Published: January 29, 2018
KNOXVILLE, TENN — George Washington (1732-1799), founding father, commander-in-chief of colonial forces during the American Revolutionary War and the first president of the United States of America, was the subject of an early “selfie,” a volume signed by him on the top of the title page, which, heavily contested by phone bidders at Case Antiques’ January 27 auction, ultimately was won by an anonymous phone bidder for $138,000, including premium.
The book was actually a bound copy of the first five issues of volume one of The Massachusetts Magazine: or Monthly Museum of Knowledge and Rational Entertainment. Washington signed the title page of Volume I, published by Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer T. Andrews of Boston in 1789. The inside front cover has his armorial bookplate and this book was once in his Mount Vernon library. The front endpaper has an inscription reading “Lewis Minor Coleman, Jr./1911/ Presented by his grandmother M.A.MC. from the library of his great-great-grandfather Chief Justice John Marshall.”
The Massachusetts Magazine, founded in 1789 and published until 1796 by the famous printer Isaiah Thomas, advertised on its title page that it contains “poetry, music, biography, history, physics, geography, morality, criticism, philosophy, mathematics, agriculture, architecture, chemistry, novels, tales, romances, translations, news, marriages, deaths, meteorological observations, etc. etc.”. It was founded at the same time as the nation to act as “a kind of thermometer, by which the genius, taste, literature, history, politics, arts, manners, amusements and improvements of the age and nation, may be ascertained.”
This particular book is important for Washington since it covers the events of 1789 that included his inauguration as the country’s first president.
Watch for a complete review of the sale in an upcoming issue.
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