Auction Block


Attention Presidential Partisans, Party Loyalists and Political Junkies: Preserve your campaign memorabilia. It too could become rare and valuable, someday making your descendants a fortune…


Bonhams Presents a Presidential Treasures Exhibition at the Decatur House
Auction Date: March 25

Bonhams will host their Presidential Treasures exhibition at Decatur House (1610 H St NW) on Friday, March 25th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring highlights from the Caren Archive, including the first appearance of George Washington in print and the first printing of the Emancipation Proclamation. In addition, highlights from the collections of Kennedy administration staff members will be on display, including Mary Gallagher, Sue Vogelsinger, Preston Bruce and others who will be in attendance to share their recollections with guests. In this presidential election year, the exhibition is timed in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the publication of “Profiles in Courage,” John F. Kennedy’s seminal investigation of episodes of political bravery in the senate. Admission is free of charge.


Thomas Jefferson Autographed Letter, Signed to Henry Dearborn
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000
Auction Date: March 18

Henry Dearborn was an American soldier and statesman who served in George Washington’s Continental Army and was present at the British surrender at Yorktown. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson appointed Dearborn his secretary of war (which is how he addresses Dearborn in the letter), a position he held until 1809. During his tenure, Dearborn helped plan the removal of Indians beyond the Mississippi River.

Swann Auction Galleries

“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself,” Frederick Douglass
First edition copy, Published at the North Star Office, 1848
Estimate: $18,000 – $22,000
Auction Date: March 31

When Frederick Douglass’s “Narrative” first appeared in 1845, he had already been lecturing for more than four years as the shining star of the New England abolitionists. It was an instant best-seller, going through 5,000 copies of the first printing in four months. It was the success of the book that alerted Douglass’s owner as to his whereabouts, which forced Douglass to leave the country for two years. In the fall of 1845, he set sail for Cork, Ireland, to begin a two-year lecture tour of Great Britain. Few original copies still exist of this text. Part of Swann’s auction of Printed and Manuscript African Americana.

Doyle New York

United States Abraham Lincoln Indian Peace Medal, 1862
Estimate: $8,000 – $12,000
Auction Date: April 25

Silver Indian Peace Medals are some of the rarest and most sought-after items among American coin collectors. Issued during the presidencies of George Washington through Benjamin Harrison, the medals were presented to Native Americans with the intent of creating peaceful relationships, usually to mark an important occasion, such as the signing of a treaty. Fewer than 4,000 were ever produced, and today it is estimated that a mere 500 can be accounted for. This auction offers two of these rarities: an 1862 Abraham Lincoln medal and an 1871 Ulysses Grant medal. The sale also offers a wide selection of American and world coins, bank notes, medals and postage stamps.

The Potomack Company

“Mourning Picture of Columbia, Commemorating George and Martha Washington”
Embroidered and painted silk work by Eliza Gould, early 19th century
Auction Date: April 9

This stunning piece of Americana folk heritage is part of Potomack Company’s upcoming live auction. The female figure in the picture is Columbia, an iconic woman akin to the French Marianne who represents the historic pet name once given to the United States in reference to Christopher Columbus (hence The District of “Columbia”). She stands weeping beside a memorial plinth with painted likenesses of George and Martha Washington, within an oval embroidered frame surmounted by two urns, a weeping willow tree above, building and church in the background on a silk ground.

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