AE Monthly

Articles - March - 2007 Issue

Swann: A Challenging Sale on March 22nd.

King

Lot 317: a hundred cigar box labels.


Advocates of the romantic view of the American west have a rare opportunity to acquire an extensive collection of Pony Express material [lots 239-247]. This is the well remembered but short-lived delivery system that demonstrated the benefits of moving messages and information across the west. In its brief career, forever immortalized in movies, it is a metaphor for western history, achieving an importance in the rear-view mirror of history it did not have in life. Winning these nine lots may take determination. The estimates seem low and interest may be high.

For those with a taste for the American Revolution lots 256 to 287 provide ample opportunities to convert interest into bids. In particular there are two versions of Common Sense, a publication that is anything but common. It was supposedly the most common political publication of its time but all evidence confirms the falseness of such claims. Like the complaints the FCC said it received about Janice Jackson's Super Bowl boob display that turned out to be barely a 100 calls, exaggerated claims can be difficult to rebut. Common Sense was never common though it suited pundits to say it was. Buy it if you can. Exaggeration then, as now, misleads the innocent.

For those who revel in ancient magazines Swann has prepared a tender trap. The Pennsylvania Magazine is both a rare and desirable revolutionary war era publication that, in this sale, is seated between many caveats that only the cognoscenti will really understand.

Perhaps the most widely collected area of American history is the Civil War. For these collectors Swanns offers lots 343 to 420, a deep, deep group of Regimental Histories. Condition varies and the material is organized in many cases to appeal more to dealers than collectors. Nevertheless it is a fascinating group of interest to hundreds if not thousands whose passion is the War Between the States.

For the zany who are looking to add to their collection of cigar box labels there is lot 317. Swann offers an even 100 examples in a category that comes up once every twenty years. If you have been waiting now is the time to refinance your house and cash in your life insurance. Your ship is arriving but won't be in port for long.

Finally there are bibliographies. If you really want to have a copy of the Streeter auctions look at lot 310, for a copy of Wagner's Cartography lot 327, for Wheat's Mapping of the Transmississippi West lot 335, for Wynne's Private Libraries of New York lot 338, for an early catalogue of books in the Yale Library lot 341, a copy of H. V. Jones Adventures in Americana [the first 2 vols] lot 151, and for a first edition of the first bibliography of America, White Kennett's Bibliothecae Americanae Primordia, lot 161.

To do well at this sale you'll have to study both condition and auction history. There is plenty of material and many questions to ask. Prepare well and you'll do well, whether or not you win any of the lots.

AE Monthly


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