Lot #1
Presidential Collection

“YOU CANNOT FIND ... THE EQUALS IN INTELLIGENCE, CULTURE, COURAGE, OR CHARACTER”: Superbly presented collection of every U.S. President from GEORGE WASHINGTON to WOODROW WILSON
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Estimate: $0+

Description

“YOU CANNOT FIND ... THE EQUALS IN INTELLIGENCE, CULTURE, COURAGE, OR CHARACTER”: Superbly presented collection of every U.S. President from GEORGE WASHINGTON to WOODROW WILSON

A handsome collection of 27 signatures representing every President of the United States from Washington to Wilson, assembled by famed Boston antiquarian C. E. Goodspeed, circa 1913, and housed in its original custom presentation album. The album, which measures 9.75 x 12, is lavishly bound in tan morocco; elaborate multiple gilt borders center an American eagle device highlighted by a patriotic shield with red stripes and a blue canton. All edges are gilt, while the endpapers are of champagne moiré silk. The album begins with a handwritten statement by Goodspeed, dated Boston, December 3, 1915, and bearing a notary’s signature and embossed seal. The statement reads as follows: “The signatures of the Presidents of the United States found in this collection were gathered by me from authentic sources and from experience and study are known by me to be genuine and are so guaranteed.” This is followed by a custom letterpress-printed title page bearing the legend “Boston, Collected 1913” and a quotation from John Sharp Williams: “You cannot in the history of any country, ancient or modern, find a succession of twenty-five kings, emperors, or even prime ministers, the equals in intelligence, culture, courage, or character of the twenty-five Presidents of this great republic from Washington to Roosevelt inclusive.” Each item in the collection has been expertly inlaid to an 11 x 14.25 sheet, and the presentation is further enhanced with the inclusion of similarly inlaid period engravings of the men represented. Apart from the slightest touch of toning and rubbing to the corners, the album itself is in fresh, beautifully preserved condition; virtually all of the signatures are fine or very fine (see the detailed descriptions for each item). The intact survival of such a volume represents a vanishing tradition in the history of autograph collecting, harking back to a time when such tightly focused collections were painstakingly assembled and lovingly presented by a justly proud owner. As though anticipating a “passing of the torch,” Goodspeed had the binder include several blank pages at the end for the benefit of future collectors who might accept the challenge to bring the collection up to date. Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to keep alive the spirit of true connoisseurship! The entire collection is guaranteed by an Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA. THE COLLECTION: Bold, clear ink signature as president, “Go: Washington,” on a 4.75 x 2 slip clipped from a partially printed document on vellum. Countersigned by Timothy Pickering as Secretary of State. A few minor marginal spots, closely trimmed left edge just touching lower loop of “G,” and vertical fold and light wrinkling touching a few letters of last name, otherwise fine, clean condition. Large, dark ink signature, “J. Adams,” on an off-white 2 x .75 slip. The very slightest hint of mild soiling, otherwise fine, fresh condition. Clear, dark ink franking signature as president, “free, Th: Jefferson, Pr. U.S.,” on an off-white 2 x .75 slip clipped from a mailing envelope. A few faint spots to blank portions and partial Washington postmark touching lower part of signature, otherwise fine condition. Perfect ink signature, “James Madison,” on an off-white 2.75 x .75 slip. In very fine condition. Large ink signature, “James Monroe,” on an off-white 3.5 x .75 slip. Light scattered soiling and spotting (only slightly touching signature), otherwise fine condition. Bold ink signature, “John Quincy Adams,” on a 2.75 x .5 slip clipped from a vellum document. A hint of very mild soiling, trimming to bottom edge just touching descender of “y,” and a few strokes of countersignature visible in blank lower margin, otherwise fine condition. Large ink signature, “Andrew Jackson,” on a 5.5 x .75 slip clipped from a vellum document. Trimming to top edge just touching ascenders of “J” and “k,” a small stroke from countersignature visible between names, and a faint vertical fold just touching “J,” otherwise fine condition. Dark ink signature, “M. Van Buren,” on an off-white 3 x .5 slip. Light soiling and a few light vertical folds, otherwise fine condition. Large, dark ink signature, “Wm. H. Harrison, Ad. C.,” on a partial 7.75 x 2.5 manuscript document related to whiskey rations. Horizontal fold (away from signature), faint show-through from notations on reverse, and few small spots and stray ink marks, otherwise fine, clean condition. Dark ink signature, “John Tyler,” on a 1.75 x .5 slip clipped from a vellum document. Mild soiling and trimming just touching lower and right edges of signature, otherwise fine condition. Bold, perfect ink signature, “James K. Polk,” on a gray 3.5 x 1 slip. In very fine condition. Bold, dark ink signature, “Z. Taylor,” on an off-white 1.75 x .5 slip. A touch of mild toning, otherwise fine condition. Dark ink signature, “M. Fillmore,” on a 2.75 x .75 blue-gray slip. A hint of very subtle soiling at edges, otherwise fine, fresh condition. Large, clear elderly ink signature and sentiment, “Yr. Obdt. Servt., Franklin Pierce, Feby. 4, 1866,” on an off-white 4.5 x 1.75 slip. In very fine condition. Ink signature, “James Buchanan,” on an off-white 4 x .5 slip. In very good condition, with writing a shade light but fully legible, trimming to edges lightly touching a few letters, light scattered soiling, and staining touching about half of last name. Clear, dark ink signature, “A. Lincoln,” on an off-white 1.5 x .5 slip. Light soiling, and light vertical fold and tiny edge tear just touching “A,” otherwise fine condition. Exceptionally large and bold ink signature, “Andrew Johnson,” on a white 5 x 1.25 slip. In very fine condition. Bold ink signature, “U. S. Grant, Lt. Gen. U.S.A,” on an off-white 2.75 x 1.25 slip. A touch of mild soiling and light irregular staining (offset from the reverse of the engraving situated opposite; not affecting legibility), otherwise fine condition. Dark ink signature, “Rutherford B. Hayes,” on the reverse of his color embossed 4 x 2.25 business card as “Aide-de-Camp on staff of Commander-in-Chief.” Light soiling to both sides and mild, even toning to signed side (offset from the reverse of the engraving situated opposite; not affecting legibility), otherwise fine condition. Ink signature, “J. A. Garfield, M.C.,” on an off-white 3 x .75 slip. Mild soiling and trimming to edges just touching “J” and “C,” otherwise fine condition. Large, bold ink signature, “C. A. Arthur,” on an off-white 3.75 x .5 slip. Light vertical fold touching initials, a hint of subtle soiling, and a small ink stroke visible above last name, otherwise fine condition. Ink signature as president, “Grover Cleveland, June 9, 1886,” on an off-white 4.75 x 1.75 slip. A few small brushes (including one each to first and last letters of signature), otherwise fine, clean condition. Large, bold ink signature, “Benj. Harrison, Ind.,” on a pale pink 5 x 1.75 slip. In very fine condition. Executive Mansion card, 4 x 2.25, boldly signed in ink, “William McKinley.” A touch of mild soiling, otherwise fine condition. Bold, perfect ink signature, “Theodore Roosevelt,” on an off-white 3.75 x 2 slip. A hint of very subtle soiling, otherwise very fine condition. Bold, dark ink signature and sentiment, “Sincerely yours, Wm. H. Taft,” on an off-white 3.75 x 2 slip. A touch of mild soiling and a nearly imperceptible brush to last name, otherwise fine condition. Bold, dark ink signature, “Woodrow Wilson,” on a white 3.25 x 1.75 slip. A touch of subtle soiling, otherwise fine, bright condition.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #322 - Ended June 20, 2007