A Great Collection

Building a Great Collection

Assembling a collection that spans the test of time requires an eye for the significant. This means knowledge of the history and an ability to spot the more uncommon documents. This post contains a sampling of new pieces for sale on www.raabcollection.com which all came from one collection. This is diverse material that shows the scope of an important collection and is a good guide for today’s collector. We felt it would be helpful to our clients putting together similar collections to showcase the product of this decades long effort.

The collection contains some great letters, including:

A Washington ALS as President from his files in Mount Vernon, ex-ASW Rosenbach, the great early 20th century book and manuscript dealer – A Thomas Jefferson ALS as President to Benjamin Franklin’s grandson sending him to establish an American presence in Louisiana before the French arrive to take possession


A letter of Abraham Lincoln praising a man’s patriotismAn important letter of Zachary Taylor as President, among the best such pieces to appear – A eulogy of Henry Ward Beecher by President Grover ClevelandAn ALS with good content of Jimmy Carter as President, one of only 7 known to have come to the market – A Frank Lloyd Wright letter about the controversy within architecture between his school and the modernists.


He also looked for truly great and momentous documents, such as:

John Adams’ appointment of the Governor of the Northwest Territory


Richard Nixon’s appointment of Henry Cabot Lodge to negotiate an end of the Vietnam War

Abraham Lincoln’s pardon of an African American, one of only three such civil documents known to have been issued

Andrew Jackson’s authorization of an Indian expulsion treaty, one of only a small handful known to have survived.

Document signed as President by James Garfield, among the more beautiful you will find.A complete signed first inaugural address by Ronald Reagan.  It was this speech in which he attacked the size of government in such memorable terms. “Government is the problem.”

He looked for things that were not only historically important but that showed you a personal and compelling side of the figure, such as:

A private communique from President John Tyler to his Secretary of the Treasury seeking to resolve a personal dispute, and a letter of President Fillmore commenting on which portrait bears his strongest likeness.  Or consider a letter of President Monroe showing that when he made a decision, the buck stopped at his desk.  When he bought a Benjamin Harrison letter, he found one showing the emotion of the President about his dying wife.  When he bought a Buchanan document, it related to the death of the Empress Dowager of Russia, where Buchanan had served.  He bought a good content ALS of William Henry Harrison during the Presidential Campaign.


This reinforces a message we continually pass on.  Look for the interesting, the important, the compelling, and pieces with a story to tell, and focus on things that speak to you.  Not only then will you be buying material you love; but it will speak to future generations.

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