January Fine Autographs Event Opens New Year for RR Auction with Remarkable $1 Million in Sales

by Brooke Kennedy

RR Auction opened 2024 with a selection of 500+ items for the first Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction of the year. 28 categories were featured, with everything from the regality of the royal family to the classic world of rock n’ roll. With this varied collection of items provided by our loyal consignors, RR achieved final results totaling $1,106,354.

Chinese History

Going from the son of farmers to becoming the president of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen’s life was one people wanted to learn more about. Taking it upon himself, he would draft up his autobiography “How China Was Made a Republic.” An annotated English manuscript draft of Sun’s autobiography became the top lot of RR’s Fine Autographs event, selling at a price of $75,625 for its consignor.

Typed English manuscript of Sun Yat-sen’s autobiography, containing handwritten annotations throughout.
Typed English manuscript of Sun Yat-sen’s autobiography, containing his handwritten annotations throughout.

This particular English translation was originally from Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger’s personal collection. Linebarger was an American lawyer and legal adviser to Sun Yat-sen from 1907 to 1925 and to the Chinese Nationalist Government between 1930 and 1937. In an explanatory note, Linebarger’s son, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, gives more insight on the manuscript writing, “this is the carbon copy of Dr. Sun’s autobiography, Sun Wen Hsueh She, in an English translation. The mss. has corrections in the handwriting of Dr. Sun himself, and was presented to my father, Dr. Paul Linebarger. [He] wanted to use it in his biography of Dr. Sun, Sun Yat-sen and the Chinese Republic, but was unable to arrange to do so…To my knowledge, this is the only copy of this English version, which differs radically from the translation by Prof. Hsu…and may very well be a re-working of the materials in the Sun Wen Hsueh She.”

Every page bears annotations in Sun’s hand including a date at the end of the manuscript that reads, “Shanghai, August 12, 1919.” Each correction ranges from small spelling changes to clarifying additions. The manuscript begins by documenting Yat-sen’s early life and ends with his election as provisional president.

“An election was held at Nanking b[y] representatives from [the eighteen] provinces and I was elected Provisional President,” he writes. “On January 1, 1912 I took my oath of inauguration.”

Greatest Hits

Avid Bob Dylan fans will be familiar with ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ Sold for $53,625, Dylan penned the lyrics of his famous tune in his distinct hand. The lyrics were accompanied by a letter of authenticity written by Jess Rosen, president of the Bob Dylan Music Company. The song, written for his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, has become one of Dylan’s most performed songs. It graces many of his greatest hits compilations and is often performed during his concerts.

Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ signed and dated at the conclusion, “Bob Dylan, 2013.”
Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ signed and dated at the conclusion, “Bob Dylan, 2013.”

Jimi Hendrix also covered the song for the album Electric Ladyland, further popularizing the great hit. When talking of his cover, Dylan said: “I liked Jimi Hendrix’s record of this and ever since he died I’ve been doing it that way…Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it’s a tribute to him in some kind of way.”

Scribbles and Royals

Not too long before her ascension to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II was a child like any other, though she had no shortage of activities and properties at her disposal. The then-Princess Elizabeth resided at 145 Piccadilly in London, where she could play to her heart’s content in the 5 story building. Sometime during her stay in the luxurious townhouse, Elizabeth created a crayon drawing thought to be her “vision for a new building at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London,” according to Vanity Fair. The building featured a roof with an array of windows topped with a smoking chimney, likely either the Nurses Home completed in 1937 or the Southwood Building that opened in 1938.

Queen Elizabeth II’s early drawing, created when she was just between the ages of four and six years old.
Queen Elizabeth II’s early drawing, created when she was just between the ages of four and six years old.

In addition to being an early piece of art from the future British Monarch, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Duchess of York, wrote a letter and sent the drawing to Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie. In her lengthy letter – which was included as part of the sale – the soon-to-be Queen Mother provides a scathing review of her daughter’s work.

The last page of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s letter to author J. M. Barrie, mentioning Elizabeth’s ‘poor drawing.’
The last page of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s letter to author J. M. Barrie, mentioning Elizabeth’s ‘poor drawing.’

“Elizabeth insisted on putting in a roof with lots of little windows for the nursery maids…I hope that this very poor drawing may be of some little use.” People Magazine also reported that she wished their correspondence to remain private writing in a postscript, “if you can manage it, will you not let the Press photograph this.”

Barrie, who became a celebrity after the publication of Peter Pan, already had close ties to the Royal Family having been made a baronet by King George V and a member of the Order of Merit. He first met the princesses while they were holidaying in Glamis Castle. Barrie remained close with the young royals, even attending Margaret’s third birthday party in 1933. She especially declared of Barrie, “he is my greatest friend, and I am his greatest friend,” a quote that would find its way into his 1936 play, The Boy David.

Despite her mother’s brutal comment, this drawing and letter connecting the young future Queen to one of England’s acclaimed scribes earned a final auction price of $6,970.

RR Auction had a great start to 2024, and we’re looking forward to another year of great sales. See any numbers you liked? Sell your items in RR Auction’s upcoming events including Space and Aviation in April, May’s Marvels of Modern Music auction, and our Steve Jobs and Apple sale. To inquire about selling your items you can hit the button below for a free auction estimate or speak with one of our professionals at 800-937-3880. We hope you’ll join us in another year of making history selling history.

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