Monthly Archives: November 2013

Honus Wagner signed induction day cover

Commemorative Crosby photo cover with a cachet honoring Wagner’s induction and the 100th anniversary of ‘America’s National Game,’ postmarked June 12, 1939, in Cooperstown, New York, signed vertically in fountain pen, “Honus Wagner, Pirates.” This particular example of his signature is indicative of his 1939-1945 style. In fine condition, with a subtle diagonal band of toning to the right side. Though he was one of the first five men elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936, it was not until the Hall’s grand opening in Cooperstown on June 12, 1939, that he was officially inducted. On top of the highly desirable postmark, this cover also features the incredibly rare raised silver ink (these covers were typically printed in purple ink), making it a truly unique piece. One of the finest Wagner signed covers we have ever encountered. Pre-certified Steve Grad/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 30, 2013 in Honus Wagner


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US Artillery Model Colt Single Action Revolver

This .45 Colt caliber revolver has mismatched numbers, as is correct. Serial no. 94766 is on the bottom of the frame with “U.S.” marked on the left side, no. 17760 on the front of the triggerguard and no. 179 on the butt. The bottom of the barrel has the government inspector’s initials “R.A.C.”; the cylinder has no visible number or inspector’s initials. The one-piece factory walnut grip has no visible inspector’s initials and is slightly undersized at the butt from refinishing, overall grip condition is very good with a small chip at the right side toe. The metal has scattered pinprick pitting with excellent factory lettering on the barrel and very good condition frame markings. The gripstraps are mostly gray with about 30% of an old reblue mixing with plum patina on the balance of the metal. The 5.5″ barrel has a very good bore and the mechanism functions well with the hammer notches intact. The ejection rod has the later style crescent head. A period heavy brown leather double loop holster with hand-stamped decoration is included. This holster is in very good condition and appears to be unmarked. This fine old Colt was made in 1883 and was originally issued as a 7.5″ barrel Cavalry revolver. Many of these Cavalry revolvers were altered to 5.5″ between 1895 and 1903. This work was done by Springfield Armory and Colt. At that time many revolvers were also refinished and usually no attempts were made to keep the serial numbered parts together. These short barrelled revolvers were referred to as ‘Artillery Models’ and many were used in the Spanish American War and in the Philippines.

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Revolver


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Harpo Marx Signed Vintage Photo

Vintage matte-finish 5 x 7 photo of Marx goofily popping out of a doghouse with two puppies, signed in fountain pen, “Best Wishes, Harpt.” In fine condition. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.






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Posted by on November 27, 2013 in Harpo Marx


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John F. Kennedy Signed Book Profiles in Courage

Signed book: Profiles in Courage. Later printing. NY: Harper and Brothers, 1956. Hardcover with dust jacket, 5.75 x 8.5, 266 pages. Signed on the first free end page in fountain pen, “John F. Kennedy.” Autographic condition: very good, with a strip of toning over first name of signature, and some other scattered light toning and foxing to signed page. Book condition: VG-/VG-. Black cloth-covered spine and blue paper-covered boards; mild wear to edges, with bumps and small tears at corners; front board bows up; large blocks of white soiling to interior and exterior of covers along the fore-edge; lightly yellowed and foxed, with faint waterstain to upper textblock edge (exterior only); gentle crease to rfep. Dust jacket has small chips/tears and creases along edges; spine and portion of front sunned; slightly yellowed and foxed (foxing heavier on reverse); light scuff to spine; price-clipped. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.


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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in John F. Kennedy


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Vincent Van Gogh Handwritten poem fragment

Dutch Post-Impressionist artist (1853-1890). He was a pioneer of Expressionism with enormous influence on 20th century art, especially on the Fauves and German Expressionists. Some of his paintings are now among the world’s best known, most popular and expensive works of art. Extremely rare unsigned handwritten poem fragment, four lines on a 2.75 x .75 clipped slip (with one line on the reverse), undated, but from van Gogh’s days as a theology student, circa 1876. The fragment, in French, a section of a poem entitled ‘Le Retour des Champs, a Francois Millet (Return from the Fields, after Francois Millet),’ reads, in full (translated): “He carries the scythe or the spade; On the shoulder he goes slowly; Dampening his dry chest; Of mist and smell of wheat.” Archivally-triple-matted and framed with an engraved plaque and a portrait of Van Gogh to an overall size of 21.5 x 16.25. In very good to fine condition, with some mild toning to the front, slight show-through from the line on the reverse, and two small mounting remnants to the reverse touching one word of text. Accompanied by a clipped certificate of authenticity from Charles Hamilton, who offered several fragments for sale years ago, complete with its red wax seal, from when the fragment was framed.

This leaf was most certainly originally included as a part of a friendship album belonging to Annie Slade-Jones, the wife of Congregational minister Thomas Slade Jones, which originally contained about sixty entries (approximately 180 pages) written during Van Gogh’s residence in England. According to the Van Gogh Museum, in 1980 the album was sold by Slade-Jones’s descendants at Sotheby’s for £550. It then changed hands again, and it seems that the Van Gogh pages were first removed, and then cut up into fragments.

