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Category Archives: Presidential Collection

RR Autograph Auctions Presidential Collection 32 pieces signed while in office

A terrific collection of beautifully presented signatures representing every president from George Washington through John F. Kennedy, all in the form of documents and letters, with all but W. H. Harrison and Garfield signed as president. Each item is also nicely matted and framed, in various sizes, many with a portrait of the respective president.

The Collection

George Washington

Partly-printed DS, signed as president, “Go: Washington,” one page, 14.75 x 18, March 19, 1793. President Washington appoints Isaac Young Rusland “an Ensign in the Second Sub Legion in the Service of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Washington and countersigned by Secretary of War Henry Knox.” Double cloth matted and framed to an overall size of 29.25 x 25.5. In good to very good condition, with intersecting folds, with a few small separations and areas of paper loss along or near some of the folds, as well as a few other small areas of paper loss, a couple well done repairs to other areas of paper loss, with a couple having restored portions of text (primarily to date), moderate dampstaining to center, light creases and wrinkles, and some portions of the text light, but legible.

John Adams

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 11 x 14, June 5, 1797. A patent issued to “Amos Whittenmore a citizen of the State of Massachusetts, in the United States, hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement in manufacturing cards.” Signed at the conclusion by Adams and countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering as well as Attorney General Charles Lee. Matted and framed to an overall size of 23.5 x 19.5. Intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, scattered light toning and wrinkling, and some scattered ink flecks. The white seal is slightly worn, but intact.

Thomas Jefferson

Partly-printed DS, signed as president “Th: Jefferson” and as Secretary of State “James Madison,” one page, 20.25 x 16.25, June 18, 1807. A four-language ship’s papers issued to Thomas Densmore, “master or commander of the brig called the Venus…lying at present at the port of New York bound for Jamaica and laden with flour—fish—rice—corn—& lumber.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 30.5 x 21.5. Intersecting folds, with a horizontal fold through upper portion of Jefferson’s signature, with a few small repairs along folds and a few other separations, scattered light toning, and some light show-through from docketing on reverse, otherwise fine, clean condition.

James Madison

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 12.25 x 8.25, August 9, 1815. Land grant issued to John Shut for a tract of land under an “act of Congress entitled ‘An Act providing for the sale of the Lands of the United States in the territory north-west of the Ohio and above the mouth of the Kentucky River.’” Signed at the bottom by Madison, and countersigned by Commissioner of the General land Office Josiah Meigs. Matted and framed to an overall size of 23.25 x 13. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, scattered light creasing, toning, and soiling, and a few small spots. The paper seal is worn and intact.

James Monroe

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 15.5 x 10.25, September 13, 1820. Monroe appoints Roswell Conant “a Second Lieutenant in the Regiment of Riflemen in the service of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Monroe and countersigned by Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. Matted and framed to an overall size of 29.5 x 16.25. Intersecting folds and some scattered light toning and soiling, otherwise fine condition. The embossed paper seal is toned, but crisp in intact.

John Quincy Adams

Partly-printed DS, signed as president, “J. Q. Adams,” one page, 14.75 x 9.5, May 25, 1825. Adams grants Edward Perkins 80 acres of land in Illinois. Signed at the bottom by Adams and countersigned by Commissioner of the General Land Office George Graham. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 29.75 x 17. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, scattered creases and wrinkles, and some light toning. The white seal is worn, but intact.

Andrew Jackson

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 17.25 x 12, December 31, 1835. An appointment for Robert J. Hackley to be “Register of the Land office for the District of Lands subject to sale at Tallahassee, Florida.” Signed at the conclusion by Jackson with a bold and impressive 6.5″ signature, and countersigned by Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury. Matted and framed to an overall size of 32.75 x 19.5. In very good to fine condition, with several central vertical creases, a few other scattered creases and wrinkles, and some scattered light toning, heavier at edges from old adhesive remnants.

