A Harry Truman Autograph & Harry Truman Memorabilia Price Guide by NateDSanders.com
Harry Truman Memorabilia
We have sold tons of Harry Truman autograph items and lots of key pieces of Harry Truman memorabilia including the hospital wristband he wore when he died with provenance from his daughter (see below). Some of the most historic Harry Truman memorabilia items are the two Harry Truman hats we have sold, his Presidential flag and his rocking chair. For the sale of a Harry Truman autograph, we have sold a Harry Truman autograph regarding the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a Harry Truman autograph on a World War II victory proclamation along with all sorts of great Harry Truman letters signed. Please see below for a bunch of descriptions, pictures and prices of various Harry Truman memorabilia items and Harry Truman autograph items:
President Harry Truman Signs the Original Press Release Announcing the First Use of Atomic Weaponry — “…Hiroshima…may expect a rain of ruin from the air…”
Extremely rare and important document signed by President Harry Truman, publicly announcing the very first use of the nuclear bomb, dropped upon Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. Document signed “Harry Truman” is the press release of Truman’s announcement, the gravest and most controversial decision of his Presidency, perhaps of any 20th century President. Four page press release reads in part, “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam’ which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare. The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development. It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East. Before 1939, it was the accepted belief of scientists that it was theoretically possible to release atomic energy. But no one knew any practical method of doing it. By 1942, however, we knew that the Germans were working feverishly to find a way to add atomic energy to the other engines of war with which they hoped to enslave the world. But they failed. We may be grateful to Providence that the Germans got the V-1’s and the V-2’s late and in limited quantities and even more grateful that they did not get the atomic bomb at all. The battle of the laboratories held fateful risks for us as well as the battles of the air, land and sea, and we have now won the battle of the laboratories as we have won the other battles. Beginning in 1940, before Pearl Harbor, scientific knowledge useful in war was pooled between the United States and Great Britain and many priceless helps to our victories have come from that arrangement. Under that general policy the research on the atomic bomb was begun. With American and British scientists working together we entered the race of discovery against the Germans…We have spent two billion dollars on the greatest scientific gamble in history – and won…What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under high pressure and without failure…We are now prepared to obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war. It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth…It has never been the habit of the scientists of this country or the policy of this Government to withhold from the world scientific knowledge…But under present circumstances it is not intended to divulge the technical processes of production of production or all the military applications, pending further examination of possible methods of protecting us and the rest of the world from the danger of sudden destruction. I shall recommend that the Congress of the United States consider promptly the establishment of an appropriate commission to control the production and use of atomic power within the United States. I shall give further consideration and make further recommendations to the Congress as to how atomic power can become a powerful and forceful influence towards the maintenance of world peace.”
Boldly signed “Harry Truman” on fourth and last page of document which measures 8″ x 12.5″. Some toning, staple mark to upper left corner, folds and small tears to edge. Overall in very good condition, housed in a blue cloth clamshell box. With a typed cover letter signed “S. Tucker” on National Press Club letterhead, presenting the document. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $54,000.
Harry Truman personally owned and worn Stetson hat. Open road style Stetson hat features Truman’s name printed inside the band. Beige hat is near fine. Provenance from Heritage Auctions. A key piece of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $28,734.
Harry Truman’s personally owned rocking chair. Beautifully crafted wooden rocking chair was donated by Mrs. Truman in the fall of 1962 to the Women’s Guild charity sale at the Trinity Episcopal Church, the church where she married the president in 1919. Patterned cushioning is from the chair’s reupholstering in the 1950’s by Jennings Furniture in Independence, according to the Historic Furnishing Report of the Harry S. Truman Home and National Historic Site. Truman was known for making use of his rocking chair, having mentioned it in numerous interviews including one with Edward R. Murrow in which he joked, ”I do an immense amount of it [manual labor] from a rocking chair.” Staining to the upper left of the upper cushion, else near fine. Accompanied by an 8” x 10” notarized LOA, mounted on a wooden plaque, from the charity sale’s chairwoman, Mrs. W. Howard Huffman of Independence, Missouri. A stellar item of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $23,116.
Large Presidential flag from 1948, used by President Harry Truman as he campaigned for re-election and marched in dozens of parades that summer. Used during one of these parades in Michigan, flag has print to hem along right edge, ”President Flag Parade MI 48”. Cloth flag in navy blue features the seal of the President of the United States, made entirely of integral cloth panels in six different colors with decorative stitching. Grommets are built in. Measures a large 75” x 59”. A few small holes, the largest measuring under 2”, else near fine. A rare Presidential item of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $12,500.
