An Important Collection of Simón Bolívar and the South American Liberation Movement
Comprising Lots 203 through 244 in the November 22, 2016 Auction of Rare Books & Autographs
Doyle auctioned an important collection of letters, documents, manuscripts and books relating to Simón Bolívar and the South American Independence Movement. This private collection comprised over 40 lots in the November 22, 2016 sale of Rare Books & Autographs. There has not been such a substantial collection devoted to the movement offered at auction in decades and this collection represents some of the rarest primary material extant. The majority of the collection was purchased by a distinguished South American collector.
Revered throughout Latin American as El Libertador, Simón Bolívar (1783-1830) was the most important figure in the South American independence movement. Born to an aristocratic family in Caracas (Venezuela), Bolívar led an army of patriots against the powerful forces of Spain and liberated a vast swath of South America, which are now the six nations of Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, but first there was Bolívar’s vision of a unified Gran Colombia.
The collection offers a number of signed letters from Simón Bolívar, beginning with an important early letter dated 1813 following the victory at Cúcuta, which launched the Admirable Campaign. In the three-page letter he writes: "What huge glory awaits if we obtain the victory against the tyrants who are keeping my beautiful country under the cloak of suffering…” The letter was the subject of strong competitive bidding, which drove the price to $23,750, more then doubling its estimate of $7,000-10,000.
An inscribed portrait of Simón Bolívar from 1823 estimated at $2,000-3,000 fetched a surprisingly strong $16,250. The hand-colored engraved portrait was inscribed to “Una bella dama...” and signed “Bolívar.”
A remarkable survival are General Antonio José de Sucre’s maps of the victory at Ayacucho in 1824, bringing Alto Peru into Gran Colombia, which days later would be renamed Bolivia in honor of El Libertador, and in a highly important letter Bolívar accepts leadership of the new land, writing: "I am extraordinarily honored ... to give protection to a whole people, and to serve as a guide ... The goodness of the Assembly humbles me, I will be employed entirely in the service of Alto Peru … Alto Peru must have my sword and my heart; I do not have more to offer." The lot surpassed its estimate of $5,000-8,000, selling for $10,000.
Also featured in the collection are a letter from Queen Isabella of Spain written in 1500 and several examples of printing in Spain’s New World colonies, including the very rare 1810 Calendario Manual y Guia Universal de Forasteros en Venezuela, the first book printed in Caracas, where printing had been forbidden. Francisco de Miranda, a romantic figure who had aided both the American and French Revolutions before attempting an invasion to free Venezuela in 1806, is represented by a group of very rare proclamations issued during that failed attempt.
The sale of this important collection represented a rare opportunity for collectors and curators to acquire material directly connected to the liberation of South America and the brave historical figures who led the movement.
All prices include the Buyer's Premium.
The collection comprised lots 203 through 244 in the November 22, 2016 auction of Rare Books & Autographs.