Martin Van Buren

Partly-printed DS, signed as president, “M. Van Buren,” one page, 10.5 x 14.5, November 6, 1838. A scallop-topped ships pass issued to the “Ship Hanover of Bath, James Drummond master or commander…mounted with no guns navigated with nineteen men, to pass with her Company Passengers Goods and Merchandise without any hindrance, seisure or molestation.” Signed at the conclusion by Van Buren and countersigned by Secretary of State John Forsythe. A clipped address panel to Drummond is affixed to the lower left corner. Matted and framed to an overall size of 24.5 x 22.75. In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, scattered creases and wrinkles, and a bit of light toning and soiling.

William Henry Harrison

ADS, signed “Wm. H. Harrison, aid de camp,” one page, 5.75 x 3.25, August 30, 1795. A request for supplies for two soldiers returned from captivity. In full: “The commissary will issue for two men returned from captivity four pounds of beef & flour & one quart whiskey.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 17.5 x 12.25. Central horizontal and vertical fold, small tear to top edge, scattered light toning and soiling, and light show-through from writing on reverse, otherwise fine condition.

John Tyler

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 14.75 x 13, February 8, 1845. Tyler appoints Oscar F. Bledsoe an “Attorney of the United States in & for the Northern District of Mississippi.” Boldly signed at the conclusion by Tyler and countersigned by Secretary of State John C. Calhoun. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 26.25 x 19.25. Intersecting folds, some scattered light creases and wrinkles, and some handwritten portions of text just a shade light, otherwise fine condition.

James K. Polk

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 13.75 x 17, August 21, 1848. President Polk appoints Levi Woodhouse a “first Lieutenant in the Ninth Regiment of Infantry in the Service of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Polk and countersigned by Secretary of War William L. Marcy. Matted and framed to an overall size of 26 x 22. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, mild wrinkling and rippling, some light foxing to top portion, and a uniform shade of mild toning. The white seal is worn, but intact.

Zachary Taylor

Rare partly-printed partial self-contained DS, signed as president, “Z. Taylor,” one page, 9 x 9.5, June 1, 1850. The English and Dutch panels of a four-language ship’s papers issued to “Frederick H. Winslow master and commander of the ship called Roscius…lying at present in the port of New Bedford bound for Pacific Ocean and laden with [provisions, stores, and unten]sils for a Whaling Voyage.” Boldly signed in the right panel by Taylor and countersigned by Secretary of State John Clayton. Matted and framed to an overall size of 22 x 16.25. In very good to fine condition, with a couple of horizontal folds, diagonal crease above signature, and scattered light toning and soiling. The white seal is crisp and intact.

Millard Fillmore

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 14 x 19, August 26, 1850. Fillmore appoints William R. Jouett a “Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Fillmore and countersigned by Secretary of War Charles Conrad. Matted and framed to an overall size of 28.5 x 26.5. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, uniform toning, diagonal creases to top corners, and handwritten portions of document just a shade light. The white seal is crisp and intact.

Franklin Pierce

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 7.25 x 9.5, June 15, 1853. President Pierce orders the Secretary of State to “affix the Seal of the United States to two Full Powers to Solon Borland, Esq., E.E. & M.P. to Central America.” Signed at the conclusion by Pierce. Matted and framed to an overall size of 23.5 x 17. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, a horizontal fold passing through signature, some scattered creases, and some mild toning and soiling. Borland’s tenure as Minister to Nicaragua did not go smoothly. In May of 1854, he was hit in the face by a bottle after interfering in the arrest of an American citizen in San Juan del Norte. He reported the incident to the United States, who promptly dispatched a gunboat, and demanded an apology. When none was given, the town was bombarded and burned.

James Buchanan

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 13.5 x 12, September 16, 1859. President Buchanan appoints John Smidt “Consul of the Grand Duchy of Baden at Louisville in the State of Kentucky.” Signed at the conclusion by Buchanan and countersigned by Secretary of State Lewis Cass. Cloth matted and framed to an overall size of 27.5 x 18. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, a horizontal fold through signature, uniform toning, a few creases, and a small stain to lower edge. The white paper seal is crisp and intact.

