Monthly Archives: November 2013

Nelson Mandela Signed book Long Walk to Freedom

Signed book: Long Walk to Freedom. Limited first edition of 250 copies (this being No. 240). London: Little, Brown and Company, 1994. Hardcover with slipcase, 6.5 x 9.5, 630 pages. Signed on the colophon in blue ballpoint, “N Mandela.” Autographic condition: very fine. Book condition: F/None. Stunning full green leather binding with gilt title and gilted textblock edges; no discernible flaws. In F green cloth-covered slipcase. By far the most desirable and rarest edition of this title. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 30, 2013 in Nelson Mandela


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Ernest Hemingway Personal Check

Personal check, 6.25 x 2.75, filled out and signed by Hemingway, “Ernest M. Hemingway,” payable to First National Bank of Key West for $200.00, February 3, 1933. Nicely double-matted and framed in weathered wood with two portraits of Hemingway and a biographical plaque to an overall size of 26.25 x 22.25. In very good condition, with a central vertical fold, expected cancellation holes and stamps, with a couple stamps on both sides lightly affecting small portions of signature. Oversized. RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Ernest Hemingway


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Benjamin Franklin Signed Revolutionary War bounty land grant

Partly-printed DS, signed “B. Franklin,” one page, 15 x 11.75, February 15, 1787. A land grant issued “for consideration of services rendered by Jonathan Adams Dragoon in the late army of the United States” a tract of land in Westmoreland County “in the seventh district of donation,” described as running from a maple tree to a white oak to a beech tree and back to the maple, totaling 200 acres. Signed in the left border by Franklin as president of the Supreme Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, scattered moderate toning and soiling, expected wrinkling, and a few small pin-size holes, otherwise very good condition. The eight-point star seal is worn and creased, with two missing points, and one other missing point tip.

One of the most strategic and beneficial decisions made by the government during the Revolutionary War was to offer land bounties as a reward for military service, simultaneously encouraging enlistment and paving the way for westward expansion. By populating the frontier with military veterans able to defend against Indian incursions, they enticed new settlers to follow and buy land, helping to reduce Revolutionary War debts. Serving as President of Pennsylvania in 1787, Franklin granted this large plot in Western Pennsylvania to Johnathan Adams, a Dragoon in the army. An important piece of early American history, this rare grant holds a prominent example of the Founding Father’s highly sought-after autograph. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Benjamin Franklin


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Sitting Bull Highly desirable signature

Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man (circa 1831–1890) known for his steadfast opposition to the intrusion of the US government into Sioux lands. Fleeing to Canada following the Battle of Little Big Horn, he later returned to the US and toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Fearing his growing influence, government agents fatally shot him during an arrest attempt at Standing Rock Agency on December 15, 1890. Extremely rare ink signature, “Sitting Bull,” on an off-white 3.25 x 2 card. In very good condition, with some mild rippling, scattered light soiling, and light staining from adhesive residue on the reverse. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Sarah Edwards Walling, the daughter of the man who obtained the signature for her. Letter reads, in full, “Previous to or about 1890 a party of Indian Chiefs, Sitting Bull, Grey Eagle, Spotted Tail, Rain in the Face, and Crazy Horse with their interpreters went to Washington to see the Great Father, President Benjamin Harrison to right some wrongs in some business matters. During their stay in New York the Government boarded them at the 5th Avenue Hotel. There were a few Squaws in the party. All were on exhibition at the Eden Musee on 23rd St. N.Y. My father Capt Mills Edwards, mother and I went to see them. Sitting Bull was sitting at a table writing his autograph selling them at $2.00 each. My father bought this one, which I saw him write. I remember it perfectly.” A second letter also attests to the authenticity of the signature, “The above signature is an original actually made by the great Sioux medicine man himself in the presence of the undersigned who was at the time a young and interested child.” Also accompanied by a glossy 8 x 10 photo suitable for framing.

