Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Abraham Lincoln Glasses Could Fetch $700,000 at Auction

The opera glasses held by Abraham Lincoln when he was assassinated 147 years ago are coming to the auction block next week.
Los Angeles-based auctioneer Nate D. Sanders estimated that they might fetch $500,000 to $700,000.

The pair of opera glasses held by Abraham Lincoln during his assassination in 1865. They are offered by online auction company Nate D. Sanders. Estimate: $500,000-$700,000.

Lincoln was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on April 14, 1865, while attending “Our American Cousin,” a play starring Laura Keene. During the comedy, actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth entered Lincoln’s box and shot him in the head.
The president’s black enameled and gold glasses were picked up on the street by Captain James M. McCamly, a Washington City Guard who was helping transport Lincoln from the theater to the Petersen House, where the president died hours later.
“You can imagine all the commotion,” said Laura Yntema, auction manager at Sanders. “They probably just fell down as he was being moved across the street to the hospital. They are very well documented. We have James McCamly’s military records and a notarized letter from the McCamly’s family as well.”

Made by German company Gebruder Strausshof Optiker Berlin, the glasses remained in McCamly’s family for three generations.

Magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes Sr. bought them in 1979. The current owner is anonymous. The glasses last came up for sale at Sotheby’s (BID) in June 2011, with the estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. There were no takers.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Locket of hair from Michael Collins’ dead body to be auctioned off in Dublin


IrishCentral Staff Writer

A lock of hair taken from the body of murdered Irish leader Michael Collins is to be auctioned at an historical memorabilia sale in Dublin later this month.

The Irish Times reports that other ‘macabre mementos’ of Collins’ death in Cork in 1922 will also go on sale at the Adam’s auction house.

The lock of hair and a cotton swab used to clean the Collins corpse before it lay in state are among the items up for auction.

The specialist auction house has confirmed it is to sell: “An envelope containing a lock of tangled brown hair which is inscribed Hair of head of Michael Collins when laid in State in the City Hall August 1922.”

The memento originally belonged to Collins’ sister Kitty who passed it on to a friend in the 1950s.

The auction house expects the item, now owned by an unnamed vendor, to sell for up to $7,000 later this month in a sale entitled ‘800 Years - Irish Political, Military and Literary History’.

Collins, the man who signed the Treaty of Independnce in London, was shot dead at Béal na mBláth in west Cork during the Civil War 90 years ago.

His body was brought to Dublin by sea on board the steamship Classic. It was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital to be embalmed before it was removed to lie in state at Dublin City Hall.

The paper reports that the framed swab of lint and cotton wool used to clean Collins’s face were kept by hospital nurse Nessie Rogan.

It has been passed down through her family and will be sold in an auction titled ‘Ireland’s Struggle - Irish and Republican Memorabilia’ with an estimated value of $700.

With the 90th anniversary of Collins’ death approaching there is new interest in souvenirs and mementos.

Adam’s are also offering a photograph showing Collins standing on an ironwork balcony, said to be at No. 10 Downing Street, where he negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 along with a letter from a priest to Collins’s sister Celestine, a nun, describing him as ‘one of Ireland’s hidden saints’.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Bloody grass "from Gandhi assassination" to be sold

LONDON (Reuters) - Samples of soil and blades of bloody grass purportedly from the spot where Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 will go on sale in Britain later this month and are expected to fetch 10-15,000 pounds ($16-24,000).

Mullock's auctioneer in western England said it was confident the artefacts were genuine, because they came with a letter of provenance from original owner P.P. Nambiar who collected them after the revered "Father of the Nation" was shot by a Hindu radical.

The samples also matched the account Nambiar gave of the events of 1948 in which he described finding a drop of Gandhi's blood on the grass which he collected.

"I cut the grass and also took two pinches of soil from the brink of the pothole which I wrapped in a piece of Hindi newspaper found nearby," he wrote.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, the auction house's historical documents expert, said it was often difficult to prove whether such artefacts were genuine, and his attribution of paintings to Adolf Hitler has been questioned by art experts in the past.

"In this situation I've got a letter from the guy who collected it -- P.P. Nambiar, and I've also got the pages from his book that he published in which he described collecting this soil," Westwood-Brookes told Reuters.

"So in this situation I don't think there can be any doubt."

He was also confident that a pair of spectacles made in Gloucester, also in western England, and dating from around 1891 had once belonged to the Indian independence hero.

"I did question the vendor on that very carefully, because the optician who made the spectacles came from Gloucester and you immediately think 'How can that be?'."

The steel-rimmed glasses, also valued at 10-15,000 pounds, date from the time that Gandhi was in Britain studying law.

During his stay he joined the London Vegetarian Society, through which he made friends from Gloucester, according to the auctioneer's catalogue notes.

Overall, the Gandhi collection that includes signed letters and a prayer book is expected to raise 80-100,000 pounds, although Westwood-Brookes said it was difficult to place a value on some of the more unusual lots.

"That's my honest idea about estimates," he said.

"The letters are much easier to value because there's plenty of auction records which give a good pointer as to what an important Gandhi letter is worth. But how on earth do you put an estimate on a piece of soil?"

The Gandhi collection will go under the hammer on April 17 as part of Mullock's' historical documents, autographs and ephemera auction.