The following are just a few examples of the autograph treasures we have sold and/or had professionally conserved. For more than 20 years we have worked with the firm of Vern Stein Fine Art in the professional preservation of autographs, letters and photographs.
A Sampling of Sold Items Professionally Conserved
CABRINI, M.S.C., Saint (Mother) Frances Xavier (1850-1917)
Italian-born foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; hospital administrator. Tireless advocate for immigrants and the sick. By the time of her death, Mother Cabrini had founded 67 missionary institutions around the world.
TLS – Typewritten Letter Signed; two sides of a letter sheet; Buenos Aires, 1908. Lengthy letter addressed to Commendatore Carlo Leone Reynaudi (1845-1926), a distinguished military officer who, among other posts, served as Director General for Personnel and Military Services of the Ministry of the Marina and Commissioner-General for Immigration. Letter is professionally-matted in rich chocolate brown board (for two-sided viewing), accompanied by a 8”x10” color portrait of St. Frances Cabrini printed on linen stock. Encased in museum conservation glass and gilt wood. Letter reads:
A.M.C.SS.C.J., Buenos Ayres, 14 March 1908, Calle Belgrano 852. Most Illustrious Commendatore: In just a little over three days it will be your name (feast) day but the great distance that separates me from Rome makes it necessary to put to you in writing my wishes that are offered in the spirit of the great day of Saint Leo. I hope that this letter, sent by fast steam ship, will reach you that day as a faithful sign of my feelings of gratitude for you and of the wishes that inspire me to write.
How could I not wish you everything good when I owe you so much? At this point I can’t even begin to count the gestures of kindness you have shown for our work. I wish that for every one of them the Lord sends a hundred fold benedictions, that bring you the purest joy, health and happiness.
I accompany these wishes with the most fervent prayer, since I expect the fulfillment of them to only come from Him to who rules everything and who distributes all good things.
I hear from my sisters in Rome that the Commissioner of Vigilence of the Parliament declared itself to be in favor of the loan for the Columbus Hospital in Chicago. Here is a new favor as coming from your kindness, sure that I owe this excellent result to your recommendations and influence. Now it is up to you, Commendatore, to fix the interest rate and I hope that it will be no more than one or two percent.
Let me remind you that, next June, will expire the loan of 300,000 lire which is insured with a mortgage on the hospital. I would like to pay it with the loan from the Commissariato to spare the long negotiations and the heavy costs needed to obtain a new loan from a bank, even for a short time. Therefore, if you were able to have the amount sent immediately to me, please be so kind to warn my sisters in Rome so they will telegraph a message to me giving complete assurances of the loan and specifying the date when I will be able to obtain the money. I know I am being a nuisance but I’m sure you understand that in these affairs one must operate on a secure basis to avoid to be empty handed at the end which would be a real disaster.
I recommend to your attention, once again, the hospital in New York. See if you can obtain the extraordinary subvention for its enlargement. The needs of our Italian fellow-citizens in that city are more and more urgent. And not to mention the other missions that I recommend to you before I left, nor in Buenos Aires, because I believe at this point you will, indeed, have done something for everyone! Rather, I thank you with all my heart and please forgive me if I continuously take advantage of your kindness. In bothering you, I feel that the Lord is taking upon Himself my debts toward you and that without doubt He will pay them back with that royal munificence that is His own.
Now I realize, too late, that I started this letter with wishes and it ended up like a business letter. I don’t think this agrees very much with the rules of etiquette. But the two things, if considered by a certain point of view, match very well.
You know, my most Illustrious Commendatore, that I wish you everything good, long years of life and good health. I hope you are not sorry that I give you a most effective way to obtain all of those blessings. Helping the poor immigrants you only ensure that you and your family receive the most noble graces of the good Lord and all the happiness your good soul deserves.
Take care of your health, which is valued by many, please remember me to your kind wife and I remain with true esteem and gratitude, yours most devoted in the Sacred Heart of Jesus…
Over the years many splendid autograph treasures have crossed our desk: papal bulls and breves from Leo X to St. John Paul II; letters of St. Charles Cardinal Borromeo, St. John Bosco and Saint John XXIII, to name a few. We have sold important letters of cardinals such as Farnese, Barberini, Medici, Maria del Monte, Merry dal Val, etc. This two page letter, with excellent content, is one of the finest religious artifacts we have ever offered.
