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Ben-Gurion to Moshe Sharett on Sharett’s Resignation as Foreign Minister

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, to Moshe Sharett, July 28, 1956, Mount Carmel, Israel. 3 pp., 4½ x 8¼ in.

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I came to recognize that your service as Foreign Minister was not for the good of the country, although I did not cease to value your talents and dedication....

Item #24516, $3,600

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

Two months Before Declaring Israel’s Independence, Ben-Gurion Counters American Backpedaling and Pushes to Start the Temporary Government

DAVID BEN-GURION, Autograph Letter Signed, “D. Ben-Gurion” to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Fishman. March 23, 1948, [Israel]. In Hebrew, 1 P., on The Jewish Agency for Palestine stationary. 8.5 x 11 in.

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“As I was deprived of the possibility of taking part in the meetings of the Executive, I ask to be allowed to appoint a member to be the head of Defence … paragraph ‘C’ should be changed, by way of adding a demand for an immediate agreement that a temporary Government be formulated…”

Item #24454, $10,500

The Only Known Document in Hamilton’s Hand on a Legal Case Involving James Reynolds

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript, c. November 1796, Notes regarding Margaret Currie, administratrix of David Currie v. James Reynolds (scire facias), 2 pp.

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

There was also a prior Judgment against David Reynolds & his son James … but did not return the Execution nor sell till Wednesday the 2d of November, when James Reynolds about 6 Months ago came forward to claim these lands in virtue of a deed from his father prior to Sands mortgage.

In July 1783, James Reynolds married Maria Lewis. From mid-1791 to mid-1792, Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds had an affair. In November 1792, James Reynolds was imprisoned for forgery in a scheme to purchase the pensions and pay claims of Revolutionary War soldiers. Ironically, in May 1793, Maria (represented by Aaron Burr) filed for divorce from James on the grounds of adultery; the court granted the divorce two years later. Here, after Hamilton’s affair was known to James Monroe and very few others, Hamilton was somehow involved in a legal case having to do with James Reynolds just months before news of the scandal exploded.

Item #24624, $30,000

The Second Naturalization Act - Establishing Laws for Citizenship

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; and to repeal the act heretofore passed. January 29, 1795. Philadelphia: Francis Childs. Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives. 2 pp., 8¼ x 13½ in.

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

The Constitution gave Congress the right to determine the process by which foreign-born residents could obtain citizenship, and a 1790 Act of the First Congress laid out the process. This 1795 revision required all persons who wished to become naturalized citizens to go to a court to declare their intention at least three years prior to formal application. They would have to take an oath of allegiance, be a person of good moral character, agree to support the Constitution, and renounce any former sovereign and hereditary titles.

any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise....

By limiting naturalization to “free white” persons, the early acts effectively prevented any people of color or indentured servants from gaining citizenship. Over the next century and a half, these restrictions were at first reinforced (for instance in the notorious Naturalization Act of 1798, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which extended the required residency period to fourteen years), but then eventually eliminated by subsequent revisions.

Item #24428.26, $7,500

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

Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Congress Authorizing Copper Coinage (the First Legal Tender Produced by U.S. Government)

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Printed Document Signed, as Secretary of State, “An Act to provide for a copper coinage,” May 8, 1792, Philadelphia. 1 p., 9⅝ x 15 in.

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That the director of the mint…purchase a quantity of copper...and…cause the copper...to be coined at the mint into cents and half cents...thence to issue into circulation….

That after the expiration of six calendar months from the time when there shall have been paid into the treasury by the said director, in cents and half cents, a sum not less than fifty thousand dollars … no copper coins or pieces whatsoever, except the said cents and half cents, shall pass current as money, or shall be paid, or offered to be paid or received in payment for any debt … and all copper coins or pieces, except the said cents and half cents, which shall be paid or offered to be paid or received in payment contrary to the prohibition aforesaid, shall be forfeited, and every person by whom any of them shall have been so paid … shall also forfeit the sum of ten dollars…”

Item #27505, $235,000

Lyndon B. Johnson Signing Pen for Voting Rights Act of 1965

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, “One of the pens used by the President, August 6, 1965, in signing S. 1564, An Act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes,” per original printed slip in original box. Clear barrel pen, “The President-The Whitehouse” printed in white, with “Esterbrook” on the nib, 6⅜ in. long. With additional artifacts.

