In the search for history, we find ourselves in some unlikely places. Each day we are contacted by many people who have historical documents and are considering selling them. Many are direct descendants of the recipients of the documents; some inherited them from collectors. And though most pieces arrive at our office via Fedex, not all do.
This week, I traveled to New York Penn Station, waited seated under the board announcing train arrivals from all over the East Coast. A woman dressed in her Sunday best arrived carrying a unique treasure: a famous letter of the elusive Henry David Thoreau, mentioning Walden and tying it to transcendental principles. The piece had been in her family for 2 generations and it was time to sell it.
The week before, I met a man at Philadelphia International Airport. He carried with him a family heirloom: an original appointment of Theodore Roosevelt of his great grandfather to the Rough Riders, signed by a TR as commander of that famed regiment. He had decided to sell this but wanted to hand deliver it.
The search for important treasures takes us all over the country and the world, finding things that have never been seen by the public and others which have been lost to time.