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George Washington: Rare 1777 Revolutionary War Hand Colored Engraving

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Print. With captions in English and French: “George Washington Eqer General and Commander en Chief of the Continental Army in America . . . d’Apres l’Original de Champbell [sic] Peintre de Williambourg Capitale de la Virginie.” Likely published in Paris, ca. 1777 to 1780. 1 p. 7.75 x 11.75 in. in a wooden frame 10 x 14.5 in.

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Lovely condition, drum-mounted on board, original full hand-coloring. Framed. Line engraving derived from the portrait done by “Alexander Campbell” with facial elements after the  Nuremberg version of the print. This enjoys the independent addition of battle flags placed within the image to flank the portrait.

Item #27113, $12,500

Earliest Known Printing of “Tikvatenu” [Our Hope – the origin of “Hatikvah”] Inscribed by Author Naftali Herz Imber to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the “revivalist of the Hebrew language”

NAFTALI HERZ IMBER, Sefer Barkai [The Morning Star], book of poems. Jerusalem: M. Meyuhas Press, 5646 [1886]. Hebrew and some German.

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Dedicatory inscription on verso of title page (partly cropped by binder), handwritten in Hebrew by Imber: “To my wise friend, the linguist... of the periodical HaZvi in Jerusalem. [...] The renowned wordsmith from the ranks of the Jewish sages [...], Ben-Yehuda. This booklet is a memento from the author.

Inked stamps on title page and on several additional pages (Hebrew): “House of Reading and [Home of] the Book Collection, Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt and reestablished” / “Beit Sefarim Livnei Yisrael... Yerusahalayim…” [House of Books for the Children of Israel in the Holy City of Jerusalem]. The library known as “Beit Sefarim Livnei Yisrael” was established in Jerusalem by a group of scholars led by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in 1884 (upon its closing in 1894, its book collection was transferred to the Midrash Abarbanel Library, which eventually evolved into the National Library of Israel.)

In 1886, prior to the publication Barkai, Imber published the following advertisement in Eliezer Ben-Yehuda's Hebrew-language newspaper, HaZvi (2nd year, Issue No. 36): “There is a book with me among my writings [to] which I have given the title ‘Barkai’ [...] Any printer who wishes to purchase it from me in order to publish it should contact me...” An editor’s note follows the advertisement: “We have seen these poems which have been written by Mr. Imber, and [regard them] in keeping with the principle to which we adhere, ‘Look upon the vessel and relate not to its creator' [in a play on words on the chorus of the well-known liturgical poem for the Day of Atonement, ‘Ki Hineh KaHomer’]. It is incumbent upon us to state that the spirit of lofty poetry hovers over them; their thoughts are pleasant and desirable. The language in them is pristine and clear, and the ideas are exceptional. Many of these poems are worthy of becoming national songs. In general, these poems are faithful national songs, writings of a distinguished poet.”

VI, [2], 127, [1] pp., 15.5 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains, mostly to first and last leaves. Tears, some open and some long, to title page and to several other leaves, mostly restored with paper or mended with adhesive tape. Handwritten notations to some pages. New binding and endpapers.

Item #26582, $60,000

Masonic Apron, Neck Sash & Medal of U.S. Mint - California Gold Refiner James Booth, with a Lithograph of Him

[JAMES CURTIS BOOTH], Collection.

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Item #23610, $1,600

President Theodore Roosevelt Questions Coal Monopolies and Contradictions in Report from Interstate Commerce Chairman

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Judson C. Clements, October 13, 1906, Washington, D.C. On “The White House” letterhead. 2 pp., 8 x 10¼ in.

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These lands are probably of more fundamental consequence to the whole people than any other public lands… Might it not be well for the government to retain title and to lease the right to mine upon such terms as would attract the investment of capital for this purpose?”

Just over three months after signing the Hepburn Act, giving the Interstate Commerce Commission real regulatory power, Roosevelt responded to a letter from its Acting Chairman who was complaining of coal monopolies created by the railroads. Roosevelt strongly supports the Hepburn Act, telling Clements, “I will back you up to the limit in compelling the railroad companies to afford the independent producers proper track connections and proper transportation facilities as well as to carry the coal for reasonable charges.” Roosevelt also asserts that the nation must maintain control of its coal lands, an increasingly valuable resource in the railway age: “we should not part with anymore coal lands.”

Item #26771, $3,500

Brooklyn Ferry in 1666 - British Royal Governor Confirms Dutch Owners Land Grant for the Brooklyn End of the Ferry

RICHARD NICOLLS, Manuscript Document Signed, March 12, 1666, to Egbert van Borsum. 2 pp. with attached wax seal, 12¾ x 16¼ in.

