Lap desk and quill used to end the Mexican-American War in 1848 will be sold at auction Sept. 7 The lap desk and quill belonging to Nicholas Philip Trist, used to write and sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, will be sold at auction Friday, Sept. 7, by Aumann Auctions in Pierce, Neb.
News-Antique.com - Jul 25,2012 - (PIERCE, Neb.) – The lap desk and quill belonging to Nicholas Philip Trist, used to write and sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on Feb. 2, 1848 – an historic event that ended the Mexican-American War and resulted in Mexico ceding 55 percent of its pre-war territory, thereby completing the United States' Manifest Destiny -- will be sold at auction Friday, Sept. 7, by Aumann Auctions, Inc., in Pierce, Neb., in conjunction with MCHJ Auctioneers of Nebraska.
The importance and historical significance of the lap desk and quill cannot be overstated. Second in size and importance only to the Louisiana Purchase, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo led to the purchase by the United States, at a cost of $15 million, of 525,000 square miles, including all or part of ten states: Texas, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The acquisition forever changed the size and shape of this country.
“Already we have been contacted by several museums from around the country, expressing strong interest,” said Kelly Aumann of Aumann Auctions, Inc. “It’s great that they’re interested, but we want everyone, including collectors and investors, to be able to bid. An opportunity like this is simply unheard of and a find like this is truly once in a lifetime. These items are of such monumental historical significance it's impossible to predict what they might bring at auction.”
. The lap desk was made sometime between 1831 and 1837. The label on the desk reads “N. Starkey, Manufacturer of Portable Desks, Dressing Cases, Medicine Chests and Ladies Work Boxes, No. 52 Walnut St., Opposite the Exchange, Philadelphia.” The brass nameplate on the desk reads “N. P. Trist.”
The quill has been filled with some sort of plaster and inscribed with what looks to be “Treaty of Peace, Feb. 2, 1848 (Triplicate) NTP’s (Signature).” The words “Triplicate” and “Signature” are in parentheses because, although Aumann Auctions is fairly certain of the word “Triplicate,” it is not quite as certain of the word “Signature.” So, they are in quotes, pending further inspection.
The lap desk and quill surfaced sometime between 1978 and 1982 – on a small farm in Nebraska, of all places, as some of Trist’s descendants ended up living in Omaha. The items were purchased from an elderly man by a local antiques dealer in the late 1970s, who in turn sold them to the parents of the consignor in the mid-1980s. Since then, they have been kept wrapped in a quilt in a closet.
Nicholas Philip Trist (1800-1874) was commissioned in 1847 by President James K. Polk to serve as executive agent (with General Winfield Scott, and when the time was right) to negotiate an end to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). During the 16 months of the war, the Mexican presidency would change hands nine times between six different men. With the Mexican government in chaos, two previous at a peace agreement both failed. Trist and Gen. Scott determined that the only way to deal with