A remarkable autograph album, featuring the signatures of several of the US civil war's leading figures, is to be sold for an expected $25,000+ as part of Heritage Auctions' Civil War & Militaria auction on December 8.
The album was compiled by one Charles A Munger. His wife has added a note to the front flyleaf, stating: "My husband, Charles A. Munger had this book made for him and collected most of the Autographs while in the Civil War, after he had been detailed by the War Department, as clerk in the Adjutant General's Office. He enlisted in 117th Regiment N. Y. Volunteers Aug. 8th 1862. At Waterville, N. Y."
The book contains the autograph of President Abraham Lincoln, and has also been signed by soon-to-be-president Andrew Johnson as vice president. The page is believed to have been signed just six weeks prior to the Lincoln assassination, in March 1865.
Also featuring are the signatures of each member of Lincoln's cabinet. Other government signatures include: chief justice of the Supreme Court, Salmon P Chase, and his four associate judges, as well as 48 members of the US Senate and 27 from the US House of Representatives. Two members of the diplomatic corps, French minister Charles F Francois and British ambassador Frederick W A Bruce, have also signed.
Not all of the autographs included are political, with several prominent abolitionists and social reformers also adding their names. The largest part of the collection is made up of the signatures of prominent members of the war department and commanders of the United States army, of which there are a total of 83, including future president Ulysses S Grant, William T Sherman and Ambrose E Burnside.
Perhaps the most important entry is the signature of George Armstrong Custer, which is exceedingly rare in any format and, according to Heritage Auctions, is "the largest, boldest Custer signature we have ever encountered, a "10" by any standard!"
Paul Fraser Collectibles has an impressive array of autographs currently available, including a superb example from George Armstrong Custer.
Also featuring in the sale will be a lock of Abraham Lincoln's hair, which comes directly from the family of a cabinet member.
US civil war memorabilia is a hugely popular area of the collectibles market, and regularly sees strong results. In October, a collection of civil war artefacts belonging to combatant Isaac Plumb sold with a 206.6% increase on estimate.