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Whereas there is a certaine Plott of Ground, with a House or Tenement there upon, Scituate and being at the Ferry, within the Bounds of the Towne of Brucklyn, in the west Riding of Yorkeshire upon Long Island…

Item #23988.12, ON HOLD

Turtle Bay Lease for Use by the Royal Navy, 1741

[NEW YORK CITY], Manuscript Document Signed. Fifty-year lease on Turtle Bay from Captain Robert Long to Peter Warren. Signed by Peter Warren (with his wax seal), his father-in-law Stephen Delancey, and two other witnesses. New York, March 2, 1741. 1 p., 13 x 16 in. Docketed on verso, with later notes on payment through 1750 signed by Long.

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A future hero of the French and Indian War leases Turtle Bay for fifty years of use by the British Navy. From the beginning of European settlement, it offered sailing vessels refuge from the East River’s treacherous currents and winter storms. Today, it helps weather different kinds of storms: it was filled in and is the site of the present United Nations complex.

Item #23647, $4,400

Acquittal of Printer John Peter Zenger in Colonial New York Establishes Foundation for American Freedom of the Press

[JOHN PETER ZENGER], The Trial of John Peter Zenger, Of New-York, Printer: Who was charged with having printed and published a Libel against the Government; and acquitted. With a Narrative of his Case. To which is now added, being never printed before, The Trial of Mr. William Owen, Bookseller, near Temple-Bar, Who was also Charged with the Publication of a Libel against the Government; of which he was honourably acquitted by a Jury of Free-born Englishmen, Citizens of London, 1st ed. London: John Almon, 1765. Three-quarter olive calf, red morocco spine label, stamped in blind and in gilt, over marbled paper-covered boards; some sunning to leather; all edges trimmed. 60 pp., 5 x 8.25 in.

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It is not the cause of a poor printer...it is the cause of liberty.

This volume, printed in London three decades after John Peter Zenger’s trial, illustrates the continuing relevance of his acquittal to the freedom of the press. The volume also includes the story of William Owen, a London bookseller, who had been prosecuted for libel at the request of the House of Commons in 1752. Like Zenger, Owen was also acquitted by a jury.

John Almon, a publisher and bookseller known for his commitment to the freedom of the press, printed the volume as part of his challenge to governmental censorship of the press. In the same year that Almon published this pamphlet, the attorney general prosecuted him for the publication of a pamphlet entitled Juries and Libels, but the prosecution failed.

Item #27745, $3,500

Pennsylvania Deputy Governor Urges General Assembly to Resist French Expansion in North America in Early Stages of the French and Indian War

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Pennsylvania Gazette, October 24, 1754. Newspaper. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin and David Hall. 6 pp., 9¼ x 14½ in.

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This issue of Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette reports the speech of Deputy Governor Morris of Pennsylvania to the General Assembly, urging them to prevent the French and their Native American allies from gaining control of the colony’s western border. The General Assembly responded that they were eager to assist but lacked any “Instructions from the Crown how to conduct ourselves on this important Occasion” and requested a recess until called together again.

Item #22426.07, $1,500

Connecticut Governor’s Proclamation Calling for a Day of Thanksgiving to Commemorate the Defeat of the French in Canada, and the Taking of Quebec

THOMAS FITCH, By the Honourable Thomas Fitch Esq; Governor ... of Connecticut ... A Proclamation for a Public Thanksgiving ... Thursday the sixth day of March next .... New Haven: by James Parker & Company, February 21, 1760. 12 x 14.5 inches.

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Broadside with a woodcut vignette of royal British arms at the top and woodcut initial. Some loss to upper right corner, a few nicks to the left and right margins. Penned inscription on the back.

Reference: Evans 8568; ESTC W34681 (locating only 2 copies)

Item #26605, $6,500

Brown University Holds First Commencement in 1769 - as Rhode Island College

[BROWN UNIVERSITY], Rhode Island College, Broadside, Commencement Exercises, September 7, 1769, Warren, Rhode Island. In Latin.

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Chartered in 1764, Rhode Island College - now Brown University - began in Warren, Rhode Island. The college’s first commencement, held on September 7, 1769, was the only one in Warren. In 1770, the college moved to Providence, and in 1804, the name was changed to Brown University.

This broadside, issued under the authority of the first chancellor, Stephen Hopkins, lists the seven members of the college’s first graduating class: Joseph Belton, Joseph Eaton, William Rogers, Richard Stites, Charles Thompson, James Mitchell Varnum, and William Williams.

