On June 30, Sotheby's will offer the most important American archive of the 20th century in private hands - The Collection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a group of original documents from the most active years of King's life: 1946 to 1968. The manuscripts, papers and personal library passed from Dr. King to his family upon his death. Including more than 7,000 items in Dr. King's hand, the collection will be sold as one lot and is estimated to sell for $15m.-$30m.
The collection ranges from a college examination on the Bible, King's earliest surviving theological writing (1946), to his Nobel Peace Prize lecture (1964), arguably his most mature and profoundly philosophical work; and includes papers King was working on just prior to his assassination in 1968.
Other highlights include an early draft of King's "I Have A Dream" speech delivered in front of 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on August 28, 1963; King's final revisions and emendations to his "Letter from Birmingham Jail"; telegrams inviting King to John F. Kennedy's funeral and the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965; correspondence with Nelson Rockefeller, Lyndon Johnson, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy; documents relating key moments of the Civil Rights Movement including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the sit-in campaigns, Birmingham, Selma, the University of Mississippi riot and more.
There is a 240-page catalogue and Sotheby's is organizing gallery walks of the preview exhibition, which takes up every inch of 10th-floor galleries in Manhattan.
TIROCHE OF Herzliya will offer its summer sales of Israeli and international art on July 8 and 15. We hope the catalogue will arrive in time for a brief report in next week's column.
THE IMPERIAL Sale and Chinese Ceramics at Christie's Hong Kong Spring auction series achieved a stunning $43,083,534, the highest total ever realized in this category at Christie's.
The star lot - an early Ming underglaze copper-red vase, Yuhuchunping, Hongwu Period - fetched $10,207,600, a world auction record price for any Ming porcelain. It was sold to Las Vegas collector/businessman Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.