RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – An original, two-page military document written by the commanding general of the American forces in the days preceding the Battle of Bunker Hill sold for $22,050 in a mail bid and Internet sale conducted Aug. 25 by Early American History Auctions. All prices include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
The document is dated June 14-16, 1775, and contains regimental orders from Gen. Artemus Ward, the commander of the American and Continental and Patriot Militias at Cambridge (outside Boston). The dates are significant, since they coincide with the official founding of the United State Army by the Continental Congress.
“This document was one of our favorite lots of the sale,” remarked Dana Linett, president of Early American History Auctions. “The winning bidder was a woman who bought it as a gift for her husband’s collection. It’s a true piece of American history.”
The top lot of the sale was a 1694 Carolina “Elephant” token that crossed the block at $25,960. The token was marked, God Preserve Carolina The Lord’s Proprietor, 1694 on one side, with the image of an elephant on the other.
An 1860 ferrotype portrait pin of Abraham Lincoln – beardless – in choice near-mint condition was expected to fetch no more than $1,800, but a pair of determined bidders drove the final gavel price to $12,980. The pin featured a sharp, clean image of Lincoln from his first presidential campaign, in a gilt brass oval frame.
An oil-on-canvas painting that served as cover art for the auction catalog, titled President Jefferson and His Cabinet, 1801, unsigned and in fine condition, realized $11,800. Depicted in the 26-inch by 45.5-inch painting are President Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, Secretary of State James Madison and other cabinet members, in an ornate, carved, gold-painted wooden frame.
A rare “5-cent Drink Sands Ale” key-encased postage merchant stamp, one of perhaps 10 in existence, soared to $10,620. The 5-cent denomination is the only one available to collectors. The example purchased was in excellent shape, with Thomas Jefferson clearly depicted on the back.
A collection of Morgan and Peace silver dollars, 113 coins in all and encased in five folders, hammered for $9,660. The dates range from 1878-1935 and include 89 Morgan dollars and a complete set of 24 Peace dollars. Most were in fine to uncirculated condition.
A letter written in 1800 by Daniel Morgan, a Major General of the American Army during the Revolutionary War and a member of Congress, to William Shepard, a fellow Congressman and Major General of Militia from Massachusetts, made $9,187. It has become known as the “deathbed letter,” as Morgan wryly writes, “I was happy to read the account of my own death in the newspapers.”
Early American History Auction’s next big sale is slated for Nov. 10 (with eBay Live Auction bids accepted through Nov. 11). For more information, call 858-759-3290 or visit www.EarlyAmerican.com.