Escriva de Balaguer, Josemaria (1902 – 75)
Saint-founder of Opus Dei, an organization of laypeople and priests dedicated to the teaching that everyone is called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity.
Autograph Note Signed – Extremely uncommon four-line note signed simply Padre Mariano (circa 1959). A warm greeting sent to a high school student in Maryland. Reads: A big hug and for you and the others there, with the warmest congratulations from your Father, Marianno. Professionally matted in linen board along with a color giclee portrait of the contemporary saint.
Wilde, Oscar (1854 – 1900)
Celebrated Irish writer, poet, lecturer and raconteur
Autograph Note Signed – A few words in the penciled handwriting of Oscar Wilde, including his signature. Written circa the time he was lodged in the Hotel d’Alsace (L’Hotel), Paris. Professionally matted in rich plum suede matboard along with a 5”x7” litho print of an original drawing of Wilde and a set of Irish commemorative stamps. Encased in museum conservation glass and a high-end, gilt wooden frame.
Paul VI, Blessed Pope (1897 – 1978)
Pope from 1963 to 1978. Former cardinal archbishop of Milan. For many years he was substitute secretary of state in the Vatican. A pivotal figure in the Roman Catholic Church of the 21st century.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1956, as cardinal-archbishop of Milan. Penned on his official stationery. Addressed to a professor concerning the local seminary and a large donation to assist many charities of the archdiocese. Professionally matted in red red moire fabric along with a formal color portrait and a bronze medallion. Encased in museum conservation glass and high-end gilt wooden frame. An outstanding autograph display piece.
Mantle, Mickey (1931 – 95)
Celebrated American professional baseball player, often referred to as Commerce Comet or simply the Mick. He was a Major League Baseball (MLB) centerfielder and first baseman for the New York Yankees for 18 seasons, from 1951 through 1968. Mantle is regarded by many to be the greatest switch hitter of all time, and one of the greatest players in baseball history. Mantle was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Signed Photograph – Handsome 8’x10″” color glossy action shot boldly signed in blue marker pen (comes with third-party authentication). Professionally matted in an interesting baseball jersey motif board along with a wool emblem and TOPS trader card. Encased in museum conservation glass and royal blue wood frame.”
Clement XIII, Pope (1652 – 1740)
Clement XIII born Lorenzo Corsini, was the head of the Catholic Church from 1730-40. He was the son of the Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabells Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo. Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial genius under preceding popes. He is known for building the new facade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Lterano, beginning construction of the Revi Fountain, and the purchase of Cardinal Alessandro Albani’s collection of antiquities for the papal gallery.
Letter Signed as Lorenzo Cardinal Corsini, addressed to Cosimo III de’Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, recommending a notable Signore Orazio Grandi for an important governmental post. Professionally matted in rich ecru fabric along with a 5″”x7″” color giclee portrait of Clement XIII. Encased in museum conservation glass and a gilt wood frame.
Newman, (Blessed) John Henry Cardinal (1801 – 90)
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman was an important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century; a celebrated convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism; author of numerous books and hymns.
ANS – Important Autograph Note Signed, February 1850. Cites one of his ongoing manuscripts and speaks of his religious community, the Birmingham Oratory. Highly significant document. Professioally double-matted in rich leatherette board along with a color giclee portrait of Newman in old age set with a quotation accomplished in hand calligraphy. Brilliant display piece.
Borromeo, St. Charles Cardinal (1538 – 84)
Italian cardinal-archbishop of Milan and saint. One of the greatest church reformers of the 16th century.
