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Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 662

5 WWI Items incl. Binoculars and FDR Letter

Estimate: $350 - $450

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Two (2) TLS including one (1) signed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt; two (2) pairs of binoculars related to his "Eyes for the Navy" initiative, and one (1) World War I era medicine or pill box, 5 items total. Most of the items pertain to Mr. Fulton M. Wilson of Fayetteville, Tennessee, who answered FDR's call for "Eyes for the Navy," by leasing his binoculars to the United States Navy during the American shortage of this type of equipment in World War I. 1st - 2nd items: Two (2) typed letters, signed, addressed to Wilson, including one (1) from Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) on official stationery dated April 15, 1918. The letter thanks Mr. Wilson for his "...prompt and patriotic response to the NAVY'S call for binoculars..." and states that "...every effort will be made to return them to you...". Signed "FD Roosevelt" below the letter. Also includes one (1) letter on U.S. Navy Recruiting Office Custom House, Nashville, TN stationary, from an ensign, US Naval Reserve Force (USNRF) Recruiting Officer, dated March 16, 1918. This letter also thanks Wilson for sending the binoculars and promises Wilson will be paid the sum of $1 if his binoculars are accepted for use. Illegibly signed below the letter. 3rd - 4th items: Two (2) pairs of binoculars, including one (1) C.P. Goerz, Berlin, Treider Binocle pair having inscription reading "U.S. NAVY" and "P16589" below the lenses (5 1/4" H x 4 1/2" W), and one (1) Chevalier Optician, Paris pair (6 1/2" H x 5 1/4" W). Note: the second pair of binoculars may not actually have been accepted for use in the war effort. 5th item: World War I era medicine or pill box. Brown leather, single stitched, having a single lunate flap with a brass snap closure that opens to reveal interior with four individual compartments containing four glass vials with metal caps. Unmarked. 3 3/4" H x 4 3/8" W x 1 1/4" D.

Property of the Lincoln County Museum, Fayetteville, TN; Bequest of Mary Bright Wilson (1909-2004), formerly of Fayetteville, and descended in her family.


1st - 2nd items: Both letters in overall very good condition with light toning. March 16 letter with 1/2" tear to to of letter (does not affect body of letter or signature). Both signatures in overall good, legible condition. 3rd - 4th items: Overall good condition with wear, surface grime to be expected from age and manner of use. 5th item: Wear surface grime to leather; stitching to back of flap securing it to box is dry; flap is partially separated from box. Some original contents remain to interior vials. Vials with tarnish to metal caps, some breaks to glass.