Pennsylvania Books, Maps & Manuscripts

Freeman’s, located in the heart of William Penn’s “holy experiment” of tolerance and brotherly love, and near one of his original five squares, has offered fine Pennsylvania books, maps and manuscripts since its founding in 1805. Today, its skilled team of specialists in the Books, Maps & Manuscripts Department has an international reputation for their sales through our Philadelphia-based location and via live, online auctions. Extensive knowledge of the subject at hand, and understanding of the current market by its specialists, become essential elements for positive results of any sale. This is reflected in Freeman’s successful sales in past auctions of engraved and hand-drawn maps, works of Philadelphia printers, and autograph materials related to the history of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Especially noteworthy is the significant number of rare and unusual pieces of local and national history our specialists have brought to auction. This includes a copy of the first public printing of the United States Constitution, which sold for $207,225, as well as the manuscript archive of original ransom letters from the kidnappers of Charley Ross. Considered to be the first recorded kidnapping for ransom in America, four-year-old Charley Ross was taken from the front lawn of his parents’ home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia in July, 1874. 

Held each fall, the annual Pennsylvania Sale offers distinctive and remarkable books, prints, maps, historical documents, and surveys created in the cities and countryside of Pennsylvania. Items relating to the significant role that Philadelphia played in the founding of this nation are also often featured at Freeman’s auctions. The provenance, or the history of ownership, and the historical significance of an object, is key for inclusion in this sale. Every item is carefully researched and recorded in the cataloguing of the object.  

Through our website, we have become a leader in hosting online auctions for buying and selling Pennsylvania books, maps and manuscripts; to make an appointment for a private and complimentary consultation, please contact one of our specialists.

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Savy sellers know the value of provenance.  It’s why so many choose to offer their collections of Pennsylvania Art & Design locally with Freeman’s, enhancing their collection’s provenance through Freeman’s unrivaled storytelling and ability to strengthen the collection’s unbroken chain of ownership.

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Related Departments: Books & Manuscripts, Maps, Atlases & Natural History


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Oct 28 2020 10.00am
Jan 31 2019 10.00am