Siamese twins, an astronaut and a Hitler 'mockery' sell in Connecticut

The auctioneers Daniel F Kelleher are primarily a stamp auction house, but more than most stamp auctioneers they branch out into memorabilia, autographs and related collectibles.

Their latest auction, held in conjunction with ARIPEX in Tucson, Arizona, features over 2400 lots. Day one begins with nearly 200 lots of Americana, including some spectacular Presidential Free Franks, US Civil War memorabilia, Financiers, Industrialists and Business tycoons, plus entertainers, sports figures, scientists, political & military personalities.

Much of the remaining sections of this United States only sale are dedicated to the second portion of Beane Family Collection of stamps & postal history.

Later the sale includes spectacular offerings of fancy cancels, featured in over 600 lots, extraordinary Massachusetts postal history, plus many collection lots. Postage stamps offer outstanding sections of classics through possessions.

For the time being, we'll focus on the earlier, non-philatelic lots, and there are a variety of interesting autographs, Americana and even art on offer.

One somewhat philatelic lot, but one which will be of more interest to space collectors is a First Day Cover signed by astronaut Alan Shepard. Shepard is of course a legendary astronaut, having been the first American in space, then later one of the 12 moonwalkers.

The cover is also signed by other illuminaries: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Jonas Salk, Chuck Yeager, Byron White & Mohammad Ali. It is fresh & attractive, and expected to bring up to $1,000.

Two classic circus autographs are on offer:  Firstly an autographed letter signed by P T Barnum himself to James Bailey, with whose circus he merged his. It is accompanied by an original double sided yellow streamer and is listed at $4,000-6,000.

Signed photograph of Siamese twins Chang and Eng
Signed photograph of Siamese twins Chang and Eng

There is also a signed photo of Barnum's most celebrated 'show': the Siamese twins, Chang and Eng. Actually Chinese (Barnum thought that Siamese sounded more exotic), the twins, who were joined at the chest and shared circulation, became very famous and rich.

Although collectibles relating to them would have been available at the time, their signatures were very rarely given, and the listing of $3,000-4,000 for the lot seems conservative.

Finally there is a caricature painting of Adolf Hitler by Arthur Szyk, the celebrated Polish illustrator. The Fuhrer wears a fur-trimmed overcoat, scarf, Nazi armband, parade sword tall boots and packs a leather holstered pistol as he sinks knee deep in a snowbank.

Szyk painting of Hitler
Szyk painting of Hitler

The title: "RATHER CHILLY ISN'T IT, ADOLPH!? AND HOT TOO …" refers to Hitler's repeat of Napoleon's mistake in underestimating the harshness of a Russian winter one his troops. The painting is in excellent condition and estimated at $20,000-30,000.

We saw the potential investment power of Szyk's work as a collectible in his more highbrow work illustrating The Haggadah and Statutes of Kalisz, examples of which sold earlier this year. Daniel F Kelleher's sale takes place on January 14-16 in Connecticut, USA, and online.


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