More than 500 lots of historical items in a dazzling array of categories will be sold at auction by Cohasco, Inc., on Feb. 25. The mail, phone, fax and e-mail auction will also go online at the firm’s Web site, www.cohascodpc.com, starting the last week of January. The auction marks the latest in Cohasco’s 63-year history.
Important items pertaining to Abraham Lincoln headline the event – timely because they are being offered concurrent with the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, in February 1809. One of the expected star lots is a set of three bronze lamps by which Lincoln “spent many hours reading, talking, thinking, laughing, and even dancing.” In 1842, they illuminated his wedding to Mary Todd (estimate $40,000-$70,000).
Also to be sold will be the original manuscript order to prepare for Lincoln’s interment, in Springfield, Ill., after the slain president’s funeral train had traveled across the country. The order, issued by Springfield mayor George Willis, is dated April 26, 1865, and directs the City Sexton to await the arrival of Lincoln’s body, which was buried in Springfield on May 4 of that fateful year (estimate $7,500-$10,000).
Another lot is a very rare captioned photo of Lincoln, prepared in 1865 by Charles Magnus, an outstanding printer of the Civil War period. The photo, previously unseen, measures 5 inches by 7 inches, and shows an introspective Lincoln (estimate $175-$250).
Other categories include famous men and women, presidents and first ladies, slavery and black history, Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Judaica, aviation, stocks and bonds, finance, Americana, political history, entertainment, maps and prints, an archive of the Old South, newspapers, medical, and more.
A letter in the hand of poet Emma Lazarus, best known for her words at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free …,” will also be auctioned. The letter, dated 1877, is to the Independent Journal, discussing future publication of a new poem. Lazarus passed away at age 38 (estimate $10,000-$13,500).
An archive of more than 900 documents on the early days of the U.S. automotive industry will be offered. These original specimen-proofs of their logos trace the rise of an industry that once had countless hundreds of manufacturers – far from the few left today. Now believed unique, these trademark documents represent a plethora of iconic marques, including Duesenberg and Rolls-Royce (estimate $45,000-$65,000).
An important five-part collection gathered over a period of decades traces the saga of the Old South, spanning Mississippi from territorial years, to statehood, to the eve of the Confederacy. Included is an excessively rare plantation journal entirely in the hand of its overseer, penned during the Civil War (110+ items, estimate $40,000-$60,000).
Also offered are four items of Helen Keller, the deaf, mute and blind author whose achievements remain an inspiration today. The centerpiece is a tragic letter lamenting the death of her caretaker, written to her friend, stage actress Katharine Cornell (estimate $1,250-$1,750).
Offered will be a rare and unusual collection of 11 newspapers, with riveting daily coverage of the John Brown raid from the Southern perspective. A watershed event in American history, it was a seminal chapter in America’s abolitionist movement. Brown and his men raided the Harper’s Ferry Arsenal on Oct. 16-18, 1859. He was captured by Gen. Robert E. Lee and hung on Dec. 2 (estimate $600-$800).
A significant rarity, a slave broadside advertising the sale of a “Valuable Gang of Thirty-Seven Negroes From Florida, Accustomed to the Culture of Cotton, Sugar and Provisions” – is estimated to bring $2,750-$3,500. It is a seldom-seen example of the sale of slaves as intact families. The circa 1856 item measures 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches, and appears to be from Charleston, S.C.
Automotive buffs will be intrigued by a miniature precision display model of the complete radiator shell of the Duesenberg, the car of choice among the Hollywood elite of the 1920s and ’30s. The piece, handmade by Duesenberg’s Chief Designer, J. Herbert Newport Jr., is the only known surviving example of his design by his hand (estimate $3,500-$4,500).
The Hollywood star Judy Garland’s 6-page management contract, dated 1951, will also cross the block. The contract, boldly signed in blue on the final page by the immortal singer, agrees to pay 10 percent of her earnings to the William Morris Agency of Beverly Hills for three years. It is stamped “Actors Copy” and measures 8 1/4 inches by 11 inches (estimate $950-$1,250).
Two significant printed documents from the period of America’s birth will be offered. The Royal Acts, of 1774 and 1778, are core documents in the chronicle of America’s quest for freedom. The pair is estimated to hammer for $15,000-$20,000.
Were you aware that animals similar to bison and beaver were once spotted on the moon? It’s true, if you believe the 1835 reports in the National Gazette and Literary Register newspapers (both from Philadelphia). These two papers, with fascinating “factual” accounts of Halley’s Comet and the moon, will be sold together. They are estimated at $125-$175.
The New-York American of 1835 states there are pyramids on the moon. Three consecutive issues chronicle the “Great Astronomical Discoveries” of Sir John Herschel, whose power telescope reported pyramid-like structures on the Moon – made of crystal, built by busy Lunarians. These, too, will be sold as a single lot (estimate $200-$250).
Back on Earth (more specifically, colonial America), the first two issues of the short-lived but highly influential American Magazine are estimated at $1,900-$2,500. Dated Jan. and Feb. 1769, the magazines were published in Philadelphia, America’s center of political thought and fervor for freedom at the time. They capture the nation’s simmering revolutionary mood.
A rare printed letter from “Prof. Dr. (Sigmund) Freud” will be offered, talking of the need to establish a special clinic for the treatment of the mentally disturbed (estimate $125-$175).
Auction catalogs are available beginning Jan. 23, from Cohasco, Inc., P.O. Drawer 821, Yonkers, NY 10702. Call 914-476-8500 or e-mail email@example.com.
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