Lee’s Surrender Document Sells for $537,750 in $2.9M Heritage Civil War Auction

DALLAS – Heritage Auction Galleries’ most recent auction of Civil War memorabilia, held on December 1, in Nashville, Tenn., realized $2,924,413 for 427 lots offered, although after-auction sales are still ongoing, and are expected to push the final total to even higher levels.

"This was another very strong offering of historic Civil War material," said Gary Hendershott, Director of Civil War auctions for Dallas-based Heritage. "Without a doubt, the star of the show was the lot that included General Robert E. Lee’s signed copies of his correspondence with General Ulysses S. Grant that surrendered the Confederate army and ended the American Civil War in 1865. These are, perhaps, the most important documents of that conflict, as they effectively re-united America as a single nation and ended the practice of slavery in this country forever.Document12-26issue.jpg After some spirited bidding, these museum-worthy papers sold for $537,750."

One of the letters of surrender brokered between Lee and Grant.

"Also sold in this auction was the most important photograph album in American Civil War history," Hendershott continued. "The photographs collected by Mary Boykin Chestnut, the South Carolina chronicler of the Civil War, realized $77,675, and was ultimately won by a member of her family. Equally impressive was the ‘First National’ Confederate flag that flew over President Jefferson Davis’ home. It sold for $22,705 and is being returned to Davis’s home of ‘Beauvoir,’ located in Mississippi, which is currently undergoing restoration following the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Grant and Lee.jpgAdditionally, many important swords and firearms were sold, including a rare Whitworth rifle that set a new world record when it realized a staggering $155,350."

Cover of National Park Service Handbook 109, APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE (1980), from the painting by Louis Guillaume, owned by Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.

"Hundreds of collectors, history buffs, and museum curators, participated in this important auction," Hendershott said. "Heritage already has plans for additional Civil War auctions throughout 2008, and expects to set even more impressive sales records as we continue to make available even more remarkable historical items to the collecting public."

For more information regarding Heritage’s upcoming Civil War auctions, please visit www.HA.com.