Nearly as passionate about literature as he was about art, Van Gogh took great pleasure in sharing his favorite poems with friends and family in his lengthy letters. In late March of 1884, he wrote to Dutch painter Anthon van Rappard, a friend and mentor, sharing samples of the poetry of Jules Breton, noting, ‘if you don’t have them, I feel sure you will be greatly impressed.’ Well-known for his paintings of rural peasant scenes of the French countryside, which were among Van Gogh’s favorites, Breton also developed a strong reputation as a writer, publishing a book of poetry and several works on the art world of which he was a part. The poem excerpted here is a beautiful interpretation of fellow French painter Jean-Francois Millet’s painting ‘Return from the Fields.’

Along with highlighting the impact of Breton on Van Gogh, this piece brings to light the crucial influence of Millet’s work on the troubled artist. A pioneer in the ‘peasant genre’ that so deeply touched Van Gogh, Millet was the only major artist of the Barbizon School who displayed laborers as more than small elements in a larger landscape, presenting the realistic sentiments of peasant life as, what Van Gogh would call, ‘something on high.’ Struggling to find inspiration while committed at the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Remy in 1889, Van Gogh created more than 30 interpretations of works by some of his favorite artists: twenty-one of these were of Millet’s. Regarding these pieces, which many hold as some of the finest in his vast body of work, Van Gogh explained, ‘it’s not copying pure and simple…It is rather translating into another language, the one of colors, the impressions of chiaroscuro and white and black.’

Van Gogh’s letters are virtually all in institutions, as are his poetry books and journal, making anything written in his hand nearly impossible to obtain; we have found fewer than a dozen such sold at auction over the last 30 years. This fragment, the seventh stanza of Breton’s poem ‘Return from the Fields, after Francois Millet,’ containing such vital relevance to the artists that inspired Van Gogh, is a truly extraordinary piece and sure to garner great international interest. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Vincent Van Gogh


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Henry David Thoreau Autograph Manuscript

Autograph manuscript of ‘The Assabet,’ three pages on two 7.75 x 9.75 sheets, July 18, 1839. Unsigned handwritten manuscript originally sent to Ellen Sewall, in which Thoreau pens all 12 stanzas of his poem. In part: “Up this pleasant stream let’s row / For the livelong summer’s day, / Sprinkling foam where’er we go, / In weather as white as driven snow; / Ply the oars, away! away! / Now we glide along the shore, / Plucking lillies as we go, / While the yellow sanded floor / Doggedly resists the oar, / Like some turtle, dull and slow. / Now we stem the middle tide, / Ploughing through the deepest soil, / Ridges pile on either side, / While we through the furrow glide, / Reaping bubbles for our toil. / Dew before and drought behind, / Onward all doth seem to fly, / Naught contents the eager mind, / Only rapids now are kind, / Forward are the earth and sky. / Sudden music strikes the ear / Leaking out from yonder bank / Fit such voyageurs to cheer / Sure there must be fairies here, / Who have kindly played this prank.” Professionally repaired central vertical and horizontal folds and some staining to edges, otherwise fine condition.

When 22-year-old Henry Thoreau met Ellen Sewall on July 20, 1839, he was immediately smitten. Visiting her grandmother and younger brother Edmund—the former being a boarder with Thoreau’s mother, and the latter a student at his new progressive grammar school—she arrived at a time when the young author was honing his poetry skills; having recently met Emerson and his circle of literary friends, he was urged to contribute essays and poems to The Dial, though poetry never became his strong suit. This poem, written two days prior to her arrival, most likely about one of his many boating trips with Edmund, was the first of many that he would send to her. The following year—unaware that his own brother John had already proposed to her, and that she had rejected him due to her strict Unitarian father’s dislike of the Thoreau’s transcendental beliefs—Henry proposed to Ellen, only to receive the same rejection. According to Walter Harding’s book, The Days of Henry Thoreau, Ellen recalled the reading aloud of some of Thoreau’s poems in a diary entry the following year, writing, ‘The favorite was ‘Up this pleasant stream let’s row.’ That is the first piece Henry gave me…I wonder if his thoughts ever wander back to those times when the hours sped so pleasantly and we were so happy. I think they do.’ Though Ellen went on to a happy marriage, Henry would remain single for the rest of his life. Though seemingly unpublished during his lifetime, three lines of this poem did appear in revised form in his famous book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. This is the first poem—and the longest piece of handwritten material in any form—that we have offered from the renowned author, one of the hardest to find and most sought after figures in American literature. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Henry David Thoreau


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Jacqueline Kennedy Classic cluster-column candlesticks

