A John Wilkes Booth Autograph is $30,000+ at NateDSanders.com Auctions
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John Wilkes Booth Autograph
Usually autograph collectors shy away from collecting autograph of the infamous. Would you like a Charles Manson autograph? Hell no. Would you collect paintings from John Wayne Gacy or letters from Jeffrey Dahmer? That is disgusting. But, mention the murderers of Presidents and the pocket books open wide and the criminals are greeted into a collector’s collection with open arms. Take a John Wilkes Booth autograph, where we have sold three. He is the most expensive of a U.S. President assassin, with Lee Harvey Oswald coming in at about half of the value of a John Wilkes Booth autograph. Here are the three John Wilkes Booth autograph items that we have sold at (http://www.NateDSanders.com):
An incredible four-line verse in the hand of John Wilkes Booth autograph, “J. Wilkes Booth.” The verse is written on an envelope dated “Washington D. C., 5 March 1865,” measuring 3.25″ x 6.25″. The envelope also has inscriptions by three other hands. Booth’s document signed poetic verse reads: “Now in this hour that we part,/ I will ask to be forgotten never/ But, in thy pure and guileless heart,/ Consider me thy friend dear Eva.” The text appears on the verso of the envelope on the inside of the flap. Experts are aware of approximately 300 letters that Booth wrote. After he killed Lincoln, the people who received these letters burnt them for fear they would be linked to Booth. It is estimated that only 17 Booth letters remain in private hands. Sometime in late 1864 or early 1865, Booth entered into a serious romance with Lucy Lambert Hale, daughter of John Parker Hale, New Hampshire’s former abolitionist senator. By March, Booth was secretly engaged to Lucy Hale. On March 4th, he attended Lincoln’s second inauguration as the invited guest of Lucy. It is tempting to consider that this envelope brings us into one of the periodic meetings between the conspirators planning to kidnap or assassinate the President. They gathered in Booth’s hotel room sharing a bottle of whiskey, discussing the fate of the Confederacy, and here, expressing a regretful sentiment. Booth is known to have confided to his actor friend Samuel Knapp Chester, “What an excellent chance I had to kill the President, if I had wished, on inauguration day!” (Chester testified at the Conspiracy Trial that this conversation took place at a table at the House of Lords saloon in New York City.) Beneath Booth’s verse is inscribed, in another hand “For of all sad words from tongue or pen/ the saddest are these – it might have been,” a quotation from John Greenleaf Whittier’s Maud Muller. Beside the quote is the date “March 5, 1865 In John’s room,” referring to Booth’s room at the National Hotel in Washington D.C. On the recto, in a third hand, are two lines of docketing “Jno Conness MSS” perhaps referring to Senator John Conness of California. Beneath this notation is a 3-line inscription from Whittier’s poem “Remembrance” which reads, “Touched by change have all things been/ Yet I think of thee as when/ We had speech of lip and pen.” And, in the same hand is the sentiment: “The above, though quoted, are the real sentiments of your friend, who trusts that the acquaintance and friendship formed will never be forgotten by either.” Signed “Jno P. M. W.” A rare John Wilkes Booth autograph item. Sold for $32,500.
John Wilkes Booth autograph hotel register. Single page measures 8″ x 6.5″. John Wilkes Booth writes his name and place of residence “J Wilkes Booth, Baltimore” neatly on a piece of hotel register leaf and pasted to a board above three other clipped entries from the same register including Col. Nelson A. Miles, Gen. Joseph Hooker, and “Abraham Lincoln,” in an aide’s hand, as well as the date “Wednesday 20th May 1863.” Upon his arrival in Washington in April of 1863, John Wilkes Booth was the darling of Washington, D.C., then known as Washington City. He was heralded for his realistic portrayals and the young actor was dubbed the “Darling of the Gods” and “The Pride of the American People.” He appeared in the city for seven performances including roles as Richard III and Hamlet. The press heaped praise on him declaring his Romeo to be the best ever played in that city. Contemporary accounts even mention President Lincoln present the night of Booth’s Washington debut on April 11. These register clippings came from a register maintained at the National Hotel, located only a few blocks from the White House, and one of the top hotels of the city. President Lincoln frequently visited the hotel to confer with military leaders and gave a stirring anti-slavery speech from the hotel balcony. John Wilkes Booth also stayed at this hotel when in Washington, most infamously during the days leading to the assassination. Booth’s signature is considered to be one of the rarest of all American autographs. This incredible document is the only existing relic unequivocally placing John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln in the same hotel, only days apart, and is worthy of inclusion in the finest collections of Civil War Americana. Nice John Wilkes Booth autograph. Sold for $20,939.
Extremely rare John Wilkes Booth autograph letter signed. Single page, octavo, datelined “Tudor Hall, Aug 8th, 1854,” to Samuel William “Billy” O’Laughlen, brother of Michael O’Laughlen, Jr., conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Booth pens in full: “My Dear Fellow / In these last two weeks, I have had more excitement than I have had for a good while. First, and foremost, I went to a champagne drinking, and you had better believe that the road (home) seemed longer that night than it ever did before. 2dly we had a client [tenant] on the place whom we could not agree with. We had several sprees with him. In one he called my sister a liar. I knocked him down, which made him bleed like a butcher. We got the sheriff to put him off the place. He then warranted me and in a couple of weeks I have to stand trial for assault and battery, as you call it. I paid another visit to the Rocks of Deer Creek the other day. It looks just the same and Sunday I went to that large camp meeting with the hope of seeing you there, but I was disappointed. I saw John Em- there or that fellow that works in your shop. The Indian’s were up here the other day with their great Bear, excuse my bad writing and excuse me also for not writing to you sooner. Give my respects to all who ask after me. I have nothing more to say. Yours For Ever, / John W. Booth / (write soon).” The encounter with the “client” Booth mentions was doubtless the same episode his beloved sister, Asia, recounted in her memoir of the Booth family, “The Unlocked Book.” Their mother, after being widowed, rented the family farmland, stock, and hired slaves to an abusive man who insulted Mrs. Booth and her daughters. Young Wilkes went to redress matters and demand an apology, but ended up breaking a stick over the man’s head. Billy and Michael O’Laughlen were friends of Booth from boyhood, when they were neighbors in Baltimore during the acting family’s intermittent residence in that city. Booth’s signature is considered to be the one of rarest of all American autographs. His handwritten letters are even scarcer as the nation-wide manhunt after Lincoln’s assassination prompted many of those who possessed his papers to destroy them, fearful that they would be implicated in the conspiracy. This is one of his few surviving handwritten letters in private hands, and is revealing in that, aside from some adolescent boasting, touches upon a significant incident from his youth with a fine association. The left margin of the letter has been tipped to a strip of lined paper, with file holes. Minor soiling; otherwise, fine condition. Dark John Wilkes Booth autograph. Sold for $19,194.
To auction, buy, consign or sell a John Wilkes Booth autograph, a John Wilkes Booth autograph document signed or a John Wilkes Booth autograph letter signed, please contact Nate@NateDSanders.com or call (310) 440-2982.