This 17th annual auction offered a wide range of materials that were grouped into broad subject areas that included, but was not limited to the following categories: slavery and abolition, civil rights, black power, Africa, art, Black Panthers, education, Marcus Garvey, literature and poetry, military, music and more.
Wyatt Houston Day, Swann African Americana specialist, said "Yesterday's sale was the most successful auction of African Americana that Swann has ever had. We are pleased to see so much important historical material acquired by institutions." As I reviewed the results of Sale 2271, I agree with Wyatt and find satisfaction in knowing that this important historical material has been acquired by institutions. In an environment, such as a museum, an archive, an historical and culture center, and the like, there are basic expectations that the materials will be properly cared for, will be available for researchers, and will be accessible to the general public through exhibitions.
The following are a few examples of the lots that were acquired by institutions. In all instances, except lot 294 (Alain Locke), these items were among the top lots that sold.
Lot 296: Dorothy Porter Wesley Papers
Lot 262: Ida B. Wells
Lot 294: Alain Locke on Black Studies
For those of us who are art enthusiasts, it is worth noting that the highest selling lot in Sale 2271, was in the art category. The Slaves, Lot 106, is a rare contemporary copy of an iconic image which is "one of several notable images produced during the period of intense activism to abolish slavery in the West Indies." This painting was in the personal collection of artist Merton Simpson, and was acquired by a collector for $72,000.