PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freemans
spring auction season is highlighted by rare, remarkable Americana collectors opportunities, led by a May 3 American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts auction and a May 4 Books and Manuscripts auction. From manuscripts and documents to silver, furniture, art, and design objects, these two sales bring the best of early American culture, politics, and artistic production to market.
SILVER, FURNITURE, AND ARTWORK: EARLY CULTURAL AMERICANA
Freemans May 3 American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts sale brings collectors a fine selection of early Americana with impressive provenance, led by Nicolino Calyos View of the Schuylkill River & Fairmount Park Water Works, a sweeping oil-on-canvas view of 19th -century Philadelphia ($100,000-150,000). A rare embroidered and painted Plan of the City of Washington offers a different kind of cityscape: a map of Washington, D.C. worked with silk threads, watercolor and ink on a silk ground by Grace Turner Cleaver ($30,000-50,000).
Fine furniture punctuates the auction, including a Chippendale carved mahogany cheston-chest ($20,000-30,000) and the Pemberton-Morris-Lloyd Chippendale carved and figured mahogany sideboard table ($40,000-60,000). Several 18th-century silver pieces showcase early American craftsmanship: John Coneys 1700 silver caudle cup ($10,000-15,000), and John Dixwells 1715 silver two-handled cup ($10,000-20,000), both early Boston metalworking highlights.
SEEDS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: FOUNDATIONAL DOCUMENTS AND MANUSCRIPTS
The undoubted highlight of Freemans May 4 Books and Manuscripts auction is a remarkably rare John Hancock letter that announced the Declaration of Independence to the state of Georgia on July 8, 1776 (estimate upon request). One of only five such letters known to exist, and one of only two still in private hands, document is extraordinarily rarea perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for serious collectors of early American history.
Alongside this extraordinary document are several significant documents that will delight Americana collectors, including the earliest available Connecticut printing of the United States Constitution ($18,000-24,000), a contemporary manuscript of Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adamss peace journals during their negotiations with Great Britain to end the American Revolution ($50,000-80,000), and two Alexander Hamilton items: a letter to his beloved wife Eliza ($12,000-18,000), and a scarce first edition of the infamous Reynolds Pamphlet that revealed Hamiltons affair and subsequent blackmail ($6,000-9,000).