Not all the items in University Archives’ Sept. 26 online-only auction of rare autographs, documents, manuscripts, books and relics are politically-themed, but several of the sexier lots certainly are. Take, for instance, the torn up piece of paper pictured here. It’s only the first draft of outgoing President George W. Bush’s personal letter to the incoming President-elect, Barack Obama, wishing him well in his new job and warning him, “As you lead, you will be tested. You will be criticized. You will be second-guessed.” Bush didn’t like the first effort and tore it up, but it was retrieved by an alert valet and is now up for bid.

Then there’s the innocent-looking piece of furniture also pictured. It’s Ronald Reagan’s personally owned designer hall bench, 10 feet long and able to seat six, pulled from the Reagans’ home in Bel Air, Calif. The lot includes the bench, a matching mirror and four satin pillows, plus a statement of provenance from Christie’s, which offered the group in a prior auction. Also being sold is a single-page letter written by George Washington, dated March 24th, 1781 and signed “G Washington”. In the letter, Washington elevates Lt. Col. Adam Hubley, an important Rev-War figure and contributor to the Declaration of Independence. Click here to find out more




Wonderful American paintings and Asian lots will headline Potomack Company sale

The Potomack Company’s Saturday, September 23rd auction is packed with wonderful American paintings, Asian objects and more – a diverse sale, designed to appeal to all tastes and budgets. For the discriminating art collector, the two paintings shown here are expected to spark keen bidder interest. One is a lovely 12 inch by 16 inch oil on board signed by Edward Henry Potthast (Am., 1857-1927), titled The Incoming Tide, Coney Island, N.Y. The work will be in the upcoming catalogue raisonne of Mr. Potthast by Mary Ran and carries a pre-sale estimate of $150,000-$300,000, making it easily the auction’s expected top lot.

The other painting is an oil on canvas by William MacLeod (Am., 1811-1892), titled Bridge Over Hunting Creek, Alexandria, Va. (est. $20,000-$40,000). The work is near and dear to the heart of The Potomack Company, which is based in Alexandria. MacLeod’s rendering illustrates the city at the outset of the Civil War. The house atop the hill is Mount Eagle, an estate built by Lord Fairfax and the final home where George Washington dined before his death. A headliner lot in the Asian category is the pair of Chinese huanghuali continuous yokeback arm chairs shown, from the early Qing dynasty (est. $40,000-$60,000). Check out more here.




First in a series of planned yearly auctions for the Brett Benson Collection on Sept. 25

Ripley Auctions of Indianapolis, Ind., has announced what will be the first in a series of planned once-a-year auctions for the Brett Benson Collection of mostly 1940s and 1950s-era American and European vintage costume jewelry. Brett Benson is a longtime dealer-collector and the owner of D. Brett Benson, Inc., in West Pam Beach, Fla. The initial auction is slated for

Monday, September 25th, online and in Ripley Auctions’ gallery, and will feature 317 lots hand-selected by Benson, featuring names like Trifari, TKF, Boucher, Chanel, Joseff of Hollywood, Miriam Haskell, Coppola e Toppo, Hobe and Dujay.

The list continues with other makers such as Schreiner, CoroCraft, Kenneth Lane, Mazer, Jomaz, Valentino, Reja, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Anna Langani, Christian Dior, Francis Gera, Mary McFadden and Countess Zoltowska. An expected top lot is a very rare pearlized enamel bonsai tree pin by Marcel Boucher (better known to fans as simply “MB”). The early signature pin was featured on the cover (and page 57) of American Costume Jewelry Art and Industry, 1935-1950 (by Brunnialti). It is also one of the rarest and most expensive pieces in the auction, with a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$7,500. To find our more, click here.