Historic and Important First Edition Copy of The Federalist to be Auctioned by Heritage

. February 29, 2008

DALLAS, TX One of the most important and significant treatises on the philosophy of government ever published was a series of 85 articles, originally written between October 1787 and August 1788 by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton under the nom de plume “Publius,” eventually collected and printed in book form as The Federalist. These articles, which primarily appeared in several New York newspapers, were written both to encourage adoption of the United States Constitution, and to influence future interpretations of that signally important document.

“The importance of The Federalist cannot be overstated,” said James Gannon, Director of Rare Book Auctions for Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries. “These three men, and others like them, were in the process of creating an entirely new system of government, one that had never before been seen in all of human history, and these well-written and incisive articles give us a clear idea of their thoughts and intentions, even though they were meant at the time more as political propaganda than as pure philosophy. This is a keystone work that is absolutely essential for anyone wanting to truly understand the foundation of our government.”

“The adoption of the Constitution was far from a sure thing in 1787,” Gannon said. “Anti-Federalists were staunchly opposed to the document, as they felt that it gave the Federal government too much power at the expense of the individual states. Madison, Jay, and Hamilton wrote their essays to counter those arguments, and to advocate adoption and ratification. Obviously, their efforts were eminently successful.”

“A first edition of this important work would command great attention under any circumstances,” Gannon said, “but this particular copy has a fascinating association, as well. It was owned by Major Roger Alden, not only a descendant of noted Mayflower passenger John Alden, but also a soldier in the Revolutionary War, Deputy Secretary of the Continental Congress, Chief Clerk to the Domestic Arm of the State Department, and later Ordnance Storekeeper and Postmaster at West Point. He was an important figure in the early days of the United States, closely associated with the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Nathan Hale, and even Benedict Arnold, whom Alden served under during the 1775 expedition to Quebec, before Arnold’s famous defection to the British. The association with Alden and the original bindings and untrimmed pages bearing his name and the date of publication makes this copy of The Federalist even more desirable due to its important position in early American history.”

“I’d invite all interested parties to visit our website at www.HA.com,” Gannon said, “where you’ll be able to view enlargeable, full-color images of each and every lot in the auction, and read our complete and informative catalog descriptions. Best of all, as the auction draws nearer, you’ll even be able to enter your bids online. If you can’t be in Dallas in person for the auction, try our exciting new live bidding platform, Heritage Live. By logging in at www.HA.com/Live, you’ll be able to follow the auction via streaming audio and video, and even place your bids in real time, competing directly against bidders on the floor, from absolutely anywhere in the world. And there’s no extra Buyer’s Premium for using this great new tool, truly making it the next best thing to being there.”

This first edition copy of The Federalist, formerly owned by Major Roger Alden, will be offered in Heritage’s upcoming Grand Format Books & Manuscripts Auction, to be held June 3 & 4, 2008 in Dallas, Texas.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist:
A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution, as Agreed upon by the Federal Convention, September 17, 1787. In Two Volumes. New-York: Printed and Sold by J. and A. M’Lean, 1788.
ESTIMATE: $150,000 – $200,000
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 rare books are invited to visit www.HA.com/Sell. Or simply email James Gannon at JamesG@HA.com or call (800) 872-6467, ext. 1609.

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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