American history and beyond - the Eric C Caren collection brings $655,400
The sale featured everything from battles over New York to an archive of collector Thomas Edison
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 19 September 2011
Swann kicked off its autumn season in grand style with the first instalment of The Eric Caren's photograph and manscript collection: How History Unfolds on Paper.
This sale, just a portion of Caren's vast and ever-growing collection, featured printed, manuscript and photographic documentation of great events from American history and beyond, including posters, pamphlets, books, maps, newspapers, and broadsides from the 16th through 20th centuries.
The auction grossed $655,416 with many bidders commenting on the unusual breadth of the lots. During the preview, one collector was spotted viewing both a 1546 eulogy of Martin Luther and a packet of 1940s press photos of the Collyer brothers, the famed Manhattan hoarders.
As we've reported, the top lot was King Charles II's 1674 authorization for Edmund Andros to take possession of New York from the Dutch, sometimes called "The Birth Certificate of New York."
It sold to Seth Kaller, Inc. of White Plains, NY, a leading Americana dealer, for $120,000. He also won several other important lots, including a Thomas Edison archive ($14,400) and a rare official printing of James Madison's Virginia Resolution ($11,400).
Prolific inventor Thomas Edison's collectibles are always coveted. Collectors disappointed to lose out on the chance of the archive will be pleased to know that we have an exciting example available: a financial document signed three times by the inventor.
The first printed baseball scorecard, from a game played in Philadelphia in 1866, sold to a collector for $36,000, against an estimate of $5,000-7,500. It was helped by an article in the sports section of the Philadelphia Inquirer which ran the day before the auction.
Among the books in the auction, a 1677 Boston first edition of Hubbard's Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians brought $24,000, and a first English edition of Exquemelin's Bucaniers of America brought $11,400--both going to collectors.
Newspapers were another strength of the sale, which will not be a surprise to anyone who has followed Eric Caren's career.
Nine single issues of newspapers brought at least $3,000 each, led by a 1765 issue of the Boston Post-Boy regarding protests against the Stamp Act, which sold to a dealer for $19,200.
Among the many photographs in the sale, the top lot was a group of 5 cabinet card photographs of the Dalton Gang (four of them in their coffins), which sold to a dealer for $8,400.
A collector took the top poster in the sale, an early Buffalo Bill piece that brought $6,720. Of our 20 top lots, 12 were bought by dealers, seven were bought by collectors, and one was bought by an institution (an 1854 runaway slave poster).
At least two significant auction records were set. Lot 1, an illustrated Philadelphia broadside titled "Remarks on the Slave Trade," brought $14,400 - a record for any of the many engravings of the famous slave ship Brooks, passing a London printing which sold at Swann in 2005 for $9,600.
Lot 242, a well-preserved copy of The Arraignment, Tryal, and Condemnation of Captain William Kidd, for Murther and Piracy, 1701, brought a record $7,200 having previously been sold at Christie's in 2006 for $4,200.
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Images: Swann Galleries