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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs