media interested in scheduling an interview to discuss this release or past or upcoming auctions are encouraged to contact Mary Herzog at 212-943-1880
About R. M. Smythe & Co.
R. M. Smythe and Co., established in 1880, buys, sells, and auctions coins, paper money, stocks and bonds and autographs at their corporate headquarters at 2 Rector Street in the heart of the Financial District in New York City. To order a catalog, to contact any of the firm’s specialists, or to make general inquiries, call 212-943-1880 or 800-622-1880, or visit the firm’s website at: http://www.smytheonline.com.