Part of an Americana auction held by Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium), it reported in little more that 200 words a death toll of some 600 “at the hands of the brave Mexican army”, but could add few other details at that time.
It is a rare document and otherwise known only from a copy at Yale and an example sold for $32,500 at Sotheby’s New York in 2004.
Oh Mr Porter
Made to illustrate the now lost memoirs of ‘Uncle Joe’ Dixon, a rather eccentric character who had pursued a mining career from the Rockies to Mexico, a group of 27 drawings produced in Austin, Texas, c.1883-84 by a then very young man by the name of William Sydney Porter sold for $22,000 (£16,975).
The result was well under estimate and doubtless disappointing, but this unusual lot was a very early illustration commission for someone who later came to be famous as a writer of short stories under the name of O Henry. But then on the eve of his departure for New York to secure a publishing deal, an unnerved Dixon shredded the manuscript and threw it into a creek.
The illustrations were in their creator’s safe-keeping but were now effectively useless. They were given to a local girl, Pauline Haynie (a forebear of the consignors), and first resurfaced only in 1912, when three were published in the final volume of a complete set of O Henry’s works.
The lot also included a couple of photographs of the young Porter.