Truman to Tibet: 10 fascinating finds at auction Jan. 27

Truman, Roosevelt, Tibet, tigers, gangsters and good guys from history are represented in Potter & Potter Auction’s first auction of the year: Fine Books & Manuscripts. The sale is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Notes From Truman

The 565 lots in the sale include a range of disciplines including 20th-century literature, science, autographs, private press and books, cards and writings of Harry S. Truman, and items related to a couple of the most infamous men of the 20th century. Mentioned here are 10 of the most intriguing lots I came across in the auction catalog.

Truman Letters

All photos courtesy of Potter & Potter

This grouping features four cards, signed by Harry S. Truman and inscribed to Matthew J. Connelly and Robert Connelly. Each card contains a different imprint, and all were written in the 1940s. While there is some water staining to a couple of the cards, as a group the cards are deemed in good to very good condition. In addition, it carries an estimate of $500 to $700 into the auction.
Seven Years in Tibet manuscrip

This Limited Editions Club edition of Heinrich Herrer’s “Seven Years in Tibet,” circa 1993, is signed by Herrer and is number 13 of 300. It is bound in an exquisite Indian Bure silk on board material with a blind-stamped symbol on the cover; plus, it bears an elaborate case of carved magnolia wood boards. Furthermore, this unique find has an estimate of $800 to $1,200.

Recruitment Art

U.S. Marine poster

This patriotic poster, dating to 1918, is calling for men to join the U.S. Marines, and visit the local Chicago recruiting office to do so. The linen-backed poster, designed by James Montgomery Flagg, has had professional over-coloring and touch-up work was done to it. Furthermore, its estimate is between $700 and $900.

Letter by A.A. Milne

A.A. Milne is best known for his creative and enchanting children’s tales, most specifically, the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and friends. This lot comprises of two hand-written letters signed “A.A. Milne” and “Blue,” and both are addressed to Vincent Seligman. Furthermore, the letters were written in 1920 and 1943 on Cotchford Farm stationary to Milne’s close friend. A.A. Milne was born on Jan. 18, 1882 and died Jan. 31, 1956. This lot of letters has an estimate of $400 to $600.
Lee Harvey Oswald suit

This two-piece gray suit, circa 1957, was owned and worn by Lee Harvey Oswald. The pieces bear “Lee H. Oswald,” embroidered in yellow thread on the inside pocket of the jacket. It was reportedly purchased by Oswald while he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was stationed near Yokahama, Japan, and he wore it during his wedding in 1961. In addition, the suit comes to the auction with an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.

Diverse Declarations

Declaration of Independence

This American Revolution-era broadside features the Declaration of Independence. It was printed by C.A. Elliot in 1842 and it’s engraved with hand-coloring appearing in red, yellow, blue, and green. A portrait of President George Washington appears above the signatures of the delegates. There is some toning and soiling throughout, but this piece is deemed in very good condition. Records reveal only one example currently held by the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Museum at the University of Virginia. It may command between $5,000 and $7,000.

Walt Whitman postcard

There’s no question Walt Whitman’s writings are captivating, but as Lot 286 proves, even his postcard greetings are enchanting. In a postcard signed “Walt Whitman” with a message and greeting to poet Gabriel Sarrazin, he writes: Camden New Jersey / Thot I wd send a short word as I sit here late night Dec. 31 ’90 + a storm out + tomorrow a new year beginning (+ I pray it will be one lucky + blessed to you) – am here yet + much the same – When I publish anything new I will send you – If you receive this write + give me directions – God bless you / Walt Whitman. The postcard contains a postmark of January, 1891. Furthermore, it’s estimate is $4,000 to $6,000.

Roosevelt Cartoon Envelope and Stamps

A little lightheartedness can go a long way, even when you are the president. Case in point, this original envelope from the President’s Own “Bouquets & Brickbats” collection, featuring the original cartoon artwork of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Accompanying the cartoon drawing, which bears the artists signature “Whipple Y. Chester/May 19, 1938,” is a sixteen-cent Special Delivery stamp and two six-cent Air Mail stamps. In addition, the label also mentions National Air Mail Week, May 15-21, 1938. Furthermore, the item carries an estimate of $600 to $900 into the auction.

Infamous Antiquities

Dillinger WANTED broadside

Notorious gangster John Dillinger ‘rap sheet’ as outlined under the Criminal Record section of this WANTED broadside was more than a little involved. This broadside was issued by J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Department of Justice, on March 12, 1934. The FBI’s involvement came into play after Dillinger, in jail in Indiana awaiting trial for the murder of a Chicago police officer escaped from the jail after approaching guards with what looked like a gun, but he later claimed was a wooden model he had whittled. Ironically, it was Dillinger’s choice of transportation and direction of travel that put him on the WANTED poster. He stole a sheriff’s car and crossed the state line into Illinois, which was a violation of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, and a federal offense, according to www.fbi.gov.

Furthermore, his travels took him further north into the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Following a shootout, he heads back south to Gary, Indiana, where on July 22, 1934 law enforcement surrounds the movie theater where Dillinger was. Another shootout ensued and Dillinger was struck outside the theater, and died at a local hospital later that evening, according to the FBI site. Now the WANTED broadside is coming to auction with an estimate of $300 to $400.

Miniature Books

This group of four miniature books is one of 10 lots in the sale featuring tiny literary offerings. The books in this group include the poetical Works of Alfred Tennyson (Eyre & Spottiswoode), leather-backed silver cover stamped with the author’s likeness; The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony (Eyre & Spottiswoode); Cymbeline (David Bryce, 1904) by Shakespeare; and The Lady of the Lake (Edinburgh, Andersons, ca. 1900s). The lot has an estimate of $200 to $300.

The auction begins at 10 a.m. Central time, Jan. 27. The online catalog is viewable at Bidsquare.com.

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