Last week we discussed collector Capt. Andrew Zabriskie. Although his primary coin collection was sold by Henry Chapman, another
sale took place at a much later date, as told by reader Alan V. Weinberg. Thanks!
I enjoyed the brief biography of Captain Andrew Zabriskie, but a significant and in our readers' lifetime
Zabriskie event was not covered and it is not widely known within the numismatic community. I consider it the most major
but little known
numismatic auction of modern times aside from the PA Pennypacker large cent sale of the 1950s.
It is true that while Zabriskie's American numismatic collection, including seven Higleys and a gold Brasher Doubloon, was
auctioned by Henry Chapman in 1909, his
first love of political exonumia specializing in Lincoln campaign items was kept
in a closeted box for almost a century by his descendants, considered of nominal value. They brought it into Sotheby's NYC
auction house in 1999 and learned differently.
The most significant auction offering of choice Lincolniana, with many additional top condition rare tokens and medals formed
by the Captain appeared on June 26, 1999 lots 423- 677 in NYC by Sotheby's, Catalogue only available for $29, a not inconsiderable
auction catalogue price in 1999. The sale was not widely publicized nor attended, certainly not in numismatic circles.
Dominating the auction offering were Steve Tanenbaum with partners, and Larry Stack with Mike Hodder assisting. The sale was
inadvertently scheduled opposite a major political ephemera show in the Baltimore area which resulted in many potentially
interested bidders, like me, unable to attend the NYC auction.
Still, in the main, prices realized were, for the time, astounding. Cataloguing was done by the very knowledgeable Jonathan
Mann and Dan Ackerman ( the latter just retired from Heritage's political/ historical dept ) so lots were quite adequately
described and attributed. Most lots were adequately plated and there were several full color plates. The catalogue's cover plate,
an 1860 Lincoln ferrotype in a mechanical brass calendar medal realized $38,500, an astonishing price even today. It may be unique
as neither this nor another has re-appeared on the market since. The overall quality of everything was as-issued and pristine,
collected by Zabriskie as an apparently very wealthy young man who witnessed the 1864 pre-inaugural parade on Fifth Ave and five
weeks later the funeral post-assassination procession on the same avenue.
Even today the 1999 Sotheby's Zabriskie catalogue is quite rare, particularly so with original prices realized. I didn't miss
out too badly. Shortly after the sale, I acquired several rare medals from the sale directly from Larry Stack and later several
impressive ferrotypes from collector Scott Dolson who had in turn acquired those from Stack's. Sadly, much of Scott's collection
was later stolen in a devastating residential KY burglary, the vast majority still missing.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
CAPT. ANDREW CHRISTIAN ZABRISKIE (1853-1916)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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