A pair of attractive creamware cluster-column candlesticks used by the Kennedys in their Georgetown home. The candlesticks, most likely continental from the 19th century, each measure 12″ high with the square bases measuring 4.5″ on each side. Each has a scroll-molded flaring nozzle (restored) supported on four clustered columns with fleur-de-lis ornaments around the top and bottom, and is perched on a stepped square base. There are also wax remnants at the bottom of each holder. In fine condition, with aforementioned restoration and some small chips and areas of discoloration. Famous for her impeccable taste in interior decor—which left a lasting mark on the White House, as she immediately beginning a revitalization of the drab interior upon her arrival in 1961—Jackie kept these candlesticks, used to decorate her and John’s Georgetown home, her entire life. A stunning artifact from the elegant First Lady’s personal estate. Provenance: From the collection of John Strangi, purchased through Sotheby’s 1996 auction of The Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy. RR Auction COA

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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Jacqueline Kennedy


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Buzz Aldrin Original flown printed flight plan page signed

Original flown printed flight plan page carried on board Apollo 11, one page both sides, identified as pages 3-89 and 3-90, 10.5 x 8, signed and flight-certified along the bottom of page 3-90 in blue ballpoint, “This page was flown to the Moon aboard Apollo XI, July 1969, Buzz Aldrin.” The page came from the detailed timeline section of the Apollo 11 Final Flight Plan manual carried into lunar orbit on the CM Columbia and outlines hours 123 through 125, covering the launch preparations and actual liftoff of Lunar Module Eagle from the lunar surface. Especially interesting are diagrams in the right column, which depict the Eagle lifting off from the lunar surface and the Command Service Module orbiting the moon as the two prepare for rendezvous and return to Earth. In very fine condition. Includes a letter of provenance signed by Aldrin, one page, 8.5 x 11, personal Apollo 11 letterhead, February 24, 2004, stating that the page “is part of the entire document that was carried to the Moon in Command Module Columbia during the first lunar landing mission…Neil Armstrong and I depended on successful firing of the LM’s ascent stage engine, otherwise we would have been stranded on the lunar surface. Mike Collins had no rescue capability with Columbia if we did not lift-off from ‘Tranquility Base.’ The flight plan was probably the single most important document related to the success of our mission. It provided a time schedule of crew activities and spacecraft maneuvers to accomplish the first lunar landing. This page has been in my private collection since 1969.” One of very few to outline scheduled actions during lunar surface activities, this is doubtlessly one of the most important and desirable pages from the Apollo 11 Final Flight Plan. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Buzz Aldrin


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Dave Scott Flown EVA retractable tether

Flown EVA retractable tether used on the lunar surface by Dave Scott during the Apollo 15 mission. The tether, referred to by astronauts as a ‘yo-yo,’ is stamped with a part number of SEB33100291-301 and serial number SN 1018. The device measures approximately 2 x 1 x .75, with remnants of its original brown strap used to attach it to Scott’s PLSS and to carry tools during lunar surface operations. Attached to the end of the 35″ retractable cord is a replacement double-jawed spring-closing mechanism with an incorporated eyelet for attachment to the tether cord. Accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Dave Scott which reads, in part: “I hereby certify that the EVA Retractable Tether (‘Yo-Yo’) included with this letter (including detached internal cord)…was used by me during the lunar surface activities…This Yo-yo was also used for the Universal Hand Tool (UHT) to assist in ALSEP deployment (Boyd Bold release); however during the ALSEP deployment, this particular Yo-yo failed when the string connecting the clamp broke at its attach point on the clamp, and the clamp was lost on the Moon. We returned the Yo-yo to Earth; and subsequent disassembly after the mission showed that both the bowline and the figure-eight knot attaching the cord to the clamp had untied, thus allowing the cord to retract into the housing…After this post-mission analysis the Yo-yo was reassembled to its current configuration (however the original clamp was replaced in this assembly). An improved clinch knot was installed on large Yo-yos for subsequent missions.” As noted in the Apollo 15 Mission Report (chapter 14, 5.7), both retractable tethers failed during lunar surface operations; the Commander’s tether cord broke during the first extravehicular activity, and the tool clamp came off the end of the Lunar Module Pilot’s tether. RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Dave Scott


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Walt Cunningham Rare Beta cloth flown on two Apollo missions

A 9 x 9 swatch of Beta cloth, bearing a pre-printed 3.5″ diameter Apollo 7 mission emblem, flown on the Apollo 7 and 14 missions, signed in black ink, “This Beta cloth flew with me on Apollo 7 in October 1968, and was also carried on Apollo 14 by Alan Shepard for me in Jan–Feb 1971. Walt Cunningham Apollo 7.” Accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity from Cunningham which reads, in part: “This beta cloth emblem is from my personal collection of memorabilia from my astronaut career…This beta cloth patch flew 4,500,000 miles with me on the first manned Apollo mission, October 11–12, 1968. It was also carried by Alan Shepard as a personal favor to me on his Apollo 14 mission.” Also included is a color 8 x 10 photo of Cunningahm holding the cloth after signing. In fine condition. It is quite uncommon to find any item carried on two Apollo missions, particularly anything carried by Alan Shepard. Pre-certified Steve Zarelli and RR Auction COA.

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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in Apollo


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