Military orders for Battle of Bunker Hill realize $22,050


An original, two-page military document issuing direct orders by the Commanding General of the American Forces in the days immediately preceding the famous Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, sold for $22,050 in a mail bid and Internet sale held August 25 by Early American History Auctions (www.EarlyAmerican.com).


[USPRwire, Thu Sep 13 2007] An original, two-page military document issuing direct orders by the Commanding General of the American Forces in the days immediately preceding the famous Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, sold for $22,050 in a mail bid and Internet sale held August 25 by Early American History Auctions (www.EarlyAmerican.com). All prices include an 18% buyer's premium.
The document is dated June 14-16, 1775, and contains regimental orders from General Artemus Ward, the Commander of the American and Continental and Patriot Militias at Cambridge (outside Boston). The dates are significant, since they coincide with the official founding of the United State Army by the Continental Congress. June 14th has forever since been celebrated as Flag Day here.
“This document was one of our favorite lots of the sale,” remarked Dana Linett, president of Early American History Auctions. “The winning bidder was a woman who bought it as a gift for her husband's collection. I'm sure he was very pleased. It's a true piece of American history.” Mr. Linett added the sale was “our most heavily bid-on auction of the year. Most lots exceeded their estimates.”
In other highlights:
The top lot of the sale was a 1694 Carolina Elephant Token, PCGS graded Very Fine-30, that crossed the block at $25,960. The piece was able to soar past the high estimate of $24,000 by its great condition, but also because of its rarity: on the side that says “God Preserve Carolina The Lord's Proprietor, 1694,” the “O” is over the “E” in 'Proprietor.' An elephant is clearly visible on the obverse.
The biggest surprises of the sale was an 1860 ferrotype portrait pin of Abraham Lincoln – beardless – in choice near mint condition. The pin was expected to fetch no more than $1,800, but a pair of determined bidders drove the final gavel price to an astounding $12,980. The pin featured a sharp, clean image of Lincoln from his first presidential campaign, in an elegant, gilt brass oval frame.
An oil-on-canvas painting that served as cover art for the auction catalog, titled “President Jefferson and His Cabinet, 1801,” unsigned and in choice extremely fine condition, realized $11,800. Depicted in the 26” x 45.5” painting are President Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, Secretary of State James Madison and other cabinet members, in an ornate, carved, gold-painted wooden frame.
A rare 5-cent Drink Sands Ale key encased postage merchant stamp, in choice extremely fine condition and one of only perhaps 10 in existence, soared to $10,620. The 5-cent denomination is the only one available to collectors. Others have been lost over time as to question their very existence. The example purchased was in excellent shape, with Thomas Jefferson clearly depicted on the obverse.
A valuable collection of Morgan and Peace silver dollars, 113 coins in all and encased in five Whitman folders, hammered for $9,660. The dates range from 1878-1935 and include 89 Morgan dollars and a complete set of 24 Peace dollars. Most are in fine to uncirculated condition. The winning bidder got a very good deal; the group was expected to sell for up to $18,000 on the high estimate.
A letter written in 1800 by Daniel Morgan, a Major General of the American Army during the Revolutionary War and a member of Congress, to William Shepard, a fellow Congressman and Major General of Militia from Massachusetts, made $9,187.50. It has become known as the “deathbed letter,” as Morgan wryly writes, “I was happy to read the account of my own death in the newspapers.”
A military order from British General Howe, written out and signed by Col. Johann Gottlieb Rall, a Hessian officer serving with the British during the Revolutionary War, commanded $8,260. The order was penned on December 13, 1776, less than two weeks before Col. Rall's death at the Battle of Trenton on December 26. Rall's signature is quite rare, as he died very early in the war.
A British Colonial Indian Peace Medal for Canada, struck around 1873 and NGC graded Mint State-63, went for $7,962.50. The obverse of the bronze, 76-mm medal depicts a mature, crowned and veiled Queen Victoria, facing left. The reverse shows a British Colonial commissioner shaking hands with a New World Indian Chief, a hatchet buried in the ground between them, and tepees.
An important 1765 Stamp Act pamphlet, titled “The Objections to the Taxation of Our American Colonies,” by the Legislature of Great Britain and printed for J. Wilkie of London, soared to $7,670. The 20-page pamphlet came out at a critical time; the Stamp Act had gone into effect that year, and numerous arguments were being voiced about the measure. The colonies favored self-taxation.
Continental currency dated May 10, 1775, in the amount of $20 changed hands for $7,350. The note was graded by PASS-CO as Extremely Fine-45 and was printed on special “marble border” laid paper, supplied to the Continental Congress by Benjamin Franklin. The note has excellent eye appeal, with well-printed text and sharp designs. The colorful marble border at left measures 2/3-inch.
An English cased set of two flintlock dueling pistols, made around 1800 and converted to percussion in the 1840s, hit the mark at $6,490. Each pistol is 14.5” long, with .65 caliber patent breech octagon barrels and unusual proof marks. An accompanying wooden carrying case has a trade label, showing the pistols as being made by “Henry Holmes, Gun Pistol & Cross Bow Maker, Liverpool.”
A remarkable 25-cent postage stamp envelope (face panel only), in choice crisp/about new condition, sold for a high bid of $6,195. The merchant type stamp reads, “P.D. Braisted, Jr., Billiard Hall, 14 & 16 Fourth Avenue, New York, 25.” Such a stamp was made possible by a measure signed into law in 1862 by President Lincoln, allowing “postage and other stamps” to be used instead of coins.
An extraordinary “Ayer's Sasparilla” 30-cent stamp, one of maybe four known (three are confirmed, a fourth is rumored) and graded choice extremely fine, gaveled for $6,029.80. Not only is the stamp exceedingly rare, it has a very clean overall appearance, with a perfectly centered, rich image of Benjamin Franklin on the obverse side. The reverse reads, “Ayer's Sasparilla, to Purify the Blood.”
Early American History Auction's next big sale is slated for Saturday, November 10 (with eBay Live Auction bids accepted through Sunday, November 11). The company is always accepting quality historical consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call the firm directly, at (858) 759-3290. Or, you can e-mail them at Auctions@EarlyAmercian.com.
To learn more about Early American History Auctions, or for more information on the November 10 sale, you may click on www.EarlyAmerican.com. The company is headquartered in Rancho Santa Fe. Calif., just outside San Diego. It conducts about five or six major sales throughout the year. Smaller sales are also conducted. Two of these have been scheduled for Sept. 6 and Sept. 13.

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