Auction 94 Highlights

Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 94

In this sale we are concentrating on historical documents that help to explain the course of history.

Perhaps the most important item is the lengthy letter written in 1953 by the ex-World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Tommy Burns ruminating on his loss to the Black American Champion Jack Johnson on Boxing Day in Sydney in 1908. At the time, the World Heavyweight Boxing Title was universally acknowledged as the highest sporting crown to be claimed and the contest drew a crowd of over 20,000 to the Sydney Stadium at Rushcutters Bay. Burn’s reveals in the letter that “race prejudice was rampant in my mind. The idea of a black man challenging me of the white race was beyond endurance. With that ruling my consciousness I went out to kill.” Over the years he gradually understood that ‘black lives matter,’ and he goes on to acknowledge that Johnson “was a champion of the first magnitude. He just had to be to out box Tommy Burns.”

As we move towards the US Presidential elections it is interesting to note how a democratic government is supposed to operate. Oppositions are expected to oppose legislation they believe is wrong but should provide bi-partisan support for good policy. Today there appears to be a body-strewn battlefield between the politics of left and right and liberal and conservative legislators and there is no shortage of people predicting the end of Western Democracy. So it is interesting to read the telegram co-authored in 1954 by Lyndon Johnson as the Democratic Senate Leader to the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower promising to protect him against “the Republican Old Guard – (and) to support of an enlightened foreign policy against the Republican reactionaries who conducted guerrilla warfare against you and your Secretary of State in the last Congress.” Chaos in government is not new, and we often forget that since the dawn of democracy the main enemy of is not found across the aisle but is usually a rump of back-bench dullards within the ruling party who exert undue influence - and sometimes it is the leader. Differences can appear insurmountable but as time marches on the players leave the stage and so hopefully in a post-Trump world the good ship ‘Democracy’ will right itself and good government will prevail.

There is also an array of historical documents pertaining to Australia including two signed land grants signed by Gipps and Bourke, two early Governors of New South Wales.

There are also some historical photographs as well as a cameo selection of jewellery, coins & stamps to round out the sale.

Happy bidding

Smalls Auctions