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This artifact came from Arnold “Pappy” Noel (1922-2009), a longtime news photographer who at that time was in the Public Affairs Office of the Secretary of Defense. Noel earned his nickname in World War II as a B-29 tail gunner. After the war and his retirement, he joined United Press International as a newsreel and still photographer, filming presidential and White House events, marches on Washington and Selma, fires and riots in Washington and Detroit, and early NASA events. At the 1968 Democratic Convention, he became part of the story when he was injured and arrested for refusing to hand over his film of “excessive abuse of law enforcement agents towards demonstrators.” He was president of the White House Press Photographers Association for two years, leaving the press corps to work as a public affairs assistant to President Ford.

Item #27655, $20,000

FDR’s First Inaugural Address in the Midst of the Great Depression

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Typed Manuscript Signed, ca. May 1935, Washington, DC. 5 pp., 7 x 10½ in. Accompanied by Marguerite “Missy” LeHand, Typed Letter Signed, June 5, 1935, on White House stationery, returning the signed typescript to Mr. Barker.

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the only thing we have to fear is fear itself....

President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his landmark first Inaugural Address at the U.S. Capitol, on March 4, 1933. Many consider the speech to be one of the greatest in American history. On the day of the inauguration, the country was at the lowest point of the worst depression in American history. The banks had closed in thirty-two of the forty-eight states (plus the District of Columbia), unemployment was above 25 percent, farms were failing, and two million people were homeless. The New York Federal Reserve Bank would not be able to open the very next day, as panicky customers had withdrawn huge sums in the previous days. In this context, Roosevelt set forth a positive message addressing the country’s greatest needs: relief, recovery, and reform. His confidence, optimism, and the massive amount of “New Deal” legislation he sent to Congress in the first one hundred days of his administration did much to reassure the American people that better times were on the way.

Item #27122.99, $135,000

George F. Root’s Autograph Sheet Music for “The Battle-Cry of Freedom!”

GEORGE F. ROOT, Autograph Manuscript Signed twice, handwritten music and lyrics for “The Battle-Cry of Freedom.” Root penned this fair copy later, mistakenly dating it 1861, though he composed “Battle Cry” in July 1862. 2 pp., 10¼ x 13⅜ in.

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Yes, we’ll rally round the flag boys! we’ll rally once again, Shouting the Battle-cry of Freedom!… The Union forever! Hurrah boys, Hurrah! Down with the traitor, up with the star! While we Rally round the flag boys, rally once again, Shouting the Battle-cry of Freedom!

Item #27458, $39,000

Declaration-Signer Stephen Hopkins and Former Rival Samuel Ward, Both Representatives of Rhode Island in the Continental Congress, Sign a Joint Letter Twice

STEPHEN HOPKINS and SAMUEL WARD, Fragment of Letter Signed twice by each, to [Rhode Island Governor Nicholas Cooke?], n.d. (ca. October 1775-March 1776), n.p. 2 pp., 7.75 x 12.75 in.

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“Mr. [Henry?]Wards Sentiments & Conduct relative to the Slave Trade are so universally known that it is unnecessary to say anything on that head…. We have therefore no Time to loose but ought to improve every moment in making all possible Preparations for the Defence of the Colonies in general”

This letter from Rhode Island’s delegates to the Second Continental Congress may have been directed to Acting Governor or Governor Nicholas Cooke in late 1775 or early 1776. It discusses the needs of the colonies to defend themselves against British incursions and criticizes a Rhode Islander who refused to support the Revolution.

The shakiness of Hopkins’s signatures is apparent. When he signed the Declaration of Independence, Hopkins said, “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

Item #27380.01, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Thomas Jefferson Pays Import Duty on Famous Louis Chantrot Obelisk Clock

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Manuscript Document Signed, October 17, 1791, [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. 1 p., 8 x 13 in.

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This declaration notes that Thomas Jefferson imported a clock, which arrived in Philadelphia on the ship Minerva from La Havre, France, on October 17, 1791. On May 12, 1792, Jefferson paid the import duty of $7.52 according to the provisions of the Tariff of 1790.