Letter Signed – one page with address panel bearing blind embossed wax seal. Dated 4 August 1567 (signed by Borromeo). Addressed to Cesare Gambara (1548-91) bishop of Tortona. Concerns the recent death of Scipione d’Este, bishop of Casale Monferrato (died 1567). Reads: To the most reverend as a brother. It was pleasing to God to call Monsignor Scipione da Este, Bishop of Casale to the other life, which the civar of that church tells me with much commendation of the life lived and of the passing of this bishop. Upon this notice I have hurried to write to your lordship with this chapter not being able to afford to send men, and not knowing by which means to send a secure letter. As I have not wanted to miss the occasion to observe the episcopal funeral in the second part of our provincial council, the decree by which is certain that you execute discreetly, and not leave any lack of charity or readiness. May the Lord give this soul the prize of eternal life, to the vacant church a good pastor and to Your Lordship his holy grace. Professionally matted in burgundy leatherette board along with a color reprint portrait of the saint and a bronze commemorative medallion. Encased in museum conservation glass and a high-end gilt wooden frame. A true treasure and extremely uncommon.
Pius XII, (Venerable) Pope (1876 – 1958)
Pius XII reigned from 2 March 1939 to his death in 1958. Before his election to the papacy, Pacelli served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany (1917–1929), and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany, with which most historians believe the Vatican sought to protect the Church in Germany while Adolf Hitler sought the destruction of ‘political Catholicism’. A pre-war critic of Nazism, Pius XII lobbied world leaders to avoid war and, as Pope at the outbreak of war, issued Summi Pontificatus, expressing dismay at the invasion of Poland, reiterating Church teaching against racial persecution and calling for love, compassion and charity to prevail over war.
Typewritten Letter Signed, one page, 1932, written as papal secretary of state. Thanks Professor (Cavalier) Francesco Palmegiani for the gift of an illustrated book for the pope. Professionally matted in rich ecru-moire fabric along with a 4″”x6″” image of Pius and a bronze commemorative medallion. Encased in Tru-Vue museum conservation glass and a gilt-wood, rope-relief frame.
Paul VI, Blessed Pope (1897 – 1978)
Italian cardinal; archbishop of Milan; Pope Paul VI. Typewritten Letter Signed, written while he was Substitute Papal Secretary of State.
Also included in this custom portfolio is a 1957 letter as cardinal-archbishop of Milan addressed to Doctor Giovanni Maraschini in which Montini thanks him for the donation of 20,000 Euros.
The three documents are professionally conserved in a custom – designed portfolio. It is covered in rich ecru moire fabric featuring Montini’s coat of arms and vitals on the cover. The interior left panel features a portrait of Paul VI mounted on yellow satin fabric. Letters are secured in a tri – fold envelope to the right, ribbon – tie enclosure. This is a choice selection of letters housed in a stunning, acid-free, museum-grade portfolio. Truly an investment-grade collectible
Talleyrand, Alexandre Cardinal (1736 – 1821)
French cardinal and statesman; grand almoner to the King of France; paternal uncle of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (1754-1838); Archbishop of Reims transferred to the metropolitan see of Paris.
ALS – Autograph Letter Signed – four pages, 25 October 1817. Written to Louis XVIII, King of France. Letter (flat) measures 16″”x12″”. In this letter the cardinal proposes several churchmen to posts within the realm (most of them appointments of bishops). He briefly states their qualifications and the particular needs of the diocese. The letter closes commenting that such appointments would be made in the new year.
Letter was written just a few months after Talleyrand was named a cardinal in the consistory of July 1817. One of the bishops so appointed, and referenced in this letter, was Gustave Maximillien Juste de Croy-Solre, Bishop of Strasbourg. He went on to become cardinal-archbishop of Rouens. Croy-Solre was made a Peer of France and assisted Louis XVIII on his deathbed and presided over his funeral in Saint-Denis.
This letter is professionally conserved in a custom-designed folder with rich red moire fabric covers and gilt titles. The interior features a mounted watercolor giclee formal portrait of Talleyrand and an acid-free pocket folder to the right containing the precious letter.
The appointment of clergy to key posts within the realm was often a consultative process between the senior bishop and reigning ruler. In this case, Talleyrand’s letter followed the precepts of the Concordat of 11 June 1817 between the Kingdom of France and the Holy See. Not having yet been validated, it never came into force in France and so the country remained under the king outlined in the Corcordat of 1801 until the 1905 law on the Separation of Church and State.
The earlier Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801. It solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France and brought back most of its civil status.