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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid