Tag Archives: Amherst
Original albumen photograph of the execution of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, 8.75 x 6.25, by Alexander Gardner, taken in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 1865. The albumen print on paper shows the scaffold and the dangling, hooded bodies of Mary Surratt (who kept a boardinghouse where the conspirators met), George Atzerodt (charged with the attempted assassination of Vice President Johnson), David Herold (who assisted Booth on his flight from Washington) and Lewis Payne (who attempted to assassinate Secretary of War Stanton). The photo’s deckled edges are preserved at top of sheet and is cloth matted and framed to an overall size of 17.75 x 16.
Scattered creases and wrinkles, a couple small tears to bottom edge, and some light silvering and curling to vertical edges, otherwise very good condition. Provenance: William E. Simon Collection of Historical Documents, Christie’s, New York, June 14, 2005.
Entitled ‘After the Drop: The Execution of the Lincoln Assassination,’ this famous photograph is one of a series of ten images, “Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators,” captured by Alexander Gardner (assisted by Timothy O’Sullivan) on July 7, 1865, representing the official record of the execution at the Washington Penitentiary. The Scottish-born photographer was the sole photographer permitted to document the execution, but the photographs were considered too graphic for public consumption and were recreated as illustrations for Harper’s Weekly.
Gardner’s biographer, Mark Katz wrote that these scenes “remain the most vivid images from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It was the longest picture-story recording of an event to date, capturing a complex, significant series of events. Gardner and O’Sullivan’s execution series was a 19th-century precursor of the kind of photo-journalism that subsequently became so important” (Witness to an Era, p. 192). RRAuction COA.
RR Auction is proud to announce their first Civil War themed auction in March. This compelling array of more than 470 items— that offer an intensely comprehensive look into some of the key figures in our country’s most bloody conflict; letters, photos, and exemplary artifacts meld together to tell the harrowing story of our nation’s most defining war. Esteemed notables such as Abraham Lincoln, U. S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Mary Todd Lincoln, and the assassin who sealed the crushing, woeful fate of one of America’s most beloved presidents, John Wilkes Booth, have all been drawn together, once again, to tell their story.
This exceptional arrangement of Confederate and Union memorabilia, including pieces from George Custer, J. E. B. Stuart, William T. Sherman, and George B. McClellan, plus an array of uncommon Civil War-era weapons and other artifacts will be available for bidding March 15 – March 22. For additional details,
Ink signature, “U. S. Grant,” on an off-white 3 x 1 card. Matted and framed, with two portraits of Grant in uniform, to an overall size of 17 x 13. In fine condition. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
This .44 caliber double trigger Tranter pattern revolver is engraved on the topstrap by the maker “B. COGSWELL 224 STRAND LONDON” and on the barrel in very tiny letters is the stamp of the retailer “GRISWOLD & CO. N.O.” The trigger is marked “TRANTER” and the right side of the frame is engraved “No. 12445T.” The revolver is engraved with tight British scrollwork and has full gold plating with blued screwheads. The one-piece walnut grip has very fine checkering. This revolver has seen very little use. The 5 15/16” octagonal barrel has a very good bore and its chambers in the cylinder still retains some original gold plating. The mechanism works well although a small easily replaced spring is missing from the upper trigger. About 85% of its gold plating remains on this very attractive revolver. The original wood case is lined in green baize and has an original large trade label inside the lid with “B. COGSWELL / Gun, Rifle & Pistol Manufacturer, / 224 Strand near Temble Bar, London…” The case contains all of its original accessories, including a bag shaped James Dixon and Sons powder flask, a two-cavity mold for Tranter pattern bullets, a Brittania metal oil bottle, a tin for “Tranter’s Patent Bullets”, a tin for “JOYCE” percussion caps, an ebony and brass cleaning rod, an ebony handled turn screw and nipple wrench. Five spare nipples and an original key are also included. The case shows normal wear with a couple of grain cracks in the lid, overall in very good condition with the accessories rating fine or better condition. At the outbreak of the war, Tranter had a contract with the importing firm Hyde & Goodrich in New Orleans to import and distribute his revolvers commercially. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Hyde and Goodrich dissolved their partnership, and its successors, Thomas, Griswold & Company, and A. B. Griswold & Company, continued to distribute Tranter’s guns. Among notable Tranter users were Allen Pinkerton, Richard Gatling, and J.E.B. Stuart. This was a showpiece when new and would still be the prime attraction in most gun collections. RRAuction COA.
Adams gives up the law for a diplomatic career as minister of the Netherlands
Handwritten endorsement, signed “John Q. Adams,” on the reverse of a legal writ, written in Adams’s hand, concerning the estate chattels of William Ash of Boston, one page, 8 x 7, dated November 21, 1793. Writ concerns a debt against the estate of William Ash, Herman Brimmer, and John Homans. On the reverse, Adams writes, “Brimmer et al Exors, vs. Ash, January 1794, John Q. Adams, 23 Nov.” Matted with a photocopy of the front of the document and an engraved portrait, to an overall size of 32.5 x 16. In very good condition, with toning and partial separation along both vertical folds (old tape repair to one fold), paper loss to top edge, scattered toning, and show-through from printing on reverse.
After Adams graduated from Harvard, he passed the Boston bar exam and opened a law office for a brief time, handling the affairs of a few local merchants such as William Ash, bookseller Herman Brimmer, and physician John Homans. However, he had little enthusiasm for the law and preferred to write essays defending the neutrality policy established by Washington’s administration. In 1793, his “Marcellus” and “Columbus” essays were published in the Columbian Centinel and won him national recognition as George Washington tried to keep America out of the growing hostilities between Britain and France that arose during the French Revolution. On May 30, 1794, Washington appointed Adams minister to the Netherlands (at the age of 26)—a position he did not want but was persuaded to accept by his father—and so ended young Adams’ law career. Oversized. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album signed on the front cover in blue ballpoint, “I Dig It Too, Jimi Hendrix,” and signed on the back cover in blue ballpoint by Experience member, “Mitch” [Mitchell]. Moderate skipping to signature and sentiment resulting in just the impressions of some of the letters and a fairly light but still mostly legible appearance, light contrast to end of last name of signature, scattered noticeable creases, soiling, and toning to covers, and owner’s notation on back cover, otherwise very good condition. The record is included, with the inside sleeve bearing several sketches and doodles in an unknown hand.
Accompanied by a 2011 letter of provenance from the original recipient, CP Lee, which reads, in part: “On the Tuesday 4 April 1967 Jimi Hendrix appeared on the BBC’s Dee Time TV Show…together with a friend…I went to the Studio at about 11 o’clock in the morning and after several hours of standing in the drizzle the side door opened and Jimi Hendrix and Mitch Mitchell stepped out…Mitchell went off leaving Jimi with us and he spent nearly 15 minutes talking with us…Maybe as a result the lack of an album and also because I was crazy about Bob Dylan, I’d taken along a copy of Dylan’s ‘Bringing It All Back Home.’ Because Dylan had disappeared from view after his motorbike crash I asked Jimi if he knew what had happened to him—’Yeah sure,’ said Jimi, ‘He’s fine, I spoke to him just a few weeks ago.’ I asked him if he’d sign the album and with a laugh he did and he wrote ‘I dig it too.’”…Jimi…then asked if we wanted to go for a drink (to the nearby Welcome Pub)…To my eternal regret, we said, ‘No, we had to go.’” Also accompanied by a copy of Lee’s book, When We Were Thin, which also recounts his meeting with Hendrix.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared on the debut of Dee Time, a youth show hosted by Simon Dee, and the band’s wildness made the launch a success. Hendrix’s singles were already Top 10 hits in the UK and the Jimi Hendrix Experience would soon release its first album, Are You Experienced, in May of 1967. Mitchell was the drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience, which he joined in 1966. He would become Hendrix’s most valuable partner. The pair would frequently record together and as a result, were especially in sync during live sets.
