Benjamin Banneker's 1793 'almanack' achieves 250% increase

A rare copy of Benjamin Banneker's Almanack and Ephemeris for the Year of our Lord, 1793 has sold for $52,500 at Swann Auction Galleries.

The lot provided the highlight of the African Americana auction in New York, exceeding an estimate of $10,000-15,000 by 250%.

Benjamin Banneker Almanac
Astronomer Benjamin Banneker produced the almanac in 1793

Banneker (1731-1806) was born to freed slaves on a farm in Maryland, a particularly progressive region of the US with a high Quaker population - many of whom held strong abolitionist views.

The astronomer produced a series of almanacs that collated information on tides, eclipses and other phenomena. The publications also included a wealth of early material pertaining to the anti-slavery movement ranging from poetry to essays.

He famously wrote to Thomas Jefferson, chastising him for using slaves on his plantation.

An archive of material pertaining to the Bourne family made $37,500.

The lot included speeches and correspondence from George Bourne (1780-1845), a Presbyterian minister who was among the most vehement opponents of slavery.

It also includes a range of documents relating to Theodore Bourne (1822-1886), co-founder of the African Civilization Society which was formed to help educated black Americans return to Africa and develop the continent.

The plan was mooted in response to the underwhelming restoration period, which saw African Americans freed but still subjected to institutional racism.

We have this autographed pamphlet from Mark Twain, who became a passionate abolitionist during his later years.  

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