650 historical lots cross the block at Cohasco auction A major manuscript archive of Southern history, amassed by a scholar over a period of decades, sold for $76,725 in a mail, phone, e-mail, fax and Internet sale held in March by Cohasco, Inc.
MAJOR UNPUBLISHED ARCHIVE OF SOUTHERN HISTORY SOARS TO $76,725 IN
MARCH MAIL-PHONE-E-MAIL-INTERNET AUCTION CONDUCTED BY COHASCO
(Yonkers, N.Y.) - A major unpublished manuscript archive of Southern history – including a 1775 map of Natchez, Miss. (which at one time boasted more millionaires than New York City); a Mississippi plantation Bible maintained from 1839-1979; and a set of encyclopedias from the personal library of a slave owner and cotton planter – sold for $76,725 in a March auction held by Cohasco, Inc.
The archive was the top seller of the nearly 650 lots offered in the mail, phone, fax, e-mail and Internet sale, at which thousands of historical documents and related collectibles crossed the block. It was the 56th sale held in Cohasco's 62-year history. Included were items ranging from Americana to World Wars I and II. Between 40-50 consignors were represented -- typical for a Cohasco auction.
“This was one of our best sales in years,” said Bob Snyder of Cohasco, Inc. “Prices were strong in a number of categories, and seemingly unfettered by market notions, price guides or general consensus. Items like stock certificates fetched very high prices, even more than at specialty houses.” Mr. Snyder added only seven lots carried reserves; the remainder were sold to the highest bidder.
The manuscript archive of Southern history was amassed by a scholar over a period of decades. It is a significant collection, comprising hundreds of original items, to include manuscript maps, personal letters, plantation inventories, books, slave documents, photographs, business correspondence and family-related documents from early settlers of the lower Mississippi Valley.
Following are additional highlights from the sale, which concluded March 18. All prices quoted include a 15% buyer's premium (except for the top lot, the premium for which was 12.5%).
Colonial and Rev-War America was a particularly strong category. A rare copy of the first British edition of the new American Constitution, printed in London in 1787 and with Washington's letter submitting it to Congress, achieved $7,187; and a copy of “Gordon's American War” by William Gordon (London, 1788, four volumes), chronicling the founding of America, hammered for $6,957.
Extracts from the votes and proceedings of the American Continental Congress, held in Philadelphia on Sept. 5, 1774 (London, reprinted for J. Almon, 84 pages) – the very bedrock of the birth of the United States – rose to $6,325; and a manuscript listing the clothing allotments for a 46-man Colonial regiment, printed in 1780 and listing every soldier by name (8” x 12.5”), reached $825.
Civil War-era items also did well. A theatrical broadside advertising the play “The Lady Lyons” at the Boston Museum on Jan. 20, 1863 and featuring the actor-turned-assassin John Wilkes Booth (his name is printed three times, in bold type) achieved $1,518; and a nice 1864 silver campaign token with a flattering likeness of Abraham Lincoln on the obverse (11/16” in diameter) went for $759.
Examples of Black History piqued the interest of bidders. A slave