News / USA

Rare Presidential Artifacts Go to Auction

Porcelain which was made to order in China for President George Washington and his wife Martha. This one plate is expected to sell at auction for between $25,000 and $40,000. (VOA/J. Taboh)
Porcelain which was made to order in China for President George Washington and his wife Martha. This one plate is expected to sell at auction for between $25,000 and $40,000. (VOA/J. Taboh)
Artifacts and paintings related to the earliest days of the American presidency up until recent times, are slated to be sold to the highest bidder by Christie's, the famed auction house in New York.

The items were showcased ahead of the sale, in a Washington, D.C. exhibit entitled “Washington to Warhol: The Presidency in Art.”

Washington to Warhol

The rare items on display included a 19th century portrait of President George Washington, which sat near a 1986 screenprint of President Theodore Roosevelt by the late pop artist Andy Warhol.

And a 1985 print of the American flag by the late pop artist Roy Lichtenstein didn't seem out of place in an exhibit that also featured a limited edition copy of the Declaration of Independence signed two centuries ago.

  • Thomas Jefferson's China service, circa 1790 (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • This porcelain which was made to order in China for President George Washington and his wife Martha. This one plate is expected to sell at auction for between $25,000 and $40,000. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • The original draft of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" written by Julia Ward Howe in November 1861.
  • A portrait of George Washington, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1859, next to Roy Lichtenstein’s "Forms in Space," from 1985. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • Roy Lichtenstein’s screenprint, "Forms in Space," from 1985. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • A silver teapot, made by American patriot and silversmith Paul Revere in 1780, is expected to sell for up to $250,000. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • Painting of Paul Revere (1734-1818) with one of his teapots. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • A limited-edition copy of The Declaration of Independence created by William J. Stone in July 1823. (VOA/J. Taboh)
  • "Teddy Roosevelt," part of Andy Warhol’s series, "Cowboys and Indians," from 1986. (VOA/J.Taboh)
  • Andy Warhold's "Jackie II," of Jackie Kennedy, from 1966


​The items on display were slated to be sold in a number of auctions in the coming months.

At one of the first sales, on Oct. 31, Lichtenstein's "Forms in Space" sold for $52,500.

Warhol's Jackie ll, of Jacqueline Kennedy, went for $11,250. Warhol's image of Roosevelt, was sold as part of a set of 10 called "Cowboys and Indians." Created by Warhol, the grouping includes images of famous cowboys and Indians in American history. It sold for for $122,500.

“Warhol was tremendously innovative in terms of looking for American culture and bringing it forward in the 20th century,” said Paul Provost, deputy chairman at Christie’s New York,

Declaration of Independence

At the other end of the timeline was a limited edition copy of the Declaration of Independence, which was signed in 1776. The limited edition was created 50 years after the declaration was signed.  

“The 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence was approaching so Congress commissioned engraver William Stone to produce a very accurate, detailed facsimile, actual-size, printed on fine parchment," said Chris Coover, Christie's senior specialist in American historical documents. “One of the nice things about the facsimile, is all the signatures of the 56 men who signed it are accurately reproduced. That includes John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, a real panoply of American founding fathers.”

Lincoln’s favorite anthem

Among the rarest documents in the collection is the original draft of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," one of the most recognized American anthems.

Poet and abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote it in November 1861 during the early days of the American Civil War, after witnessing a skirmish between the Union and Confederate armies.

The anthem became an instant hit with Union soldiers.  

According to Coover, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s favorite pieces.

“Lincoln loved this piece and asked for it to be performed on many occasions,” he said.

Paul Revere's teapot

A silver teapot made by the American patriot, Paul Revere, is another historic item featured in the exhibit.

Revere made his famous ride in 1775 to alert American troops near Boston that the British were coming. Many people are unaware that the Revolutionary War hero was a silversmith.

“Both before he made his famous ride to Lexington and Concord, and after the revolution, he went back to his trade as a silversmith,” said Jeanne Sloane, deputy chairman at Christie’s.

The teapot was made in 1782, the year Revere came back from fighting in an artillery regiment.

Chinese porcelain

Another treasure in the collection is porcelain which was made to order in China for both President George Washington and President Thomas Jefferson.   

“It’s so wonderful for us to see all of these materials together,” said Becky MacGuire, a senior specialist of chinese Export Art at Christie's. “When you read about it in the history books, it just does not come alive the way these pieces do.”

Christie's Paul Provost said the market for Americana is strong, and with the upcoming elections, the timing couldn’t be better.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid