1st of Copley auctions nets $4.1M


Staff Writer

The first of a series of auctions from the James S. Copley Library, held at Sotheby’s in New York, raised a total of more than $4.1 million, according to the auction house’s website.

The collection, accumulated by the former owner of Union-Tribune and Copley Press, was previously housed in the library on Ivanhoe Avenue in La Jolla that was recently bought by venture capitalist Kevin Kinsella.

The initial offering, billed as the “First Selection of Magnificent American Historical Documents from the Copley Library,” included historic papers highlighting “the causes of the American Revolution, from the Stamp Act (lot 63) to George III’s “Proclamation for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition” (lot 64) to the bloody skirmish at Bunker Hill (lot 49). While the celebrated names of the nations founding — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and George Washington-are represented in abundance.”

In addition, another item sold on April 14 — a “July 1776 Congressional Document: Signed by Button Gwinnett” — for $722,500. Button was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The next lots to be sold include a broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence. That sale, slated for June 17, will also feature a collection labeled “Arts & Sciences including The Mark Twain Collection.” On Oct. 15, more historical documents and “The Henry Strachey Papers relating to the American Revolution and the Preliminary Treaty of Paris” will be on the auction block, followed in April 2010 by more historical items and “Delegate John Lansing’s Notes from the 1787 Constitutional Convention.”

In addition to items being sold through Sotheby’s, selected works of art will be auctioned off in the coming months by A.N. Abell Auction Co. in Commerce.

Every Thursday through the fall, Abell said it will offer selections from the collection, including many works by notable Southern California artists including Rex Brandt, Emil Kosa, Roy Mason, Eileen Whitaker, as well as many others; a collection of newspaper broadsheets dating from before the Revolution to the early 20th century; a collection of 19th century newspaper-themed works of art, and a collection of maps.

On June 13, Abell will sell many of the 19th century works of art in the “Fine Art and Antique Sale.”