Heritage Political Auction Is Historic In More Ways Than One

. February 5, 2008

Dallas, TX: On March 1, 2008, Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries will present the Edward C. Gillette Collection of Early Political and Presidential Display Items . The auction includes 446 items, all from the era between George Washington and Teddy Roosevelt. “What makes this collection so special,” said Heritage Historical Americana Director Tom Slater, “is the unusual character of the items. Most political collectors focus on buttons, badges and other small, wearable campaign novelties. Gillette collected a wide range of larger items, mostly three-dimensional in nature – call them display items for want of a better term – that are both rarer and more evocative of the real flavor of early American politics. These items really make history come to life.”

“The range and quality are the second sense in which the Gillette auction is historic,” Slater said. “I have been involved with organized political item collecting since the infancy of the hobby in the 1960s, and I have seen a lot of collections come and go. There is no question that the Gillette auction presents the finest array of these very special items ever offered in a single auction catalog.”

“Ed Gillette has been both a knowledgeable and highly disciplined collector,” Slater observed. “He has systematically sought not only representative examples for each president or defeated candidate, but also examples of the various types of items used to honor or promote these public figures.” Among the diverse categories found in the collection: Glass and china items, lamps, canes, pipes, clocks and watches, boxes and other containers, jewelry, original hand-painted portraits, White House china, drawer pulls, statuary, reverse-on glass portraits, personally owned artifacts, razors, spoons, tin trays, posters, and even a one-of-a-kind signed, 1904-dated Persian rug depicting Theodore Roosevelt!

The collection also contains a small but select grouping of autograph items, including checks signed by Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson while president, and several fine Lincoln items, including a rare officer’s appointment to the tiny Marine Corps, and a delightful envelope and letter, with Lincoln’s personal signed free frank in lieu of postage, a personal favorite of Slater’s: “it contained a letter home from an Illinois friend who was staying for awhile with the Lincolns in the White House in 1863. The franking privilege is strictly restricted by law, and not supposed to be used for third party correspondence. But Lincoln decided to save his friend the price of a stamp, making this correspondence evidence of a rare, if forgivable, violation of the law by a sitting president.”

“It is all but impossible to single out just a few highlights from the collection,” Slater declared. “A high percentage of the material is genuinely rare, even unique.” However, a short list of notable items would include: A Liverpool cream ware pitcher featuring the most sought-after transfer of Washington as president; a mammoth Liverpool punch bowl, picturing John Adams as president; a serving dish from the service used by James Madison in the White House; A dinner plate from James Monroe’s White House china; a superb miniature portrait on ivory of Andrew Jackson, attributed to James Longacre, a noted portrait artist and engraver who went on to become Chief Engraver of the United States Mint and the designer of the ubiquitous Indian Head Penny; a magnificent Paris porcelain cup picturing Henry Clay, the towering statesman and sometime presidential candidate; a coin silver Gale and Hughes teapot, presented to future Lincoln Vice President Hannibal Hamlin by the son of former U.S. vice president Daniel Tompkins in memory of his father; perhaps the finest known example of an 1860 Currier Grand National Banner print picturing the Lincoln and Hamlin ticket; a huge, colorful Barnum and Bailey circus poster featuring McKinley and Roosevelt; and the aforementioned Theodore Roosevelt Persian carpet.

The Edward C. Gillette Collection of Early Political and Presidential Display Items will be offered in Heritage Auction Galleries. upcoming Grand Format auction, to be held on March 1, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.

Thomas Jefferson: Rare Personal Check Signed as President: Estimate: $7,000 – $9,000
Andrew Jackson: Rare Check, Signed as President, to His Nephew and Namesake Andrew Jackson Donelson: Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000
Abraham Lincoln: Rare Marine Corps Commission Signed by Lincoln and Gideon Welles as Navy Secretary: Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000
Abraham Lincoln: Personally Franked 1863 Envelope Used by a Guest at the White House to Send This Letter Home: Estimate: $3,500 – $5,000
George Washington: Great Liverpool Pitcher Featuring the Most Desirable George Washington Portrait Tran: Estimate: $4,500 – $6,000
John Adams: Massive Creamware Punch Bowl, the Finest Presidential Liverpool Piece We Have Ever Handled: Estimate: $18,000 – $22,000
James Madison: Extremely Rare Serving Dish From This Personal China Service, Used in the White House: Estimate: $15,000 – $22,000
James Monroe: Extremely Rare White House China Dinner Plate: Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000
Andrew Jackson: Superb Miniature Portrait on Ivory Attributed to James Longacre: Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000
Henry Clay: Magnificent Paris Porcelain Cup with Hand Painted Portrait: Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000
Hannibal Hamlin: Important Coin Silver Teapot by Gale & Hughes of New York, Engraved to Lincoln’s Future First Vice President in Memory of an Earlier Vice President, Daniel D. Tompkins: Estimate: $3,000 – $6,000
Lincoln & Hamlin: Currier “Grand National” Banner, Superb and Surely Unimprovable Example: Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000
McKinley & Roosevelt: The Sitting and Former President are Featured on this Spectacular Huge 1903-Dated Barnum and Bailey Circus Poster: Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000
Theodore Roosevelt: Magnificent, Unique, Signed, Hand-Knotted Persian Rug, Dated with the Election Year of 1904: Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000
For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.

Prospective consignors and sellers of political memorabilia, Americana, and related collectibles are invited to visit www.HA.com/Sell. Or simply email Tom Slater at TomS@HA.com.

To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalogue, please contact Client Services at (800) 872-6467, extension 1150, or visit www.HA.com/Catalog to order by email.

Category: Auction News

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