Three rarities of the collecting world will share the spotlight at an August 10th auction in New York:
• A telltale stroke of a quill pen on an old document could make it one of the earliest signals of the Declaration of Independence. The unique document, written in Philadelphia, on July 4, 1776, had disappeared since it was described in a Philadelphia newspaper in 1876. Headed for auction in Yonkers, N.Y., Cohasco V.P. Bob Snyder says its double date and nature of the calligraphy shows a “stroke of liberty” - indicating that the officer writing it knew at that hour that America had been born. The famous July 4th broadsides weren’t printed until evening; the last broadside sold for over $8 million. Bidding for the document will begin at $15,000.
• Robin Hood rides again. A manuscript from the thousand-year-old castle of Robin Hood’s arch-enemy is also heading for the auction block. Dated 1332, the parchment relates to Adam of Orleton, the portly Bishop who would venture into Sherwood Forest in search of the outlaw Robin Hood, hoping to bring him to the gallows. Auction V.P. Bob Snyder says “artifacts of the Robin Hood legend are of the utmost rarity on the market.” (Presale estimate $11,500-17,500)
• Had history taken a different turn, America could have been celebrating Zeno Day instead of Columbus Day. A map showing the route purportedly used by the Zeno Brothers in their voyage to North America in the 1300s – predating Columbus by a century – will also be auctioned. The controversial map - with mythical islands and showing the West Coast linked to China - is one of 64 in a complete book by famed cartographer Ptolemy. The atlas is considered one of the books that changed the course of modern civilization. The 1475 edition was used by Columbus. This 1561 edition up for auction is estimated at $9,500-13,500.
The auction includes over 500 other lots of original historical documents, books, and collectibles. A few other items include:
• The World Trade Center that was never built: an original brochure illustrating its plan, circa 1962, including space for a ship to dock beside the building! ($150-200)
• The combat knife of a commander of the original Band of Brothers, Easy Company, in World War II. His unit’s exploits are the basis for the modern “Band of Brothers” show. Captured on D-Day, Capt. John McKnight went on to liberate a death camp, and served in Korea and Viet Nam. ($225-350)
• A 1960s collection of original photographs showing landmark events of the civil rights movement in the Deep South. Including several photos which have become part of the national consciousness, the group shows blacks being pursued by a policeman on horseback, black marchers being protected by white officers, and the charred car of the three civil rights workers who were murdered in 1964. (20 photos, $2,000-4,000)
• The year of Custer: A full year of 1876 newspapers with complete coverage of the prelude, lurid massacre, and aftermath of one of the most enduring chapters in American history. It is not widely known that the casualties at Little Big Horn included not only Custer, but his two brothers, nephew, and brother-in-law. (About 52 newspapers, $2,000-2,500)
About Cohasco, Inc.
Established 64 years, Cohasco (cohascodpc.com) is a dealer in and auctioneer of manuscripts, books, antiquarian materials and collectibles. Over the years they have handled the sale of numerous prominent collections, in a range of fields, from colonial to Confederate, mediaeval to modern. Recent highlights included the lamps that illuminated Lincoln’s wedding, an archive of the Duryea, America’s first “mass-produced” automobile, and the Bible owned by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother, setting a world record price for a twentieth-century Bible.