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Van Gogh, Lennon letters coming to NY auction

| Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

NEW YORK — An auction of more than 300 historical documents will include letters written by Vincent van Gogh, George Washington, John Lennon and other iconic figures.

The property of an anonymous American collector is being offered by Profiles in History in an online and phone auction on Dec. 18.

Among the highlights is a two-page letter from Washington to an Anglican clergyman.

Another top item is a signed van Gogh letter, written in 1890, to Joseph and Marie Ginoux, who were proprietors of the Cafe de la Gare in Arles, France, where the Dutch post-Impressionist artist lived for a time.

Each of those letters is estimated to bring $200,000 to $300,000.

A handwritten letter from John Lennon to Eric Clapton has a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.

Other luminaries whose papers will be sold include Lou Gehrig, Louis Pasteur, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Giuseppe Verdi, Peter Tchaikovsky, Cole Porter, King Henry II and Napoleon I.

The December auction is the first of several sales to be held over two years. The entire collection contains 3,000 items.

The collection will be exhibited Dec. 3-9 in Douglas Elliman's Madison Avenue art gallery.

Washington's letter was written on Aug. 15, 1798, to the Rev. Jonathan Boucher, amid an undeclared naval war with France. Washington thanks Boucher for sending him his “View of the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution,” a book of 13 discourses Boucher preached.

“Peace, with all the world is my sincere wish, I am sure it is our true policy — and am persuaded it is the ardent desire of the Government,” the first president and Founding Father wrote.

In a Jan. 20, 1890, four-page letter, handwritten in French to his friends Monsieur and Madame Ginoux, van Gogh wishes the ailing proprietress a speedy recovery. Van Gogh died less than seven months later.

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