President Harry S. Truman’s personally owned and worn classic grey fedora. Hat was originally from the estate of an Australian industrialist and philanthropist, Sir Edward Hallstrom, who reportedly asked Truman for the hat in exchange for an Audubon-inspired drawing gifted to the President by Hallstrom. ”Air-Vac Silver Beaver Fifty” model hat is made by ”Mac Lachlan”. ”President Truman” is written on a label under the band of the fedora. Measures 7.5” in circumference. Also includes a signed magazine photo of Truman wearing a similar hat as he arrives with his family on a vacation to Hawaii. Signed ”Harry S. Truman” above his photo in black ink. Measures 10.25” x 8.75”, with two folds from mailing. Includes original envelope in which the photograph was returned, postmarked 20 October 1953 from Kansas City. Hat is originally from the 1972 estate sale of Sir Edward Hallstrom. Near fine condition overall. An excellent lot of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $9,799.
Exceptionally Scarce Harry Truman WWII Victory Proclamation Signed as President — Gifted to White House Staff in 1945 — in Seldom-Encountered Near Fine Condition
Rare V-E Day proclamation signed “Harry S. Truman” as President. Dated 8 May 1945, printed document formally announces the Victory of Europe and surrender of Nazi Germany. Text reads in part, “The Allied Armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God’s help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The Western World has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will their oppressors could never enslave…” Single-page document is decorated in red, blue and gilt. Measures 14.75″ x 21.75″. Some creasing to upper portion and minor foxing near the bottom edge. Near fine overall. Proclamation is cited in the Seeley reference book as having been issued as a Christmas gift to White House staff in 1945, and one example remains in the collection of the Truman Library. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $9,237.
Exceptional Harry Truman 1945 Typed Letter Signed as President Regarding WWII Strategy — “…there will be no substantial reduction in the weight of the military effort which we must bring to bear upon Japan…”
Compelling Harry Truman typed letter signed as President, dated 29 June 1945 on official White House stationery regarding WWII, specifically the Pacific theater. Just two and a half months into his presidency, Truman writes to Governor Dwight H. Green of Illinois about how best to handle the manpower needs of the nation. Deeply involved in overseeing the execution of the war with Japan, Truman had grave issues to consider the day he wrote this letter, having also approved a secret Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to invade southern Japan at Kyushu with five million troops, most of them American. Fine content letter reads in part: “…Based upon the best information available to me, the production required for the effective prosecution of our war with Japan will continue to present acute manpower problems in many industries and in a substantial number of localities. The emergency which required the unification of our public employment office systems has, therefore, not terminated. As pointed out in my recent report to the Congress on the progress of the war, there will be no substantial reduction in the weight of the military effort which we must bring to bear upon Japan. Nor can there be any relaxation in our effort on the home front and war requirements must continue to have first claim upon our facilities. The flexibility which results from Federal operation of the Employment Service will continue to be indispensable…the dispersal of our present unified public employment office system into 50 separate State and Territorial systems cannot safely be undertaken while we are still engaged in a major war. Very sincerely yours, Harry Truman”. Letter measures 8″ x 10.25″ on two pages. Letter bears a red date/time stamp on the first page at upper right and is near fine. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $9,000.
Harry S. Truman Speech Manuscript
Harry S. Truman autographed manuscript with more than 1,000 words composed in Truman’s own hand. Undated speech manuscript circa 1938 during Truman’s term as U.S. Senator. Extensive 11pp. speech delivered before a meeting of World War I veterans in Larchmont, New York, regarding Truman’s policy and political views in the years prior to Pearl Harbor. A unique glimpse at the future wartime President before he dropped the atomic bomb In part: “…We are a peace loving nation and all of us hate the very thought of war. None of us wants to see another World War in which we are likely to be involved…But we must not close our eyes to the possibility of another war because conditions in Europe have developed to a point, likely to cause an explosion at any time…In the coming struggle between Democracy and Dictatorship, Democracy must be prepared to defend its principals [sic] and its wealth…” The American people “…went rather hysterical on disarmament…after 1918…” Truman continues, “…We refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles [and] did not accept our responsibility as a world power…Andrew Jackson, the fighting old president from Tennessee said, ‘We shall more certainly preserve peace when it is understood that we are prepared for war’…The world knows…” he concludes, “…that we can and will fight for our rights in spite of a small and vociferous pacifist group. The World knows our honorable record in the World War…We fought for liberty and honor, just as we always have and just as we always will when occasion demands it…” 11pp. composed in ink on Biloxi, Mississippi stationery. Punch holes to top edges slightly affect text. An exceptionally rare Truman speech manuscript in excellent condition. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $6,840.
