Historic FDR artifacts coming to auction

Important items of Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorabilia, including the last check ever signed by the late president, from the Drs. Joseph and Deborah Plaud Collection of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Items, will be offered in Heritage Auction Galleries’ upcoming Grand Format Auction on June 7, 2008.

“The items offered in this auction represent a lifetime of collecting passion,” said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions for Dallas-based Heritage. “Dr. Joseph Plaud first heard about FDR from his grandmother, who often spoke of the president with great feeling and admiration. This began Plaud’s fascination with the man, and in his teen years, he began collecting popular culture items relating to the 32nd president.”

With a diligence familiar to any dedicated collector, Plaud proceeded to amass a collection that many have described as the largest of its kind in private hands. With an equal emphasis on both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as the New Deal – a series of programs initiated by FDR to provide relief from the Great Depression – Plaud’s collection soon became the basis for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt American Heritage Center, located in Worcester, Mass., as well as the Franklin Delano Roosevelt American Heritage Center Special Collection, housed in Quincy, Mass.

“The museum has been a labor of love for Dr. Plaud and his wife, Dr. Deborah Plaud,” Slater said. “Now, as the museum has lost its public display facilities, the Plauds feel that this is an appropriate time to release some of this spectacular material into the marketplace, rather than let these historic treasures languish in storage.”

“The Plaud’s collection is vast,” Slater said, “and we’re pleased to be able to offer a portion of their holdings to the general public. Among the notable items being auctioned are the original watercolor proof studies painted by Madame Elizabeth Shoumatoff for her famous portrait of the president that was left unfinished when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage during the sitting. These powerful images would be some of the last rendered of FDR while he was alive. Also, there’s an incredible archive of signed checks, including the last check ever signed by the four-term Chief Executive, dated April 9, 1945 – he died on April 12 – in the amount of $1,800 for Eleanor’s monthly allowance. In addition, there are a number of significant personal items, such as FDR’s trademark fedora hat, all available for bidding.”

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Slater. “For more information about this exciting auction, I’d invite everyone to visit our Web site at www.HA.com, where you’ll find enlargeable, full-color images of each and every auction lot, complete with our thorough and informative catalog descriptions. You’ll even be able to place your bid online. Believe me, this is an event that no collector of American history will want to miss.”

Highlights of the auction include: FDR’s 1934 Christmas gift to Eleanor – an 18K gold and diamond compact with engraved message, with an estimate of $4,000-$6,000; FDR’s personal Tiffany wristwatch, worn at the Yalta Conference with an estimate of $4,000-$6,000; Franklin Roosevelt signed copy of the D-Day prayer by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from the White House, June 6, 1944, printed for his friends at Christmas 1944, estimate $8,000-$12,000; and the actual sheets upon which FDR lay in death, from his Warm Springs, Ga., “Little White House,” estimate $10,000-$15,000.

For more information about upcoming Heritage auctions, visit www.HA.com.