Sale Date: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 11:00 AM PST
Profiles in History has been selected over all other auction houses to sell the extraordinary collection of over 3000 manuscripts which can only be compared to the collections of Philip D. Sang and Malcolm Forbes. The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector will be sold in a series of sales beginning on 18 December 2012. The depth and breadth of the collection is staggering. American history and literature, English history and literature, European history and literature, science and medicine, art and architecture, music, entertainment and sports are fully represented. Part I of The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector will include over 300 of the most important manuscripts of the collection with estimates of $5,000,000 to $8,000,000. The content and rarity of each and every lot cannot be denied. No less than ten George Washington letters will be offered in this first sale including his monumental letter to Reverend Boucher of 15 August 1798, proclaimed by Charles Hamilton to be the most important Washington letter in private hands. In this letter, Washington poignantly shares a sentiment that transcends the ages: “Peace with all the world is my sincere wish.” Seven Thomas Jefferson letters will be offered including his all-important letter of 10 January 1801, as President, to “My Friends & Children Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation” in which he makes a heartfelt plea for peace in his inimitable eloquence. Also included will be manuscripts by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, James Madison, James Monroe, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, Douglas MacArthur and Ronald Reagan. Virtually every pivotal corner of American history will be touched upon in this first sale.
American, English and European literature will be well represented with manuscripts by Samuel Clemens, Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, T.E. Lawrence, Hans Christian Andersen, Gustave Flaubert and Karl Marx. Highlights in English and European history include manuscripts by kings and queens spanning the centuries in addition to towering historical figures such as David Hume, Horatio Nelson and Adam Smith.
Leo Szilard’s stunning letter to Lewis Strauss of 25 January 1939 regarding “ a very sensational new development in nuclear physics” is perhaps one of the most significant letters in scientific history relating to the Atomic Bomb. This cornerstone of the science and medicine portion of the sale is made even stronger with some of the most important manuscripts of Charles Darwin relating to his most important published works. In addition, manuscripts by Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison find pride of place in this section of the sale.
A highlight of the music section of the first sale is a rare two-page manuscript Ludwig von Beethoven on the subject of his Ninth Symphony. Manuscripts by Johannes Brahms, Anton Dvorak, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, John Lennon, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn, Giacomo Puccini, Robert Schumann, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Richard Wagner add strength and depth to this segment of the sale.
The art and architecture section of The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector contains arguably the finest Vincent van Gogh letter in private hands. The great post-Impressionist painter writes to his dear friends, Monsieur and Ginoux, of his failing mental and physical health with remarkable clarity and self-awareness. Less than seven months before his tragic death, van Gogh writes with great introspection: “Disease exists to remind us we are not made of wood . . .” This letter is exquisitely enveloped by manuscripts by Alexander Calder, Jacques Louis David, Paul Gauguin, Maxfield Parish and Frank Lloyd Wright. Two letters of great historical importance by Claude Monet provide valuable insights on his stunning Rouen Cathedral paintings giving gravitas to this portion of the sale.
The worlds of sports and entertainment are covered in quality and content with manuscripts of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, Walt Disney, Errol Flynn and Rudolph Valentino. Lou Gehrig’s letter of 13 September 1939 to his doctor at the Mayo Clinic provides excruciating details of the effects of a series of injections for his disease. Marilyn Monroe’s letter to Lee Strassberg pulls at one’s heart strings as she articulates her despair by writing: “I am still lost.”