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Live Auction

2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 2)

Sun, Jan 28, 2024 01:00PM EST
Lot 882

Cdre. Jesse D. Elliott ALS plus Andrew Jackson related Sarcophagus Print

Estimate: $300 - $350

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

Navy Commodore Jesse D. Elliott ALS, rare print and pamphlet regarding an ancient sarcophagus he purchased in Beirut in 1839 and brought back on his flagship, the USS Constitution, while serving as commander of the US Naval fleet in the Mediterranean. Elliott offered the historic vessel (thought to have once held the remains of 3rd century Roman ruler Alexander Severus) to the National Institute to be used as a coffin for his dying friend, President Andrew Jackson. (Jackson ultimately refused, saying "I cannot consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an Emperor or a King -my republican feelings and principles forbid it- the simplicity of our system of government forbids it"; the sarcophagus was never used for burial and is now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute). This lot includes a single page letter by Elliott dated Nov. 2, 1843, to the Hon. David H--- ( who was likely an official at the National Institute), presenting a lithographed picture of the sarcophagus "by which you could form some idea of the exact character of the sarcophagus I have offered as the receptacle of the remains of the deceased....". This lot also includes the aforementioned 11 3/4" x 10" print, published by A. Hoffy, Philadelphia; an 1874 pamphlet about the sarcophagus, 1 of 25 privately circulated copies, printed for F.P. Rice; plus a 2-page book excerpt about Commodore Elliott.


Page 2 of the pamphlet appears to be missing; it is faded and toned with loss to corner of cover. Letter in very good professionally deacidified condition with light toning and crease across signature. Print has central crease, edge chipping, light toning/discoloration, particularly along top edge.

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Estate of Gertrude S. Caldwell, Nashville.