Auction 57 Highlights
Welcome to Smalls Sale 57.
This month we offer a selection of autographs from some of the World’s great movers and shakers and surprisingly it’s not necessarily the names with which we are most familiar.
One man of the shadows is Wellington Koo who must surely rank as a candidate for China’s leading statesman of the 20th Century.
Now largely forgotten, Koo was born in Shanghai in 1888 and completed his education at Columbia University (U.S.A.) where his exposure to the West saw his appointment in 1912 as the English Secretary to Yuan Shi-kai, the first President of the Republic of China. During World War I he was elevated to the pivotal role of Minister to the United States and Cuba and in 1919 he joined the Chinese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference.
Koo witnessed the consequences of Imperialism, and when his calls for its end were rejected by the Western powers and Japan, the Chinese delegation chose not to sign the Versailles Peace Treaty in protest, being the only nation in attendance not to do so.
His prescient diplomatic skills would later be called upon as China’s primary delegate at the founding of both the ‘League of Nations’ and the ‘United Nations.’ During the tumultuous 1920s in his role as China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs he was twice asked to assume the office of acting ‘Premier,’ and for a short time the ultimate role of ‘President of the Republic of China.’ He also served variously as the Chinese Ambassador to France from 1936 until its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1940, in the crucial war-time role as China’s Ambassador to Britain, and also later as an Ambassador to the United States. He retired from the diplomatic ranks in 1956 to take up an appointment as a judge on the International Court of Justice where he served until 1967, the last three years as Vice-President.
Phew! What a life.
Not to be outdone the indefatigable Democrat James F Byrnes was a jurist and career politician who served in all three branches of the American Federal Government, first as a member of the House of Representatives where he was the go-to-man for President Woodrow Wilson, then as a Senator where he was the self-appointed spokesman for the President Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ before being nominated by Roosevelt to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court of America. Later, after leaving the Federal government he was also elected for a term as the Governor of his home state South Carolina.
Between the periods in elected government he was also tapped by President Roosevelt to join its executive branch during WWII where he headed up the offices of ‘Economic Stabilisation’ and ‘War Mobilisation’ and, under his successor President Truman he was appointed to the senior position of ‘Secretary of State’.
Truman governed without a Vice-President in his first term and if he had died it was the capable Byrnes who was just a heart-beat away from the Presidency.
Another truly amazing life that puts us couch potatoes to shame.
In the sale there are also ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ accounts of Captain James Cook’s ‘Second Voyage of Discovery.’ Cook is revered as the greatest of the Maritime explorers and these journals of the voyage, particularly the unvarnished account in the unofficial work, are riveting.
There is also a small selection of interesting collectables including a few new jewellery lots on offer as well as some historical medals and some watches with desirable brands.
We hope you find something of interest.