SOURCE: Caren Collection

Caren Collection

March 03, 2014 15:12 ET

Renowned Collector Eric Caren to Sell Unprecedented Collection of 200,000 Historical Documents En Bloc

Contains Items That Document Virtually Every Significant Event From the 16th Century to the Present

WESTCHESTER, NY--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2014) - The most important archive of historical paper to be offered in over a century will be offered en bloc by Eric Caren by private treaty sale. The Caren Collection is comprised of more than 200,000 items that document most every major U.S. and international historical and cultural event dating back to pre-revolutionary times through the 20th century. Additionally almost every major genre and historical personality is present in this collection, which is worthy of the finest museums and libraries in the country. Most of the material contained within collection is not at Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress or New York Public Library in original format.

The prospectus for the sale of this large collection will appear in Bonhams auction catalog for "Treasures from The Caren Archive," scheduled for April 7th in New York.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • The first Treaty between the U.S. and China signed by President Polk in 1845.
  • The entire history of African Americans from slavery through Civil Rights is represented strongly in the collection, including a rare Civil War-period hand-colored photograph of a slave wearing a slave collar and surrounded by other devices of torture.
  • Tens of thousands of rare newspapers, including 18th century, Union and Confederate and Western American newspapers, including original Tombstone Epitaph issues from 1881, reporting on the lead up of tensions that led to the Gunfight at the OK Corral, including a notice by Marshal Virgil Earp warning of arrest for armed men without gun permits.
  • Thousands of news photos dating back to Admiral Robert Peary and the RMS Titanic.
  • Thousands of mayoral signed checks relating to building the infrastructure of NYC from 1784 through The Civil War.
  • Thousands of pieces of 19th and 20th century sheet music.
  • Thousands of postcards, letters and documents dating back to the 17th century.
  • Thousands of important sports newspapers and photos.
  • Hundreds of newspapers, broadsides and magazines reporting major historical events such as the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the Great Fire of London in 1666, the first English-language newspaper, The Declaration of Independence, The U.S. Constitution, The Bill of Rights, etc.

"The Caren Collection can never be duplicated because unlike baseball cards, stamps and coins, many of these items survive in single digit numbers or are unique only-known examples. It's taken me a lifetime to assemble them, and I hope to sell them en bloc to a benefactor who will then donate the collection to a top university, library or historical society in the U.S.," Caren says.

"In light of the Best Picture Oscar going to '12 Years of a Slave,' I expect there to be more interest in raw historical documents that shed additional light on that unfortunate period in our country's history," Caren adds.

"Microfilm and digital reproductions have a limited shelf life and often lack the integrity and detail of the primary source," says Todd Andrlik, an independent historian, archivist and author of Reporting the Revolutionary War (Sourcebooks, 2012). "For institutions wanting to provide its users with the finest and most reliable archive, there is no better alternative than owning historic documents in their original form."

Caren is selling this collection to fund more acquisitions. "I already have interest in the collection but my fear is that America will lose this resource to another nation, which may appreciate it since there are plenty of International buyers who can afford to buy this unique opportunity," Caren says. "I cannot afford to donate it as I pour the money from my sales back into rescuing more historical documents."

A prior collection from Caren was acquired to form the nucleus of Newseum, the Washington, DC, museum that features five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

About Eric C. Caren
Eric C. Caren began collecting at the age of five, eventually turning a hobby into a full-time business. Caren is the CEO of Retrographics Publishing, a licensee of the New York Times; and the author of 12 books (published by Castle Books and the Smithsonian Books). He is also a member of the Grolier Club and a consultant to the Newsuem. He is a licenser of jigsaw puzzles sold nationwide, including through Barnes & Noble.

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