The commencement was held at the Baptist Church in Warren. The event’s principal feature was a “Disputatio forensica,” or forensic debate, on the thesis “The Americans, in their present Circumstances, cannot, consistent with good Policy, affect to become an independent State.” According to reporting in The Newport MercurySeptember 11, 1769, James Mitchell Varnum (the future Continental Army General) defended the thesis “by cogent arguments,” and William Williams opposed it “subtilely, but delicately.” The president and graduating students made their opinion evident in their apparel; all were dressed in American manufactures. William Rogers also delivered an oration on benevolence, and Richard Stites gave an oration in Latin on the advantages of liberty and learning. Charles Thompson delivered the valedictory oration.

Item #27380.02, $8,500

Boston Newspaper Publishes Former Governor Hutchinson’s Letters

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, December 11, 1775. Watertown, Massachusetts: Benjamin Edes. 4 pp., 10 x 15¼ in.

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This newspaper features a masthead by noted silversmith and engraver Paul Revere, first used on January 1, 1770. The masthead features an illustration of a seated woman on the right with a laurel wreath on her brow and a lance with a liberty cap in her hand and the shield of Britain at her feet. She is opening the door to a birdcage and releasing a dove. A tree adorns the left side, and a town is visible in the distance. Beneath the image is the epigram, “Containing the freshest Advices, Foreign and Domestic.

This issue publishes a series of letters from Thomas Hutchinson in the late 1760s, demonstrating that Hutchinson had sought the post of governor. The publication of these and other letters by Hutchinson convinced many that he had conspired with Parliament to deprive the American colonists of their rights. Hutchinson left Boston for England in early 1774, and his request for leave was granted. General Thomas Gage replaced him as governor of Massachusetts Bay in May 1774, but Hutchinson’s letters continued, even in December 1775, to be evidence to American patriots that the British sought to strip them of their rights.

Item #27304, $2,500

Continental Congress Declares Independence – on July 2, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. Philadelphia, Pa., R. Aitken, June 1776 [published ca. July 4.] 48 pp., 5¼ x 8¼ in., without fold out map.

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Due to a shortage of paper,The Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum, edited by Thomas Paine, held the June issue past its normal publication date (which would have been July 3rd), allowing time for the last-minute insertion of the actual resolution of Congress declaring independence. The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the only other contemporary publication of the resolution we have found, in their July 2 issue.

Item #26797.99, $35,000

N.Y. “Sons of Freedom” Pull Down Statue of King George III

[Revolutionary War], Large Engraving, “Pulling Down the Statue of George III, By the Sons of Freedom, At the Bowling Green City of New York July 1776,” 34" x 25", uncolored, titled after a painting by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel and engraved by John C. McRae, 1859.

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After the Declaration of Independence was read to the Continental Army in New York on July 9, 1776, a boisterous crowd of soldiers, sailors and citizens headed to the huge gilt lead equestrian statue of King George III which had been installed on Bowling Green only six years earlier. The crowd toppled his Majesty, who then made his first Broadway appearance before being carted to Connecticut. The head was rescued by Tory sympathizers, and later spotted in the home of Lord Townshend. The rest of the King and the horse he rode in on was melted down. In a truly epic burn, Ebenezer Hazard remarked that the redcoats “will probably have melted majesty fired at them.” Indeed they did; the sculpture was used to make 42,088 bullets.

Item #24461, $1,600

For Washington, Hamilton Confirms Receipt of Hessian Troop Movement Intelligence

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, on behalf of General George Washington, to Colonel Charles Stewart, Commissary General of Issues, October 24, 1777, Headquarters [Whitpain Township, Pa]. 1p. with integral address leaf note, “Let the Bearer pass. Tim. Pickering Adjt. Genl.,” 13 x 8¼ in. (open).

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Also see the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding.

Following the punishing battles at Paoli and Germantown, which left Philadelphia vulnerable to British control for the winter, the Continental Army under Washington spent two weeks recovering at Whitpain, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Hamilton was then Washington’s chief staff aide, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, a position he would hold for four years. He played a crucial role in handling much of the General’s correspondence with Congress, state governors, and other military officers.

Item #24375, $35,000

1778 Muster List, Including Rejected African American Recruit

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR; AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS], Autograph Document Signed, Muster Rolls for Norton and Attleboro, Bristol County, Massachusetts. 2 pp., 8¼ x 13 in.

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This rare descriptive list of men enlisted for Continental service from Massachusetts includes an African American who served in the militia. The first page lists eight men belonging to three companies in Colonel John Daggett’s regiment of Massachusetts militia. The list gives each man’s age; height; color of complexion, hair, and eyes; and town. All are from Norton in Bristol County, approximately thirty miles south of Boston. Among the militiamen who were forwarded for Continental service was 26-year-old London Morey, “a Negro,” but according to his military records, he was “rejected” at Fishkill, New York.

