Preparations for Heritage Auctions’ Civil War & Militaria Sale are now nearing completion. There are over 850 lots in the auction to be held June 7th here in Dallas, followed by the Arms & Armor Auction on June 8th with an equal number of lots.
Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Sale will precede this duo on May 24th. That auction will contain a handful of military items, so anyone who plans to participate in the June 7th-8th auctions have to peruse the May 24th catalog carefully. The Americana & Political sale has approximately forty Lincoln items and the Civil War & Militaria sale has almost the same amount. We have an excellent assortment of Custer photographs in the Civil War auction, but Custer material also appears in Legends of the West Auction on June 14th.
Before discussing some personal favorites, it is important to announce that this sale will include the first installment, out of three, comprising the fabulous Civil War collection of Dr. Michael Stevens. The collection, lovingly assembled over the last fifteen years, consists primarily of period photographs and documents, encompassing around 4000 individual pieces. The collection has been equally divided into 1500 lots which will be sold over the course of three consecutive auctions.
A really neat item from the Stevens collection is a pass signed by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Edwin Stanton. Issued February 27, 1865, the signatures appear as endorsements, altogether on the back side. Unbelievable! This is like hitting the trifecta… only a lot better! The pass was issued to Dr. Frederick Tompkins of the Freedman Aid Society of London. Lincoln says he endorses their aims and wishes Tompkins “god-speed” on his mission. Stanton directs that Tompkins travels for free and Grant authorizes complete access to the doctor in his mission of mercy.
Talking about Grant, the sale includes a carved pipe showing an eagle with a rabbit in its claws. It was given by Grant to Clark Lagow, his aide-de-camp during the Vicksburg Campaign. Grant and Lagow were from the same town and signed up on the very same day in 1861. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Grant commented that he would soon be dining in Vicksburg. This comment was leaked to the Vicksburg press who issued a reply that if Grant was to dine in Vicksburg, he must first “catch the rabbit”. Vicksburg eventually fell and Grant had his rabbit. This pipe was made to commemorate the event.
Also on offer will be the contents of an 1864 carte de visite album assembled by Lt. Alexander Lindsay, then stationed at Houston, Texas. Lindsay was in charge of the Signal Corps unit commanded by CSA General John Bankhead Magruder. The album contained approximately twenty CDVs of members of the Signal Corps as well as blockade runners, photographed in New Orleans, Richmond, Houston, Havana and Halifax. Happy collecting!