Maine at War exclusive
President Abraham Lincoln could not conceive while penning a letter to Postmaster General Montgomery Blair on November 2, 1863, that because of the presidential signature signed on the bottom of page 2, the document would one day fetch a starting bid of $30,000 during a 21st-century auction.
And when Gen. Robert E. Lee issued and signed General Order No. 59 on May 7, 1863, the idea that the original document and his signature would likely bring between $60,000 and $80,000 during a 2015 auction would be inconceivable.
But these documents (made invaluable by their respective signatories) are just two among many documents and other historical items that collectors will be bidding to purchase as Invaluable (www.invaluable.com) hosts Historical Auction 75 online beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time) on Thursday, June 11.
The Calabasas, Calif.-based auction house “Profiles in History” will handle the auction-related bidding.
According to Morgan Young of Invaluable, the auction “will feature a selection of 200 noteworthy auction lots.” Collectors will find the wide range of historical personages quite interesting; Lot 55 is a bank check signed by actor Errol Flynn on Feb. 27, 1945; Lot 1 is a John Adams-signed letter dated July 5, 1798; and Lot 116 is a document written and signed by Sir Isaac Newton on Nov. 15, 1721.
The starting bid for Newton’s autographed document is $30,000.
There are letters, manuscripts, and other documents signed by such historic people as Samuel Clemens, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Chopin, Agatha Christie, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Andrew Jackson, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and even Geronimo.
Collectors of Civil War memorabilia will find many war-related items, such as:
• Lot 3, an undated letter written and signed by Maj. Robert Anderson in which he reports how “the bombardment of Fort Sumter commenced 3 ½ am. Apl. 12, 1861” and what happened afterwards. The starting bid for this letter is $800.
• Lot 25, a 500-plus piece collection of Civil War equipment, including field-hospital equipment, weapons, and camp equipment. The starting bid for this collection is $40,000.
• Lot 30, a letter signed by Confederate President Jefferson Davis on Saturday, April 1, 1865, about 24 hours before he learned that Richmond must be evacuated. The starting bid is $15,000.
• Lot, 74, a letter signed by Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson on Aug. 13, 1861. The starting bid is $20,000.
• Lot 131, a letter written to Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston by Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman from Raleigh, N.C. on April 24, 1865. The Civil War did not end with the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9; Johnston and Sherman were still squaring off in North Carolina, and Sherman hoped to convince Johnston to surrender. The starting bid is $30,000.
The auction will feature several Lincoln-related items, including the November 1863 letter to Blair.
People interested in bidding on specific items must register online with Invaluable to do so.
For more information about the June 11 auction and to check out the 200 auction lots, log onto http://www.invaluable.com/catalog/searchLots.cfm?scp=c&catalogRef=4LBE8HJXG8
Brian Swartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He would love to hear from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.