Published: August 23, 2017
In 1876, a Chicago counterfeit mobster by the name of Big Jim Kennally hatched a plan to spring his best plate engraver out of jail: he would steal President Lincoln’s body from its resting place at the Springfield, Ill., Oak Ridge Cemetery and use it as ransom. With a team of three, including a Chicago Police undercover officer, the whole ordeal went predictably awry. The coffin, made of cedar and lead, proved too heavy for the mobsters. They couldn’t so much as lift it before a deputy’s errant pistol went off outside the tomb and scared them away, only to be arrested days later for their attempt. But if a bunch of hacks could get so close, what was to stop the next thieves? So, the group in charge of overseeing Lincoln’s burial site moved the body to a shallow, unmarked grave in the basement of the tomb under the cover of darkness. Twenty-five years later and after a few more moves, Lincoln was exhumed in 1901 and returned to his original place, without the original lead liner but this time beneath a ten-foot-deep vault, inside of a steel cage and under tons of concrete. The lead liner that was removed was, at some point, made into a run of medals, of which there are only four known. One of them surfaces at Soulis Auctions’ upcoming sale, joining a plethora of other top lots from around the United States in this week’s picks.
Sale Date: August 31, 2017
Medal Struck From The Lead Of Lincoln’s Coffin
“Medal Struck From A Portion Of The Lead Which Lined The Coffin Of Prest. Abrm. Lincoln Assassinated Apl. 15, 1865.” Between 1865 and 1901 Lincoln’s remains were moved on a number of occasions, including after an attempted theft. In September of 1901 the lead liner of the coffin was removed before the coffin was encased in cement and returned to its final resting place. According to a July 2016 Hakes auction, theirs was only the third such relic ever encountered. This one thus being the fourth, and perhaps the only one that has a light impression on the reverse, and trimmed round rather than simply stamped on round or square pieces of lead. 40.8 mm, 19 grams.
Sale Date: September 3, 2017
1909 Ford Model T Towncar
176.7 cubic-inch side-valve L-head four-cylinder engine rated at 22 horsepower, two-speed planetary transmission, solid front and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptical leaf springs, hand-operated rear-wheel mechanical brakes. Wheelbase 100-inches.
Sale Date: September 8, 2017
Engraved Powder Horn Depicting The Siege Of Boston
13 inches long, engraved by Barnabas Webb. On the horn are images associated with the Siege of Boston, including a Royal Navy warship and an unidentified schooner-type vessel typical of the British naval presence at the siege. Also present is a depiction of an American artillery emplacement under the Grand Union flag, in use during the time of the siege. Additional decorations include images of houses and shops, windmills, weather vanes, churches, and extensive floral embellishment. In addition to the scenic artistry, Webb included the patriotic slogan: “Leet All Our Harts United Bee In The Defence Of Liberty” in two lines. The dates of the Siege of Boston are etched under the vessels as well as Barnabas’s name. The base plug is secured with eight wooden pegs.
Sale Date: August 31, 2017
Large KPM Tavern Scene
A large KPM porcelain painted plaque of a tavern scene after Tenniers, circa 1880. Finely painted with male peasant figures smoking in a tavern, signed T. Schmidt to the lower right, impressed K.P.M. beneath a scepter and the letter H. incised on the reverse within an antique giltwood and composite frame. 15 inches high by 20-5/8 inches wide.
Sale Date: September 2-3, 2017
Ward’s Lime Crush Syrup Dispenser
Very nice example with minimal wear. Includes a period pump with no chips with strong color, 12¼ inches high.
Sale Date: September 9, 2017
Ming, A Pair Of Finely Carved Jade Rhinoceros
Standing foursquare with realistic folds in the neck to resemble the thick hide and their iconic horns. 3-1/8 inches high.
Sale Date: September 16, 2017
Johannes Spitler Paint-Decorated Pine Slant Lid Desk
Rare and important paint-decorated pine slant lid desk. Decoration attributed to Johannes Spitler, Shenandoah County, Virginia, circa 1800. Painted central heart flanked by stellate motifs on half-round reserves. Painted all over in shades of red, green blue (now oxidized to black) and chrome orange. Paneled top with molded trim, slant lid supported by tapered wrought iron strap hinges, interior compartment, above a paneled case with molded trim, two lower paneled doors, shelved interior and ogee cutout bracket feet. Original dry scraped surface. Provenance: Sold at Sotheby’s Parke-Bernet, New York, “Fine Americana Auction,” February 1-4, 1978. Lot 1259. 36¾ inches high.
Sale Date: September 12, 2017
A Fine And Very Rare Chinese Imperial Hunting Knife With Enameled Gold And Silver Sheath
Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period, circa 1735–96, knife 10¾ inches long. The hunting knife having lapis lazuli and pure white jade-mounted hilt, bolster fitted with collar inset with turquoise, coral and lapis cabochons, gilded blade having spine inset with gold wire Qianlong Nianzhi mark, sheath decorated with various cabochon mounts to upper collar, body with stippled ground interspersed with green enamel flourishes, silver midsection decorated in blue enamel and repoussé foliate and floral pattern, terminating with lotus bud.
Sale Date: September 8–10, 2017
American Flag Flown At The D-Day Landings In Normandy
Historic and well-documented World War II American flag flown on the USS LCI(L)-421 at the D-Day landing on Gold Beach in the morning hours of June 6, 1944.
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