Harry Truman Autograph on a Photo of Him Holding the “Dewey Defeats Truman” Newspaper
United Press international news photo signed by President Harry Truman. Image depicts the President holding a copy of the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” edition of the Chicago Tribune. Photo is signed “Harry S. Truman / To Bob Considine.” Photo taken on 3 November 1948 at a train stop in St. Louis as Truman appeared before the crowd on the train’s back platform. Verso of photo contains stamp from the Harry S. Truman library and identification information taped to the center. Image measures 10″ x 8″. Excellent condition. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $5,514.
Vulcain Cricket Watch From the Estate of President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman estate Vulcain Cricket watch with rubber strap. Engraving on back of face reads, “VULCAIN WATCH CO. – SWISS / STAINLESS STEEL BACK / 305005”, in addition to patent numbers. Vulcain Cricket watches were a personal favorite of Truman’s and every President since has owned one, earning it the name of “Presidential Watch”. In fact, the White House Press Corps gave Truman a new Vulcain Cricket the day he left office in 1953. Rubber strap is tan, but may have initially been white. Currently not running. Face measures 1.25″ in diameter, 8.5″ in overall length. Strap is worn, some rusting to buckle tongue, minor scratching to back of face, in overall very good condition. Originally part of lot 564, Doyle’s Fine Jewelry Auctions on 25 February 2014. A fantastic item of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $4,445.
Spirited autograph letter signed by former President Harry S. Truman to his former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, with Truman expressing his unguarded opinions on the New Deal, the Eisenhower administration and ”professional” politicians. Written from Truman’s post-presidential home in Independence, Missouri upon his personal stationery, 31 October 1958 letter reads in full: ”Dear Dean / You’ll never know how very much I appreciated your letter of Oct 24 from King’s College at Cambridge. There’s no way in the world for you to offend me – even if you’d hit me in the nose. I was very much afraid the offender had been this old man. You know national political approaches are somewhat complicated. Especially is that true in foreign affairs and the touch and soft feelings down south. When we have a Secretary of State whose experience has been in northern Indiana and Michigan State you can see what we are up against to maintain somewhat of a balance for the welfare of the whole country. ‘Professional liberals’ are a pain in the neck to me as are ‘professional conservatives’. To make them understand that the welfare of the whole country and the leadership of the free world is more important than some crazy local idea, is more important & is a chore for honest to god leadership. We just have not had that since 1952. To the so called conservatives high interest rates – make the money lenders more bloated, make the borrowers not only subject to increased fundamental rates, but to commissions and palm grease for the leader — well you can see what happens. The Home Owners Loan Corp. bought out all the busted homeowners in the end with a profit. The Federal Housing adm. gave the small family a chance to own a little farm. The Reconstructive Finance Corp. gave the little business man a chance to run without losing his financial throat cut by a greedy banker when his inventory was too large. Andrew Mellon taught me that lesson in 1922 when he broke me and thousands of others just like me. Now are you bored enough? I get so steamed up when I view what these executive numb skulls have done to a foreign policy that you and I left to them and a domestic policy that took twenty long years of sweat, blood and tears to establish. I hope that Alice will still plead my case in spite of the Irish! How I would like to see you both. Just talked to the ‘Boss’ and she wants to be remembered to both you and Alice. When you want the next spasm just call for it. Sincerely / Harry”. Also included is the typed letter from Acheson to Truman dated 24 October 1958, to which Truman references. 3pp. letter measures 7.25” 10.5”. Staple marks and light toning. Near fine. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $4,028.
Photo of Eisenhower’s presidential inauguration signed by four U.S. Presidents: Eisenhower, Truman, Hoover and Nixon, framed in wood taken from the inauguration stand. Special photo is signed ”Dwight D. Eisenhower” boldly in black across the lower border’s center. Signature is flanked on the right by that of ”Richard Nixon” and on the left by ”Herbert Hoover” and ”Harry Truman”. Image depicts Eisenhower taking the Oath of Office in the presence of the signers; with Hoover as former President, Truman as Ike’s immediate predecessor and Richard Nixon standing by as the new Vice President. Hoover’s face is hidden by Truman in the photo. Matte photo measures approximately 10” x 8” and is framed in wood from the stand. Toning, else near fine. With Provenance from White House Journalist Stephen V. Feeley. Also with a COA from PSA/DNA for all four signatures. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $4,000.
Cup and saucer in the Harry Truman White House pattern, part of the special Exhibit edition used when presidential china is put on display. The Truman pattern was used in the White House from Truman’s administration through the administrations of Eisenhower and Kennedy. Cup and saucer in cream color porcelain feature a border of sage green with embossed gilt bands, gilt rim and gilt handle, with a gilt presidential seal on the cup at 6 o’clock and on the saucer at 12 o’clock. The Lenox White House Exhibit Collection maker’s mark is present to the undersides and dated 1951. Cup measures just over 2” in height and 4” in diameter at the mouth. Saucer measures just over 6” in diameter. An excellent piece of Harry Truman memorabilia. Fine condition. From the Raleigh DeGeer Amyx Collection. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $3,750.
