$40,000 for a sign that showed the way to the fall of Communism

This weekend, a rare treat is available for collectors of autographs and memorabilia with the online sale of an impressive number of pieces from various areas of collecting at Signature Auctions.

Some of the excellent autographs include a letter signed by Tsar Nicholas II. On his imprinted Anichkov Palace letterhead in dark pencil he requests his correspondent to please prepare to come at a particular time and date. It is darkly penned and signed with his initials.

Another, contrasting, Russian dictator is also represented: Joseph Stalin. That piece is an uncommon signed segment of his book, Questions of Leninism. The piece comprises the title page, table of contents, forward page, half-title page and first two pages of a 600-plus-page book with his signature. The pieces are expected to achieve up to $5,000 and $4,000 respectively.

Civil War Militaria collectors will be keen to get their hands on an 1858 New Model .44 Calibre Remington revolver.

It was carried by a private in the Confederate States Army, one William Crowder of Tennessee. His unit served in very visible positions under noted Confederate Corps Commanders Lee, Wheeler and Forrest. The weapon is expected to fetch up to $3,500.

For book collectors, there is even a complete first limited edition set of the Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806, complete with illustrations of American Indians and Western scenery (listed at $4000-8,000).

Confederate Army Remington Revolver
Confederate Army Remington Revolver

However, the top lot is expected to be the white, weathered banner that hung in the entranceway to the Solidarity Headquarters in Gdansk, Poland, 1989. Emblazoned in large red letters with the word "Solidarnosc", it is surrounded by autographs.

The most prominent of these is that of Paul John Paul II, who was credited with triggering the fall of Communism in Poland with his visit to his homeland in 1983.

Solidarity Banner of Poland
Poland's Solidarity Banner

The other autographs include solidarity leader Lech Walesa (Nobel Prize recipient and finally President of Poland 1990-95), Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, George Bush Sr and Margaret Thatcher.

The banner is expected to sell for $20,000-40,000 in the online only auction which closes on Saturday September 4.


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