After surrendering himself and his followers to US authorities in 1881, Sitting Bull was placed on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in what is now southern North Dakota, under the supervision of Indian Agent James McLaughlin. Cashing in on Americans’ fascination with ‘the Indian who killed Custer,’ as he was initially billed, McLaughlin set up the Sitting Bull Combination, which included the chief, seven other Indians, and two interpreters; the show opened in New York City at the Eden Musee to a crowd of thousands. Misled greatly by McLaughlin—who claimed that the proceeds from the show would go towards building schools on the reservation, and that the group would be meeting with the president to discuss important matters in developing peace between the tribes and settlers—the spectacle essentially just put the group on display as oddities, garnering great interest initially but fading quickly, causing the show to close just one month later. Six years later, McLaughlin would give the order to arrest Sitting Bull, sparking the bloody shootout that left the chief and several others dead. Though some of the details of the exhibit have been misremembered by the young recipient of this signature, the letter of provenance pinpoints a well-known event at the start of Sitting Bull’s touring career, dating this incredibly scarce signature to the year prior to his start with Buffalo Bill’s celebrated Wild West show. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Sitting Bull


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David Crockett Rare ink signature

Rare ink signature, “Free, D. Crockett,” on an off-white 3 x 1.25 slip clipped from a free frank. Attractively double-suede-matted and framed with images of Crockett and the Alamo, and a biographical plaque, to an overall size of 19.5 x 18. In fine condition, with an area of soiling to the upper right and an ink notation “(M. C. of Tennessee)” to the lower edge. Crockett would have had franking privileges while serving in Congress, dating this signature to one of his two terms as a Tennessee representative, which lasted from 1827–31 and 1833–35. An extremely desirable signature and must-have for any serious collection of Americana. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in David Crockett


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Beatles Signed 1963 Beatles fan club card

Fantastic original vintage 1963 Beatles fan club card, 5.5 x 4.25, featuring the famous Dezo Hoffmann ‘seated collarless’ portrait of the band, signed and inscribed in blue ballpoint, “To Alison, love from the Beatles, Paul McCartney,” “John Lennon,” “George Harrison,” and “Ringo Starr.” In fine condition, with a light bend to lower right corner and some scattered light foxing. Accompanied by certificates of authenticity from Tracks and Beatles expert Perry Cox, and two letters from noted Beatles expert Frank Caiazzo, one being a letter of authenticity, dating the signatures from late 1963/early 1964, and the other appraising the photo. A particularly rare and highly sought after image, as most of these were signed by secretaries and sent out in the mail. Pre-certified Roger Epperson/REAL and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Beatles


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Ronald Reagan Signed Rare official Rawlings American League baseball

Rare official Rawlings American League baseball signed in black ink on a side panel, “Ronald Reagan.” An exceptionally bright, clean baseball in fine condition. Coming directly from noted collector Randy Kaplan, this baseball has enjoyed its place among his incredibly popular collection for two decades, having been obtained in July of 1993 directly outside of Reagan’s Avenue of the Stars office in Los Angeles. All received either in person or by high-ranking government officials—friends of Kaplan, a government affairs specialist—the impressive collection has been on display at both the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids and the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, and has been featured in Autograph Collector Magazine, Newsday, The Pen & Quill, and on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning. An outstanding piece from a truly remarkable collection. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Ronald Reagan


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Wilbur Wright Amazing Typed Signed Manuscript

An amazing typed manuscript of an essay entitled “What Clement Ader Did,” which was published in the May 1912 edition of The Aero Club of America Bulletin, 10 pages, 8.5 x 11, signed on the last page in black ink, “Wilbur Wright,” with a couple of additional ink notations in the hand of his brother Orville Wright.

The essay begins: “Clement Ader was a French electrical engineer, who during the last quarter of the nineteenth century devoted a great deal of study and money to the problem of human flight…Having exhausted his own resources, he succeeded in enlisting the aid of the French Government and proceeded to the construction of a large machine, having a steam motor of 40 horse power. This apparatus was tried under conditions of great secrecy in October 1897 at the military field at Satory, near Paris…but the results were so unsatisfactory that the French Government, which had spent more than one hundred thousand dollars on the project, refused to advance further funds.” After the last line, Orville has added “and Ader abandoned the attempt to solve the problem.” 

