Buy fewer things, but make them the highest quality you can. We give this advice regularly and devote the better part of our time searching out the finest and most interesting manuscripts, ones that cannot be found anywhere else, many of which themselves played a formative role in the chronicles of their times. It is the hunt for these treasures of history that has turned a passion into a business, a passion we enjoy sharing.
Nathan Raab: "Understand quality, and by that, I mean the role of rarity, content, beauty, and importance."
QUALITY DEPENDS DIRECTLY ON AN AUTOGRAPH’S CONTENT OR IMPORTANCE, AND QUALITY DEFINES VALUE. We have decades of experience measuring the caliber of an item’s content or importance, and that assessment is crucial. How can you measure something as subjective as the degree to which these factors are present? We have developed guidelines, and with some common sense added in, we apply them and share them with clients and those interested in this fascinating field.
HOW CAN YOU SPOT A SIGNIFICANT LETTER? It is one in which the writer either tells you something of great interest or significance about himself or a primary field of his endeavor, or provides valuable descriptions or information about an important event.
A letter of George Washington saying he is too busy to accept an invitation to dinner says nothing anyone benefits by knowing, so it has just fair content. A letter of Washington about running his plantation at Mount Vernon would be interesting because it is germane to his life, but since Washington is best remembered for his leadership as general and president (and not as a farmer), it would be considered of good quality. A Revolutionary War date letter of Washington ordering troop movements for a battle has excellent content, as it directly relates to his performance as commander of the Continental Army. This last one also played a role in a historical event of consequence and shows Washington engaged in the duties for which he has become immortal.
Interestingly, in some cases, importance may sometimes exist in the absence of content. For example, a signed pay receipt of Meriwether Lewis would have no content, but if it was for his service during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, it would certainly be important.
Keep these principles in mind, ask yourself to what degree every item you buy meets them, and you will find yourself able to confidently build a wonderful and historical collection.
A Passion for History, an Eye for the Exceptional
THIS IS WHAT SEPARATES THE RAAB COLLECTION. We appreciate not only the manuscript but the history that gave it birth. Every piece we carry has its own story to impart, and we cherish that story and attempt to give it voice.