Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 47

Price Realized: $ 2,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,200 - $ 1,800
(CIVIL WAR--CONFEDERATE.) The Life and Death of Jeff. Davis, being an Awful Warning to all Traitors . . . in Five Expressive Tableaux. 3 wood engravings intended to be manipulated into 5 illustrations. 6 pages on one sheet, 6 x 9 inches, with the outer leaves cut into two flaps each; moderate wear including 1/2-inch closed tear and an extra vertical mailing fold, two contemporary ink inscriptions. With original stamped mailing envelope bearing a post-1863 stamp and Philadelphia cancellation, and inked 13 May date. Philadelphia: C.J. Price, circa April-May 1865?

Additional Details

This metamorphic toy pamphlet features illustrations by T.W. Roane which show the Confederate president in 5 poses: "1. Before he becomes a Traitor. 2. He commences his Secession career, or in other words, sits deliberately down on his own coffin. 3. He finds it unpleasant. 4. He wishes to be left alone. 5. He is let alone." In this final configuration he is hooded and hanging from a gallows. The original owner has inscribed one flat "The evil that men do lives after them" and another "Sic semper traitors."

The American Antiquarian Society hypothesizes that this was published after the arrest of Davis on 10 May 1865. That would seem to be a quick turnaround to have this in the mail by 13 May; it may have been produced in the weeks before his actual capture. The "sic semper tyrannis" reference suggests it was probably issued after the 15 April Lincoln assassination, though. One in OCLC, at the American Antiquarian Society, and only one other traced at auction, at a Swann sale, 29 September 2022, lot 69, from a different consignor.