Consisting of a pair of black marble obelisks between which a brass clock was suspended, Jefferson commissioned this in the Spring of 1790 to replace a similar piece stolen from his Paris residence. He later had it mounted on a shelf above the foot of his bed. Susan Stein, the Richard Gilder Senior Curator at Monticello, described the obelisk clock as “arguably one of the most important and interesting objects at Monticello.” After Jefferson’s death, his daughter Martha called it the object “I should have prized beyond anything on earth.”[1] The original clock was passed down through the Jefferson family until it was donated to Monticello in 2016.

This is a rare record of payment of the tariffs that funded the nascent federal government, in effect bringing together Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, in the temporary capital of Philadelphia. Jefferson’s correspondence to William Short arranging for the purchase and delivery of the clock also mentioned obtaining two artists proofs for the Congressional Medal of Honor voted for John Paul Jones, which had yet to be completed.



[1] Martha Jefferson Randolph to her daughter, February 13, 1827, quoted in Sarah Butler Wister and Agnes Irwin, eds., Worthy Women of Our First Century (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1877), 59. Randolph wrote, “The marble clock I should have prized beyond anything on earth, and if, in our circumstances, I had felt myself justifiable in retaining a luxury of that value, that clock, in preference to everything else but the immediate furniture of his bedroom, I should have retained. However, in addition to the loss of the clock, which I regret more bitterly since I know how near we were getting it, let us not alienate so near a relation and friend, who, I dare say, is sorry for it now that it is past.”

Item #27514, $14,000

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

Martin Luther King Jr. Inscribes Stride Toward Freedom to Pioneer Civil Rights Leader A. Philip Randolph

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., Signed Copy of Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, first edition. Inscribed to A. Philip Randolph. With Randolph’s annotations. New York: Harper and Row, 1958. 224 pp.

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To my dear Friend A. Philip Randolph.

     In appreciation of the standards of loyalty, honesty, non-violence, and the will to endure that you have held before all people in the struggle for freedom justice, and democracy.

Martin

A remarkable association of two key leaders of the Civil Rights movement, highlighting not only their similarities but also areas of disagreement. It offers important insights into their views at a critical moment in the fight for African-American equality. King’s book, with a rich personal inscription, was transformed by Randolph into a sort of dialog between them by his copious annotations, making this volume one of if not the most important King-signed book in existence.

Randolph annotated or marked 69 of the volume’s 224 pages. He underlined passages he found particularly powerful, and commented in the margins, echoing or amplifying King’s words.

Item #27430, $245,000

“Black Sam” Fraunces as Steward of George Washington’s Presidential Household

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Samuel Fraunces. Manuscript Document Signed, with the text likely penned by presidential secretary Bartholomew Dandridge Jr., March 10, 1794, Philadelphia, PA. 1 p., 6 x 3¼ in.

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“10th March 1794 recd of Bw Dandridge one hundred & forty six dollars and thirty two cents to purchase sundries for the President’s Household.  146 32/100      Saml Fraunces”

Documents signed by Samuel Fraunces, the famous tavern keeper and steward of George Washington’s presidential households in New York and Philadelphia, are exceptionally rare. During the British occupation of New York, Fraunces had been captured and impressed into the service of British officers. While doing so, he was able to help feed American captives, and was credited with providing information to American troops and preventing an assassination plot against Washington. 

Item #27320, $25,000

Delivering Dunlap Declaration of Independence Broadsides in July 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Owen Biddle. Manuscript Document Signed as member of the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety, July 10, 1776, Philadelphia. Ordering John Nixon of the Committee of Accounts to pay Michael Kuhn “£11..12..6” for his couriers to deliver copies of the Declaration of Independence (Dunlap broadsides) to Chester, Lancaster and Bucks counties, and Potts Grove (in Northumberland County). Docketed on verso. 1 p., 8¼ x 5⅛ in.

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A unique document related to the distribution by courier of Dunlap Declaration of Independence broadsides. John Nixon, to whom this document is directed for payment, was the first person to read the Declaration publicly, on Monday, July 8, before a large crowd in Philadelphia at the State House Yard. He went on to become one of the founders of the Bank of North America, established in 1783.

The Dunlap Declaration that I bought and sold for a couple of million dollars in 1995 is now worth $40 million or more. What will this Pay Order be worth to the buyer of the next one?

Item #27470, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Golda Meir Invites an American Semiconductor Pioneer to an Israeli Economic Conference

GOLDA MEIR, Typed Letter Signed as Prime Minister, to Albert Soffa. Jerusalem, May 29, 1969. 2 pp. 8½ x 11 in. On Israeli Prime Minister letterhead.