The verso contains a tabular list of twenty men recruited from Colonel John Daggett’s militia regiment for nine months’ service in the Continental Army. They were from Attleboro, Easton, and Mansfield. The table lists each man’s company, name, age, height, complexion, eye color, town, and county or country. The last four listed are from France. Several served in the 12th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Col. Gamaliel Bradford.

Item #26532, $4,500

Early Printing of a Bill to Establish the Treasury Department

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser. Newspaper, June 11, 1789 (No. 3233), Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole, including the Bill to establish the Treasury Department, 4 pp., 11 x 18.25 in.

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Excerpt

it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury, to digest and report plans for the improvement and management of the revenue, and for the support of public credit—To prepare and report estimates of the public revenue, and the public expenditures—To superintend the collection of the revenue—To decide on the forms of keeping and stating accounts, and making returns, and to grant, under the limitations herein established, or to be hereafter provided, all warrants for monies to be issued from the Treasury, in pursuance of appropriations by law—To conduct the sale of the lands belonging to the United States, in such manner as shall be by law directed—To make report, and give information to either branch of the Legislature, in person or writing, (as he may be required) respecting all matters referred to him by the Senate or House of Representatives, or which shall appertain to his office, and generally to do or perform all such services, relative to the finances, as he shall be empowered or directed to do and perform.” (p3/c2)

Item #25031, $2,000

Debating the Bill of Rights Amendments in 1789

[BILL OF RIGHTS], The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser. Newspaper, August 22, 1789 (No. 3295). Philadelphia: John Dunlap and David C. Claypoole. 4 pp., 11⅜ x 18¼ in.

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Mr. [Egbert] Benson [of New York] moved that the words ‘but no person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms,’ be struck out. He wished that this humane provision should be left to the wisdom and benevolence of government. It was improper to make it a fundamental in the constitution.”

This issue of the Pennsylvania Packet includes key debates in the House of Representatives on the developing set of amendments that were later ratified as the Bill of Rights. It also prints the Act establishing the War Department.

Item #24831, $7,500

(On Hold) The U.S. Constitution – Very Rare Printing on the Second Day of Publication

[U.S. Constitution], The Pennsylvania Herald, Thursday, September 20, 1787. Philadelphia: William Spotswood. Alexander J. Dallas, editor. 4 pp. 11¾ x 19 inches folded, 23½ x 19 inches opened.

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We are not aware of any other example in private hands, and only six institutions list runs that should include this issue. 

Item #27499, ON HOLD

Alexander Hamilton’s Initial Steps to Create a National Banking System

Alexander Hamilton, Circular Letter Signed as Secretary of the Treasury, “Alexr Hamilton/Secy of the Treasury,” to Stephen Smith Esq., Collector of the Customs for the Port of Machias, Massachusetts [Maine], September 22, 1789, New York, New York. 2 pp., 7¾ in. x 9¼ in.

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Also see the Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the Revolution & Founding

On his 11th day as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton orders Customs Collectors to accept Bank of North America and Bank of New York notes as the equivalent of gold or silver, and hints at forthcoming procedures to guard against counterfeit currency.

“In consequence of arrangements lately taken with the Bank of North America, and the Bank of New York for the accommodation of the Government, I am to inform you that it is my desire that the Notes of those Banks payable either on demand, or at no longer period than Thirty days after their respective dates should be received in payment of the duties, as equivalent to Gold and Silver . . .”

Item #26524, $70,000

George Washington’s First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Gazette of the United States. New York, N.Y., October 7, 1789. 4 pp., In addition to the Thanksgiving Proclamation on page one, this issue also includes: a printing of the Treaty of Fort Harmar between the United States and the Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Chippewa, Pattawatima, and Sac Indian nations (p. 1, col. 2 to p. 2, col. 2). A report from London about an “African Genius” (p. 2, col. 2). And a report on the proceedings of Congress, including an act to suspend part of the Tonnage Duties Act (p. 4 col. 3). 9½ x 14¾ in. Overall fine. Archivally framed.

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“to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.... for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness... for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge”

On September 28, 1789, just before the closing of the First Federal Congress, the Senate added its assent to a House resolution requesting that George Washington be asked to call for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. Later that day, Congress passed the Bill of Rights to be sent to the states for their ratification, and on the next day the first session of the first Federal Congress was adjourned. On Saturday, October 3, Washington issued America’s first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation. The Gazette printed it in full on the first page of this, their next edition, Wednesday October 7th.

Item #23257.99, $45,000
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