Monday, March 25, 2013

Results of Swann's Printed and Manuscript African Americana Sale 2308

Swann Auction Galleries' Printed and Manuscript African Americana Sale 2308 was held on March 21, 2013 in which 72% of the 561 lots were sold. This was the 18th annual Printed and Manuscript African Americana Sale, and it included the largest number of lots over the past decade which is an encouraging sign that the market for African Americana items are still on the rise.

Seven lots in Sale 2308 were sold above $20,000 and of that number, four of the lots fell in the "Slavery and Abolition" category. 

Lot 44 (Slavery and Abolition)
This lot, which had a high estimate of $40,000, was the highest selling lot and sold for $66,000 with buyer's premium. It was a collection of ninety-one letters from the daughter of Horace Cowles, a noted Farmington Connecticut Underground Railroad conductor, discussing her family's dealings with the famed Amistad captives. The bulk of the letters were written by Charlotte Cowles to her brother Samuel, with three letters from Samuel to Charlotte.

Lot 194 (Black Panthers) 
This second highest selling lot consisted of an original Black Panther cloth banner from Lowndes County, Alabama along with a group of of three contemporary periodicals and a pamphlet dealing with the nascent Black Panther movement in Alabama. Its high estimate was $3,500; however, it far surpassed that estimate and sold for $43,200 with buyer's premium.

Lot 407 (Military-Civil War)
This lot was a letter from Morgan W. Carter, 28th U.S.C.T. Black soldier to a friend, consisting of four pages, written on three sides, with the original envelop. It exceeded its $8,000 high estimate and sold for $38,400 with buyer's premium. 

Lot 81 (Slavery and Abolition)
This book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, is of greatest rarity as it is one of only five known copies. Published at the North Star Office, 1848, and lacks the "frontispiece portrait of Douglass, as do all other copies examined." It had a high estimate of $22,000 and sold for $31,200 with buyer's premium. This was the fourth highest selling lot.

Lot 57 (Slavery and Abolition)
This lot, Provisional Constitution and Ordinances for People of the United States, has been classified as "of the utmost rarity". As described in the auction catalogue, "16 pages, self-wrappers, sewn; a fine, wide, untrimmed copy. [St Catherine, Ontario, 1858]" It had a high estimate of $15,000 and sold for $22,800 with buyer's premium.

Lot 352 (Labor Unions)
This magnificent collection of material relative to the Pullman Car Porter and his work included: "a white dining car jacket and matching towel, a heavy metal tray with four stainless steel Thermos bottles for hot and cold water, a Porter's summer cap with the original brass Pullman badge; a Pullman whiskey glass, deck of cards, ashtray, brush, two pencils, a "swizzle" stick, and a box of wooden matches... [and more]". Its high estimate was $15,000 and it sold for $22,800 with buyer's premium.

Lot 110 (Slavery and Abolition)
Rounding out the top seven lots that sold above $20,000 is a "true copy" of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution as ratified by the state of Rhode Island. It is marked "a true copy," and signed by the Secretary of State, John R. Bartlett. Its description is as follows: "Single 4to leaf 10 x 7-3/4 inches, removed from a scrapbook, edges trimmed (?), some traces of paper backing; blind-stamp state seal...." Lot 110 surpassed its high estimate of $2,500 and sold for $21,600 with buyer's premium. 

NOTE: All images: Swann Auction Galleries

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