Abraham Lincoln

Partly-printed war-dated DS, as president, one page, 13.5 x 17, May 16, 1863. President Lincoln appoints Louis M. Hamilton a “Second Lieutenant in the Third Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Lincoln and countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 28 x 24.75. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, a uniform shade of toning, a bit of scattered light soiling, and handwritten portions of document fairly light, but still legible. Louis Hamilton served at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, receiving two brevets for “gallant and meritorious conduct.” He was killed in action on November 27, 1868, at the Battle of Washita River, the only casualty of a frontal assault by the 7th Cavalry commanded by General George Custer.

Andrew Johnson

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 15 x 18.5, April 18, 1865. Johnson appoints Charles H. Hood a “Surgeon of Volunteers.” Signed at the bottom by Johnson and countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Matted and framed to an overall size of 28.75 x 25.5. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, some mild wrinkling and toning, and handwritten portions of the document faded and very light, but still partially legible.

U. S. Grant

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 16 x 10.5, December 21, 1869. President Grant appoints Adaline Livingston “Deputy Postmaster at Greenville, in the State of Alabama.” Signed at the bottom by Grant and countersigned by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Cloth matted and framed to an overall size of 33 x 19.25. In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, blocks of mild toning, irregular toning to edges, and a few creases. The white seal is worn and intact.

Rutherford B. Hayes

Partly-printed DS, signed as president, “R. B. Hayes,” one page, 15 x 18, June 12, 1879. President Hayes appoints James B. Hickey a “First Lieutenant in the Eighth Regiment of Cavalry in Service to the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Hayes and countersigned by Secretary of War George McCrary. Matted and framed to an overall size of 28 x 25.5. In very good condition, with intersecting folds and some scattered toning and foxing. The blue seal is intact and slightly worn.

James A. Garfield

ALS, signed “J. A. Garfield,” one lightly-lined page, 7.5 x 9.5, House of Representatives letterhead, December 12, 1879. Letter of thanks to an unidentified gentleman. In full: “I am just in receipt of your ‘Civil Service In Great Britain’ which I will take pleasure in perusing at my earliest possible convenience. If you have thrown the light upon the subject of Civil Service that will result in revealing fully the weaknesses of our own and how to prevail against the abuses to which it is now so liable, you will have done a great service to this country. When I have had the opportunity to examine your book I will be glad to give you a more satisfactory notice of it—this is simply an acknowledgement of its receipt.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 18.25 x 14.75. Intersecting folds and some scattered light soiling, otherwise fine condition.

Chester A. Arthur

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 15 x 19, May 19, 1883. Arthur appoints Edwin L. Reynolds “a Lieutenant in the Navy (Junior Grade).” Signed at the bottom by Arthur and countersigned by Secretary of the Navy William Chandler. Matted and framed to an overall size of 19.5 x 23.5. Intersecting folds, some light creases, and end of Arthur’s signature a shade or two light, otherwise fine condition. The blue seal is creased and worn, but mostly intact.

Grover Cleveland

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 17 x 13, April 19, 1893. Cleveland appoints James C. Perry “a Passed Assistant Surgeon in the Marine Hospital Service of the United States.” Signed by Cleveland and countersigned by Secretary of the Treasury John Carlisle. Matted and framed to an overall size of 28 x 18. In very good condition, with scattered soiling and foxing, some affecting Cleveland’s signature, which is also a shade or two light, but completely legible. Perry was a member of the Public Health Service and served in Panama during the building of the canal.