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Item #23283, $2,400

Israel’s Declaration of Independence—May 1948

[Israeli Declaration of Independence], Newspaper. Yom ha-Medinah. Jerusalem, May 14, 1948. In Hebrew. 2 pp. 16½ x 22 in., framed to 23½ x 29½ in.

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“The General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution authorizing the establishment of a Jewish state . . . by reason of our natural and historic right, we hereby proclaim the establishment of...the State of Israel.”

Item #25671.05, $5,500

John Binns’ Scarce & Most Decorative Early Declaration of Independence Facsimile (1819)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Engraved Broadside. “In Congress July 4th. 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” [Philadelphia:] John Binns, 1819. Text designed and engraved by Charles H. Parker, facsimiles of signatures engraved by John Vallance of the firm of Tanner, Vallance, Kearny & Co. Ornamental border, drawn by George Bridport, incorporated the seals of the thirteen original states after Thomas Sully, engraved by George Murray. Medallion portraits of Washington (after Gilbert Stuart, 1795), Jefferson (after Bass Otis, 1816), and Hancock (after John Singleton Copley, 1765), were engraved by James Barton Longacre. Printed by James Porter. 27½ x 36 in.

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Historical Background
In 1816, the publisher John Binns was the first to announce plans to publish a decorative broadside of the Declaration of Independence, to be sold by subscription for $10 each. The project was completed in 1819, by which time four others had already imitated the idea and issued less ornate and less expensive copies, including a pirated copy of the Binns. Binns later said that his publication cost him $9,000, an astonishing amount at that time.

In a prospectus accompanying an incomplete state of the print submitted for copyright on November 4, 1818, Binns describes the work: “The Design in imitation of Bas Relief, will encircle the Declaration as a cordon of honor, surmounted by the Arms of the United States. Immediately underneath the arms, will be a large medallion portrait of General George Washington, supported by cornucopias, and embellished with spears, flags, and other Military trophies and emblems. On the one side of this medallion portrait, will be a similar portrait of John Hancock,...and on the other, a portrait of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. The arms of ‘The Thirteen United States’ in medallion, united by wreaths of olive leaves, will form the remainder of the cordon, which will be further enriched by some of the characteristic productions of the United States; such as the Tobacco and Indigo plants, the Cotton Shrub, Rice &c. The facsimiles will be engraved by Mr. Vallance, who will execute the important part of the publication at the City of Washington, where, by permission of the Secretary of State, he will have the original signatures constantly under his eye.”

The Binns broadside bears an engraved facsimile attestation to the accuracy of the document by John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, from April 19, 1819: “I certify, that this is a Correct copy of the original Declaration of Independence, deposited at this Department; and that I have compared all the signatures with those of the original, and have found them Exact Imitations.

Despite the competition, Binns’ print remains the best decorative reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. Binns wanted to have his copy adopted as official, and one was displayed in the House of Representatives. For political reasons—and perhaps because Binns failed to include an engraving of John Adams—John Quincy Adams soon after commissioned William J. Stone to make an exact facsimile in 1823.

The Library Company of Philadelphia owns the original copper printing plate for this print.

Item #27257, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Theodore Roosevelt, Furious with Cuba's "Pointless" 1906 Revolution

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to Henry White, September 13, 1906, Oyster Bay, New York. Autograph Endorsement as Postscript. On “The White House” letterhead. 3 pp., 8 x 10¼ in.

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Just at the moment I am so angry with that infernal little Cuban republic that I would like to wipe its people off the face of the earth. All we have wanted from them was that they would behave themselves and be prosperous and happy … they have started an utterly unjustifiable and pointless revolution and may get things into such a snarl that we have no alternative save to intervene - which will at once convince the suspicious idiots in South America that we do wish to interfere after all, and perhaps have some land-hunger!...”

This “Confidential” letter brims with significant content, as Roosevelt comments on hunting, disarmament, the Cuban Revolution, and the American voter. He expressed particular frustration at the inability of the new Cuban Republic to maintain a legitimate democracy. In September 1905, candidate Tomás Estrada Palma and his party rigged the Cuban presidential election to ensure his victory over liberal candidate José Miguel Gómez. The liberals revolted in August 1906, leading to the collapse of Estrada Palma’s government the following month, and to U.S. military and political intervention.

Item #27311, $12,500
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