Signed manuscript proposing a Constitutional end to slavery may bring $300K in Nov. 13 antique book sale

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Skinner, Inc., is presenting an original draft manuscript petition of the XIIIth Amendment to the United States Constitution—the amendment abolishing slavery in the United States during its Nov. 13, 2011 fine book auction. Skinner, Inc., is presenting an original draft manuscript petition of the XIIIth Amendment to the United States Constitution—the amendment abolishing slavery in the United States during its Nov. 13, 2011 fine book auction.

BOSTON, Mass.  – A group of Presidential material, including several Lincoln and Washington documents as well a signed manuscript petition proposing the XIII Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery are among the featured lots in a Nov. 13, 2011 fine books auction by Skinner, Inc.

This vellum document, estimated to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000, is dated November, 1864 and is signed by Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House; Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President of the US, and President of the Senate; and 110 members of Congress. This extremely rare document is one of only a handful still in existence. It is the formal proposal to the states for the ratification on the abolishment of slavery in this country once and for all.

The sale takes place in Skinner’s Boston gallery located at 63 Park Plaza.

Of particular local interest is a letter written by Abraham Lincoln dated April 4, 1863 to Massachusetts Governor John Albion Andrew. In it, Lincoln offers the Governor his opinion on naval warfare, specifically an idea regarding the defense of Boston Harbor. This interesting letter is estimated to sell between $30,000 and $50,000.

The sale is also highlighted by an interesting letter from George Washington to the architect William Thornton, dated July 2, 1799, concerning the construction of a building in the “Federal City” (now known as Washington, D.C.). Thornton is often called America’s “first architect” due to his successful design of the Capital Building in 1793. The two townhouses referenced in lot 143, estimated to sell between $20,000 and $30,000, reside in the area now known as Upper Senate Park. There is a letterpress copy of this letter in the archives of the New York Public Library.

Fine Books
The books offerings in the sale run the gamut of literature, science, botany, travel and exploration, poetry, library sale catalogs, and an interesting group of witchcraft titles.

Rare book offerings include a fine first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, printed in 1934. This book, lot 400, retains its original first issue dust jacket and has an estimated auction value of $6,000 to $8,000.

A copy of Sir Isaac Newton's (1642-1727) The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is expected to sell for $15,000 to $20,000.A copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is expected to sell for $15,000 to $20,000.

Also extremely rare is a two-volume set concerning Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic exploration, lot 690. This set includes The Heart of the Antarctic 1907-09, numbered 234 of 300 copies, as well as the scarce The Antarctic Book, 1909, which is one of only 300 copies signed by every member of the shore party. This vellum-bound and slipcased set is estimated to fetch between $20,000 to 25,000.

Maps and Charts of the Western Hemisphere by Joannes Jannson taken from the book America Noviter Delineata, printed in Amsterdam, is expected to sell for $1,500 to $2,000.Maps and Charts of the Western Hemisphere by Joannes Jannson taken from the book America Noviter Delineata, printed in Amsterdam, is expected to sell for $1,500 to $2,000.

Antique Maps and Illustrations
The sale includes a strong group of maps and atlases.  Of local note is lot 907, a 1771 Thomas Jeffery’s map of New England titled “A Map of the Most Inhabited part of New England, containing the Provinces of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire with the Colonies of Conecticut and Rhode Island.” The map is estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000.

Representative of the John James Audubon works is lot 824, “The Wolverine,” Plate XXVI from The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, which has an estimated value of $2,000 to $3,000, and lot 814, “Western Duck,” Plate CCCCXXIX from The Birds of America, which is expected to bring between $2,000 and $3,000.

Rounding out the sale is a group of original art by celebrated illustrator Lynd Ward. An example of this group is lot 501, an original oil on board, depicting the jacket illustration for Esther Hoskins Forbes’ book America’s Paul Revere, published in 1946. The work has an estimated auction value range of $500 to $700.

A rare first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's (1896-1940) Tender is the Night, 1934 may sell for $6,000 to $8,000.A rare first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s (1896-1940) Tender is the Night, 1934 may sell for $6,000 to $8,000.

Previews for the auction will be held by appointment only Nov. 10, 2011 from 12 to 5 p.m., Nov. 11, 2011 from 12 to 5 p.m., Nov. 12, 2011 from 12 to 5 p.m., and Nov. 13, 2011 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Illustrated catalogue #2571B is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 508-970-3240.  It is also available at the gallery for $32.

Prices realized will be available at www.skinnerinc.com during and after the sale. Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, order catalogues, and bid live in real-time through SkinnerLive!

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