Benjamin Harrison

Partly-printed DS, signed as president, “Benj. Harrison,” one page, 16.5 x 13.5, April 23, 1890. Harrison appoints Elliott F. Grabill to be Postmaster of Greenville, Michigan. Signed at the conclusion by Harrison and countersigned by Postmaster General John Wanamaker. Matted and framed to an overall size of 29.5 x 21. In very good condition, with central horizontal and vertical fold, small tear to bottom edge, and scattered toning and soiling. The gold foil seal is mostly intact and retains its original blue ribbon. Prior to his public service, Grabill was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant and appointed Adjutant of the 5th US Colored Troops. He became a captain, September 24, 1864, and was brevetted a major when discharged in 1865.

William McKinley

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 15.25 x 20, December 29, 1899. McKinley appoints Albert S. Cummins a “Lieutenant Colonel of the Twenty-seventh regiment of Infantry, United States Volunteers.” Signed at the conclusion by McKinley and countersigned by Secretary of War Elihu Root. Matted and framed to an overall size of 22 x 26.25. In fine condition, with a mild shade of overall toning. The blue seal is worn, but intact.

Theodore Roosevelt

Partly-printed DS, as president, one page, 16.25 x 13.5, February 6, 1904. Roosevelt appoints Walker W. Joynes “a First Lieutenant in the Revenue-Cutter Service of the United States.” Signed at the conclusion by Roosevelt and countersigned by Secretary of the Treasury Leslie Shaw. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 31 x 22. In fine condition, with a central vertical fold, some scattered light toning and soiling, and some mild rippling. Established by then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was made to serve as armed maritime law enforcement service. In 1915 the service merged with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard.

William H. Taft

TLS, as president, signed “Wm. H. Taft,” one page, 6 x 8, White House letterhead, January 30, 1911. Letter to the Nathan Straus Banquet Committee. In part: “I thank you for your kind invitation to attend the dinner to be given to Mr. Nathan Straus…I regret that my official engagements make it impossible for me to be present to testify to my high appreciation of Mr. Straus’s public-spiritedness. His work in improving the condition and allevisiting [sic] the suffering of those less fortunate, should make it a pleasure for all to unite in honoring him with this banquet.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 18 x 13.5. Moderate feathering to signature, resulting in a fuzzy appearance and uniform toning, otherwise very good condition. Straus was a merchant and philanthropist who co-owned two of New York City’s biggest department stores—R.H. Macy & Company and Abraham & Straus.

Woodrow Wilson

TLS, as president, one page, 6.5 x 7.25, White House letterhead, August 8, 1918. Letter to Bernard Baruch, Chairman of the War Industries Board. In full: “This is a mighty fine and trustworthy fellow that writes this letter, and a protest from him makes a great deal of impression on me. Is it inevitable to do what was done with regard to the print paper?” Double matted and framed to an overall size of 17.75 x 13.25. In very good condition, with moderate haloing to signature and a uniform shade of toning to letter.

Warren G. Harding

DS as president, one page, 19 x 15, October 17, 1922. President Harding appoints Warwick Montgomery “to be Notary Public for the District of Columbia.” Signed at the conclusion by Harding and countersigned by Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty. A pristine Department of Justice seal is affixed to the left side. Matted and framed to an overall size of 23.5 x 19.5. Central horizontal and vertical folds, and some mild creasing and soiling, otherwise fine condition.

Calvin Coolidge

DS as president, one page, 17.5 x 15.5, October 23, 1924. President Coolidge appoints Leland B. Morris as “Consul of the United States of America at Cologne, Germany.” Signed at the conclusion by Coolidge and the acting Secretary of State. Embossed presidential seal affixed to the left side is intact with a couple tiny tears. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 30.5 x 22.5. A few scattered creases and some light foxing and soiling, otherwise fine condition. Morris would go on to become the first US Ambassador to Iran.