Wooden gavel made from original materials removed from the White House during its reconstruction in 1950 under the Truman administration. Much of the interior was reconstructed over a two year period. Gavel features a plaque engraved: ”Original White House Material / Removed in 1950” with the Great Seal of the United States at center. Measures 10.5” x 3” with a 2” diameter. Very good condition. An very collectible lot of Harry Truman memorabilia. Sold for $3,328.
Harry Truman typed letter signed as President, dated 12 May 1945 on official White House stationery, exactly one month into his presidency. Addressed to friend, ”E.J. Short, Sr., Republic, Missouri”, excellent-content letter reads in full: ”Dear Ed: You don’t know how very much I appreciated your good letter of the fourteenth. I remember very well the various conversations referred to in the letter and I was always fearful that this responsibility would be mine. Now that I have it I will have to meet it. It certainly was a pleasure to hear from you. One of the terrible penalties is that I can no longer be free and friendly with the people I want to be free and friendly with. This is a job that takes all the time a man has but if you come to Washington be sure to let me know and I will be glad to see you. Give my best to Mrs. Short”. Signed ”Harry S. Truman” in black ink. Letter on one page measures 7” x 8.75”. Horizontal fold and minor toning, else near fine. Includes original postmarked White House envelope. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $2,625.
Harry Truman signed photo display as President, also signed by 13 members of his Cabinet and Vice President. Harris & Ewing photograph, dated 25 August 1950, captures Truman in the foreground at a large table surrounded by his cabinet members. Signatures include: Vice President Alben W. Barkley; Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer; Special Assistant to the President W.A. Harriman; Assistant to the President John A. Steelman; Secretary of Labor Maurice J. Tobin; Chairman W. Stuart Symington of the National Security Resources Board; Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannan; Postmaster General J.M. Donaldson; Secretary of Defense Louise Johnson; Secretary of State Dean Acheson; Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder; Attorney General J. Howard McGrath and Secretary of the Interior Oscar L. Chapman. Photograph measures 13” x 8.5”, matted to 16.5” x 11”. Light rippling throughout and dampstaining along right edge of mat, affecting the signatures of McGrath and Chapman. Overall very good condition. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $2,496.
Harry Truman Autograph Note Signed in Bible Book of Psalms — 1957
Harry Truman autograph note signed inside a small book containing the Bible’s “New Testament Psalms”. He gifts it, inscribing the fly-leaf, “To Sharon Schrepfer with a hope that she’ll study this book and therefore have a happy life. Harry Truman – 9/26/57”. Truman, the first Southern Baptist president, praised Americans for their religious tolerance. The 5″ x 3.25″ book has white leather boards with gilt lettering and a satin bookmark with metal cross. A zipper sewn to boards encases the leaves when closed. Original box included. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $2,431.
Extremely Rare Harry S. Truman Hospital Wristband Worn When He Died — With Provenance From Truman’s Daughter
Hospital wristband worn by President Harry S. Truman when he died at Research Hospital in Kansas City 26 December 1972. The 0.5″ wide and 7″ in diameter white wristband has printed on the label, “TRUMAN PRESIDENT HARRY S / W H GRAHAM 19868 745” and has some light ink smearing as well as green rusting surrounding the snap. Provenance includes an inscribed biography of Harry Truman by his daughter Margaret to the security agent at the hospital who received the wristband: “For Roland Eldridge, Good luck and many thanks for being so helpful at Research. Margaret Truman December 1972.” Also included is a letter of authenticity from the previous owner, Tennessee Commissioner John W. Elliott, indicating that he acquired the wristband and book from Independence, Missouri and that the security agent, Roland Eldridge, to whom Margaret gave the book, updated her upon her father’s medical condition from the hospital, since she was in New York at the time. From the December 1972 inscription, it’s apparent that Eldridge received the book before it was released to the public in January 1973. A morbid but historic lot of Harry Truman memorabilia. From our Harry Truman memorabilia auction. Sold for $1,800.
”Chicago Daily Tribune” newspaper dated 3 November 1948 featuring 1.5” banner headline ”DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, the most famous newspaper faux-pas of the 20th century. This complete three-section newspaper is rare as most of the issues were taken off the stands when the Tribune Co. realized its error. Only 2,000 were estimated to have reached private hands and many have disappeared since 1948. Runs 40pp. Very light toning. Tears along right edge and middle fold, else near fine. A rare and very desirable historical issue in very good condition. The most unique piece of Harry Truman memorabilia on the market. Sold for $1,758.