The essay continues: “After the possibility of human flight had been demonstrated by the Wright Brothers, claims began to be made that the Ader machine before being wrecked, had flown nearly one thousand feet in 1897. After a time a systematic attempt was begun to establish by constant repetition a legend which might eventually displace the truth. But the friends of M. Santos Dumont, who claimed the honor of being the first man to fly within the borders of France, became aroused and a heated controversy arose. At length M. Archdeacon succeeded in obtaining permission of the French Ministry of War to publish the official report of the Commission which supervised the trials of the Ader machine in 1897. The report conclusively shows that the Ader machine never left the ground.” The following six pages of the essay show the results of the report. 

The last two pages contain Wilbur’s summation and conclusion, and read, in part: “It will be seen that the report shows that the Ader machine never left the ground. It started with the wind on its back and rolled along the ground at a speed not greater than twelve or fourteen miles an hour. The wind on its back and the pull of the screws tend to force the upper part of the apparatus forward, while the friction of the wheels on the ground retarded the machine below…A puff of wind rolled the machine over and smashed it to pieces. The official report accords exactly with the statement made to us in 1906 by a member of the French Commission, which came to America to negotiate with us in that year. He said the machine never flew at all…He also remarked that if the machine had really flown, the Commission would not be in America negotiating with us. The failure of the Ader machine was the real cause of the failure of this negotiation with us, because the French Officials at home could not believe that we had succeeded, where Ader with the assistance of the French Government had failed, and they feared being laughed at if they closed a contract with us…The Wright Brothers had heard of Ader only as a man, who was rumored to have attempted to solve the problem of human flight…and had met with disastrous failure…Consequently his work contributed nothing to the final success.” The essay also contains pencil notations and line by an unidentified editor from the Aero Club of America Bulletin.

In very good condition, with two horizontal mailing folds, aforementioned notations, staple holes to upper left corners, and scattered soiling. Accompanied by an original May 1912 edition of The Aero Club of America Bulletin.

Published mere weeks before Wilbur’s death from typhoid fever, this essay is one of the final pieces he wrote. At the peak of the excitement over the first public heavier-than-air flight, Frenchman Clement Ader announced that he had flown his machine, Avion III, over 300 feet in October of 1897. Despite the fact that the French Ministry had cut funding for his project immediately after this supposedly successful flight, and despite the fact that the only surviving witness recalled that the wheels had lifted and almost immediately crashed, several historians of aviation began to credit him with the flight. Written with decisive clarity, the Wright brothers address their competitor’s tale with precision and finality, debunking his claim and denying any contribution his failed attempts made to their own work. One of only seven articles published by Wilbur Wright before his untimely death—and one of only two such that is in private hands—this outstanding essay gives voice to the leading pioneer of aviation, passionately defending his crowning achievement. RR Auction COA.


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Apollo 11 ‘Type 3’ insurance cover with a cachet Signed

Apollo 11 ‘Type 3’ insurance cover with a cachet of the mission insignia, bearing a July 16, 1969, Kennedy Space Center cancellation, signed in blue felt tip by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. In very fine condition. Accompanied by a printed informational sheet stating the cover comes from the Michael Collins Family collection. The ‘Type 3’ cover rates as the least commonly found of the three Apollo 11 insurance covers. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Apollo 11


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Deke Slayton Omega Speedmaster flight Qualified by NASA

Deke Slayton’s personally-owned Omega Speedmaster Professional wristwatch. Black-faced, stainless steel chronograph, manual wind wristwatch with a Plexiglass crystal, solid case back, anti-vibration and anti-magnetic dust cover, black tachymeter bezel and sub-dials, without date or day complications, powered by a caliber 861-based movement. Engraved on the case back is, “Flight Qualified by NASA For All Manned Space Missions / The First Watch Worn on the Moon.” There appears to be tritium powered phosphorescent lumen on the hands and index markers of the watch. A two-tone stainless steel replacement wrist band is mounted on the watch. Prior to the auction sale by the Slayton Family, this watch was professionally cleaned and put into fully functioning order. While Deke Slayton’s flown Omega watch is presently recorded as being in the Smithsonian collection, this watch was found among his effects after his passing in 1993. In fine condition. Provenance: The Donald K. Slayton Collection; Goldberg, 2012. RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Deke Slayton


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