Skip to comments.Soldier Auctions Rare, First Edition Copy of Historic 1788 Book
Posted on 06/15/2009 1:33:28 PM PDT by Freeport
INDIANAPOLIS A rare leather-bound book that played an influential role in America's early history could bring a windfall for a soldier training for his second tour in Iraq.
Indiana National Guard Capt. Nathan Harlan was a high school junior when he paid $7 for a 1788 first edition of volume one of "The Federalist" a two-volume book of essays calling for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Harlan, a 35-year-old from Granger, Ind., said he always thought his find might be worth about $500, not the thousands it could fetch when it's sold online Tuesday by Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas.
"I'm really hoping it goes for $100,000, but I'm not holding my breath," he said, chuckling.
The divorced father of three was 16 when he bought the 227-page book in 1990 after his mother spotted it among book stacks as they browsed at a South Bend, Ind., flea market.
Harlan's high school history class happened to be discussing "The Federalist" also known as "The Federalist Papers" that same week, so he knew the book was special.
The two-volume set was published months after the Constitution was drafted in September 1787 in Philadelphia. Its collected essays helped rally support for ratifying the document that provided the federal government's framework, said Mark Dimunation, chief of the rare book and special collections division at The Library of Congress.
The essays were penned by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, all of whom used the same pseudonym to focus attention on their pro-ratification arguments.
"It's one of the great political documents to come out of America," Dimunation said. "And the favorite parlor game of the late 18th century was who wrote which essay."
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
> I bet that flea market vendor is kicking themselves in the head. Who sells a 1788 first edition of any book for $7?<
There was a true story about a person who was “accidentally” sold a copy of the Declaration of the Independence in a flea market as well, so if it’s your day...
I just found this online for sale for $32,000
FIRST EDITION. [HAMILTON, Alexander and MADISON, James]. Federalist Essays. IN: New-York Packet. No. 779. New York, Tuesday, February 26, 1788.
Folio tabloid sheet, measuring 11 by 18 inches folded. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $32,000.
Exceptional first printing of Federalist Papers essay, Number 60, appearing for the first time alongside a scarce second printing of its companion essay Number 59 (respectively renumbered 61 & 60 in their first collected book publication of May 1788)Alexander’s Hamilton’s concluding seminal thoughts on Congress’s regulation of its elections, published under the pseudonym of “Publius” in the February 1788 printing of The New-York Packet.
This extremely scarce February 26, 1788 edition of The New-York Packet contains the momentous first printing of the key concluding essay in Alexander Hamilton’s foundational series on elections in the Federalist Papers-”a literary and political masterpiece”printed here for the first time alongside that three-part series’ second essay, Number 59, which appears here only three days after its initial publication in New York’s Independent Journal.
Writing as “Publius,” Hamilton offers his final thoughts on a subject he introduced one week earlieralso in The New-York Packetthat of the power of Congress “to regulate, in the last resort, the election of its own members” (Chernow, 249). Significantly it was Hamilton who “invited his fellow New Yorker John Jay and James Madison, a Virginian, to join him in writing the series of essays published as The Federalist to meet the immediate need of convincing the reluctant New York State electorate of the necessity of ratifying the newly proposed Constitution of the United States.
The 85 essays were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this, The Federalist survives as one of the new nation’s most important contributions to the theory of government” (PMM, 234). The Federalist “exerted a powerful influence in procuring the adoption of the Federal Constitution, not only in New York but in the other states.
There is probably no work in so small a compass that contains so much valuable political information. The true principles of a republican form of government are here unfolded with great clearness and simplicity” (Church 1230). It is a work that remains “the most thorough and brilliant explication of the Federal Constitution (or any other constitution) ever written” (Smith, 263-4).
The achievement of Hamilton, Madison and Jay “is the more astonishing for having been written under such fierce deadline pressure [Hamilton’s close friend] Robert Troup remembered seeing Samuel Loudon [publisher of The New-York Packet] ‘in Hamilton’s study, waiting to take numbers of The Federalist as they came fresh from’ his pen ‘in order to publish them in the next paper’” (Chernow, 249, 264). “A generation passed before it was recognized that these essays by the principal author of the Constitution and its brilliant advocate were the most authoritative interpretation of the Constitution as drafted by the Convention of 1787
The influence of the Federalist has been profound” (Grolier 100 American 56). “The first number of the Federalist appeared in the New York Independent Journal on October 27, 1787.
Subsequent essays were published at various intervals in the Independent Journal, the New-York Packet, the New York Daily Advertiser and the New-York Journal’ (Crane, William & Mary Quarterly, 589), followed by scattered publication “in only a dozen papers outside of New York” (Chernow, 261).
“All of The Federalist Papers essays first appeared in The Independent Journal or The New-York Packet [Both] carried the entire series of ess.
It could be that Janet Napolitano considers possession of such a book highly suspicious, like possesion of a pocket Constitution. Best to dispense of it quietly.
I would think it would go for more than that
What until he gets the tax bill.
There was another one recently about a volunteer who noticed an original painting among the stuff at a thrift store. It was appraised and set for auction, possibly for over $100,000, which will go to the store. It happens.
As the generation gap divides elderly people who appreciated antiquities and young people who grew up on MTV, I think there will be a lot more unrealized treasures found in the Goodwill shop.
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