News-Antique.com - Nov 06,2009 - When Walt Disney wrote to a Minnesota man on November 29, 1935, he never dreamed what that letter would be worth one day.
Typed on his “Silly Symphony” letterhead, with a large Mickey Mouse in orange and black, it is today something of a holy grail for Disney collectors.
For six years, Disney’s Silly Symphony cartoons won Academy Awards. Among many other characters, Silly Symphony gave birth to Donald Duck.
Signed with his cartoonists’ pen, Walt Disney’s letter, with its Mickey Mouse envelope, is estimated to sell in the Nov. 12 Yonkers auction of Cohasco, Inc., for $3,500-5,000.
Six hundred other lots of collectibles in the auction include:
– the world’s largest private collection of U.S. Capitol Building memorabilia. Capturing the heart of a collector, 575 items - every one showing the famed structure - were gathered over decades. The one-of-a-kind collection even includes a shoe, a miniature piano, and a bell, all depicting the Capitol Building. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the model for the Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the Capitol dome (pre-sale estimate, $2,000-4,000);
– a letter from New Orleans writing of the “dreadful gale of wind” - certainly a hurricane - in 1837. Part of a 245-item archive of life in New Orleans and the Old South, the original letters and documents describe the lost world of steamboats, cotton trading, plantations, great wealth, the early frontier, sugar, tobacco - and slavery ($48,000-60,000);
– “the pamphlet that shaped a nation,” a 26-page booklet printed in Spring 1776 by the same man, John Dunlap, who printed the Declaration of Independence on the night of July 4th. Included in the Library of Congress’ online presentation “Creating the United States,” only three other original examples of this pamphlet are known ($1,500-2,500);
– advertising booklet for one of the very first hybrid cars, the 1905 Gas-Au-Lec of Peabody, Mass. Combining gas, steam, and electricity, only four cars were ever built ($110-140);
– description of the fabled “letter from Jesus,” in an English schoolboy’s notebook of 1698-1702. According to tradition, King Abgar wrote to Jesus, asking for help in curing his illness; he received a reply, and was visited - and cured - by one of Jesus’ disciples ($400-600);
– 1816 letter of a plantation overseer, ordering striped fabric for slaves’ clothing ($90-120);
– a fascinating collection of envelopes with bisects - postage stamps cut in half to make odd amounts;
– an early manuscript in the modern English language, 1639;
– a document recording a wedding in France, 1485. The family villa survives to this day;
– and many other unusual historical items, in thirty-four categories.
By far, the most valuable and unusual "lot" is just that: an empty lot, but with a secret.
Hiding in plain sight in downtown Yonkers, just behind the auction house, is one of the most ancient African-American historical sites in the country. Forgotten for years, it dates to 1682, surpassing even the Manhattan Burial Ground by about