That Hendrix signed a Bob Dylan album is fitting, as Dylan was one of his musical idols. “When I first heard him I thought, ‘You must admire the guy for having that much nerve to sing so out of key,’” said Hendrix. “But then I started listening to the words. He is giving me inspiration.” Dylan gave Hendrix confidence in his own voice as well. Hendrix would go on to cover Dylan songs such as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “All Along the Watchtower.” Dylan would later say to Hendrix, “I don’t know if anyone has done my songs better.” A remarkably symbolic signature tying together two of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century. Pre-certified Roger Epperson/REAL and RR Auction COA.
Incredible and historically significant ALS signed “Your affectionate husband, Alec,” four pages on two adjoining lightly-lined sheets, 4.75 x 8, July 2, 1880. An outstanding letter to his wife, in full: “My darling, I am sorry to pain you-but I am thoroughly aroused as to the necessity of instant action on my part if I wish to avoid being deprived of whatever rights I may possess in the countries yet remaining to me. The action of the International Company is simply in-explicable and your father’s letter to Mr. Converse is so astounding (when we consider that he knows how dis-satisfied I have been) that I have determined that the International Company shall not be blindfolded regarding my feelings any more.
I am sorry that the letter was sent to the wrong Mr. Converse-but it cannot be helped now. I enclose a copy of my letter to the directors of the International Bell Telephone Co.-and a copy of the whole correspondence with Converse, Forbes, and the Intern. Co. will be sent to Mr. Hubbard. I think that I have contributed sufficiently to the pecuniary interest of the Hubbard family, and think it is now my duty to look after the Bells. I propose organizing a company myself for their benefit, and forego my Laboratory Yacht. I shall convert if necessary all my Continental stock into cash & invest it in the new company. Charlie will be here tonight to help me settle the preliminaries.
We can send Willie Ker to Europe and give employment to Charlie himself if he so desires. We will go to Europe on the top of the Photophone and Volta Prize-and I will make personal application for concessions &c. in the countries yet open to me and in this way try to place the members of the Bell family in as comfortable pecuniary circumstances as those of the Hubbard family.
‘The gods help those who help themselves’—and I intend to manage telephonic matters in future alone. I am worked up-tired-headaching-and all my nerves are trembling with excitement, so if there is anything in this letter extravagant, please excuse it. I will be with you Sunday morning. Don’t ask me to recall any letters. I believe I have only done what a MAN should do, and if the International & your father will not recognize me, I see no reason why I should continue to recognize them.”
In fine condition, with some scattered light toning, with one strip next to signature and passing through closing, light show-through from writing on opposing sides, and two horizontal mailing folds.
Bell married Mabel Hubbard in 1877 and gave her nearly all of his stock in the company as a wedding present, ensuring the “pecuniary interest of the Hubbard family.” She was the daughter of the Boston lawyer and later founder and first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who partnered with Bell and became the trustee and de facto president of the Bell Telephone Company. In 1879, Hubbard founded the International Bell Telephone Company to promote sales abroad. As the company sought to file patents and begin operations in Europe and around the world, Bell grew suspicious of its increasingly convoluted business transactions. At the same time, he was gifting the foreign rights to his invention to family members, occasionally coming into conflict with Hubbard’s actions as company president. During the summer of 1880, Bell’s resentment boiled over, and he charged Hubbard with mishandling a trust held for Hubbard’s own daughter and children. Bell’s letter refers to William Hathaway Forbes, an investor and later president of National Bell Telephone Company, as well as Elisha Converse, the rubber-soled shoe magnate and one of Bell’s first investors.
In his letter, Bell mentions the Photophone, a device he invented in 1880 allowing for the transmission of both articulated sounds and normal human conversations on a beam of light. Bell believed it to be his most important invention, but it took many decades for the principles of the device to be applied to practical applications. He also refers to the Grand Volta Prize, a French award established by Napoleon with a $10,000 cash prize that he won in 1880 for the invention of the telephone. An exceptional letter capturing the familial tensions surrounding Bell’s invention, with direct references to the invention that would change the world. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
RR Auctions news is distributed to hundreds of television stations across North America. Stations that picked up the story included: KABC-TV, WHDH-TV, WLVI-TV, KOMO-TV, KDNL-TV, + more.