Herbert Hoover

DS as president, one page, 19 x 15, March 5, 1929. President Hoover appoints George Edward Akerson to the post of “Secretary to the President.” Signed at the conclusion by Hoover and countersigned by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg. Embossed presidential seal affixed to left side is fully intact. Double matted and framed to an overall size of 33 x 22.5. A uniform shade of toning, some light rippling, and a few spots of soiling, otherwise fine condition. Though given a generic title in the document, this is in fact the appointment of the first official White House Press Secretary. With Hoover, Akerson helped permanently establish the procedures of the White House press conference. Akerson served in this capacity until he resigned at the beginning of 1931 to pursue a career as a publicist with Paramount Pictures.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

DS as president, one page, 18 x 15, December 11, 1934. President Roosevelt appoints Lanford Bates of Massachusetts “a Member of the Board of Directors, Federal Prison Industries, Inc.” Signed at the conclusion by Roosevelt and countersigned by Attorney General Homer S. Cummings. Gold Department of Justice seal affixed to the left side is fully intact. Matted and framed to an overall size of 23 x 20.5. In fine condition, with a trivial spot of soiling to the lower left. Federal Prison Industries was created by executive order in December 1934 to use penal labor to produce goods and services which are then sold to Federal government agencies.

Harry S. Truman

DS as president, one page both sides, 8 x 11.5, November 6, 1948. Presidential pardon issued to Samuel Jack Messina, who served his sentence after pleading guilty “to an indictment…charging violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Harrison Narcotic Law, as amended, and Section 2 of the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act…[but] unless pardoned, will be deported, and that deportation would work a grave hardship upon his American-born wife and minor children…therefore, be it known that I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America…do hereby grant unto Samuel Jack Messina a full and unconditional pardon.” Signed at the conclusion by Truman and countersigned by Attorney General Tom C. Clark, who would later serve on the Supreme Court. Red Department of Justice seal affixed to left side is fully intact. Double matted and framed with a glass back for viewing of the reverse to an overall size of 20 x 17.5. Intersecting folds and scattered soiling, otherwise fine condition.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

TLS as president, one page, 6.25 x 8, White House letterhead, February 5, 1960. Letter to Hermann Hagedorn, biographer of Theodore Roosevelt and director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. In part: “Thank you for your recent letter enclosing the final report of the Theodore Roosevelt Centennial Commission. This report is a splendid testimony to the work of the Commission. I believe the commemoration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 100th Anniversary encouraged among our people a new dedication to his noble sense of ‘Responsible Citizenship.’ I note your particular concern for the proposed National Memorial. I agree that it would be eminently desirable to erect a suitable memorial to Theodore Roosevelt here in the Nation’s Capital, and I appreciate the Commission’s hope that the Congress will provide the necessary authorization.” Matted and framed to an overall size of 19.5 x 14.75. In fine condition, with a mild uniform shade of toning and a paperclip impression to the top.

John F. Kennedy

Typed memorandum as president, one page, 6.5 x 8.25, White House letterhead, February 1, 1961. Memo to Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg. In full: “Pursuant to my message to the Congress today, I request that you take all necessary steps with the U.S. Employment Service to improve services for unemployment insurance claimants and other job applicants. This will require expanded counseling and payment services to workers in depressed areas and in rural unemployment. Particular attention should be given to the problems of workers displaced by automation and technological changes in factories and on farms. I would like to have a written report from you on the steps taken in the above regard no later than March 1.” Double matted and framed to an overall size of 19 x 14.5. Numerous tack and staple holes to the upper left and a spot of soiling to the upper right border, otherwise fine condition.

Also included is a display featuring printed examples of the signatures of presidents Washington through Carter, framed to an overall size of 20.5 x 27. Aside from perhaps a complete collection of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, which has become incredibly difficult to assemble, a complete presidential collection represents one of the apexes of autograph collecting, both from a historical and collectable standpoint, with the lucky winner of this collection being able to bypass the time involved in painstakingly assembling a collection of this size piece-by-piece, and instead being rewarded with an instant and thorough collection of almost all of the former Commanders-In-Chief, with opportunity to bring this collection up to date with little problem.

 

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