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    Description

    Roosevelt tells an art dealer: "...don't run me above $200 in any event as I am 'busted'!"

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed with Holographic Postscript as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
    -March 23, 1918. Washington, D.C. One page. 8" x 10.5". Assistant Navy Secretary letterhead. With transmittal envelope.
    -To: Edward Gottschalk.
    -Folds, toning, else near fine.

    FDR, a well-known collector of stamps, books, and naval prints writes to the proprietor of The Old Print Shop in New York City about an upcoming auction. In full, "Dear Mr. Gottschalk:/ An Anderson catalog has just come in for the Crimmins' sale to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday nights, March 26th and 27th. If you are going to attend the sale, I would be very glad to have you bid for me on the enclosed items which I have marked. It is very difficult for me to give you any figures, so will you use your own judgment and get only the items which seem cheap to you? Perhaps the recent absurd prices caused by some of our friends may fall off, but don't run me above $200 in any event as I am 'busted'!/ I hope all goes well with you./ Very sincerely yours..." At the end of the letter, he adds a handwritten postscript, " The Brazilian lithographs I have never heard of." An interesting letter as it tells of the booming art market of the period and also the precarious financial situation FDR found himself in.


    More Information:

    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.

     

    Fabulous FDR letter, signed as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, March 23, 1918 on Navy Department Assistant Secretary of the Navy Washington letterhead, with some eight words written by FDR in his own hand in a holograph postscript, as well as punctuation added by FDR as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1p. 4to., to art dealer Edward Gottschalk of New York City in which FDR claims he is "broke." FDR writes: "Dear Mr. Gottschalk:/ An Anderson catalog has just come in for the Crimmins' sale to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday nights, March 26th and 27th. If you are going to attend the sale, I would be very glad to have you bid for me on the enclosed items which I have marked. It is very difficult for me to give you any figures, so will you use your own judgment and get only the items which seem cheap to you? Perhaps the recent absurd prices caused by some of our friends may fall off, but don't run me above $200 in any event as I am ‘busted'! [the quotation marks and exclamation point are added by FDR in his own hand]./ I hope all goes well with you./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." FDR then adds a postscript in his own hand: "The Brazilian lithographs I have never heard of." FDR was a devoted collector of stamps, books and works of art, especially naval prints, and could rarely resist good items when they came to the auction block. His claim of being "busted" is interesting, and telling given that he was in Government service, both State and Federal, the better part of the past eight years, and was relying on his mother's financial support to make ends meet for his family of seven, including himself and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt. Edward Gottschalk was the proprietor of celebrated The Old Print Shop in New York City, which he founded in 1898 between 9th and 10th Streets on Fourth Avenue, twenty years before FDR wrote this letter to Gottschalk. The Old Print Shop did well in the early twentieth century, when as FDR alludes to himself in his letter to Gottschalk prices for paintings and prints were near the top of the market, a situation that would change dramatically with the onset of the Great Depression in 1929. A very interesting and unique letter, demonstrating FDR's commitment to collecting art, and in which FDR highlights his own precarious financial situation at the time.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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