Community gets a taste of American history

Nearly 100 people turned out to find “History You Can Own” at C. Parker Gallery on Dec. 12, to view and have a chance to purchase a unique collection of items normally found only in museums.

“People are not accustomed to coming face-to-face with significant historic documents signed by the founding fathers without glass or velvet rope in between them, and they are even more surprised to find out that they can own the documents and artifacts,” said Steve Desloge, owner of Rockwell Art & Framing who houses the permanent collection at his Westport store location. “We had several folks purchase items as holiday gifts commenting that they knew it was a gift that wouldn’t be duplicated.”

Those who attended the showcase at the C. Parker Gallery, located on 17 East Putnam Avenue, had the opportunity to see not only a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence, valued at $1,250,000, the first Boston printing of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and a lock of George Washington’s hair, but they were also treated to a few more modern day artifacts such as the last typewriter used by Ernest Hemmingway, priced at $100,000, and a framed piece of the Wright brothers airplane, the Wright Flyer, along with a photo of the plane and a bank check signed by Orville Wright, altogether priced at $3,500.

History You Can Own is a collaboration between Seth Kaller of Seth Kaller, Inc. in White Plains, N.Y., John Reznikoff of University Archives in Westport and Stephen Rockwell Desloge, owner of the six Rockwell Galleries in Fairfield County. Other items for sale include documents signed by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, a map from 1777 of Philadelphia, a portrait of and documents by Alexander Hamilton, stock certificates signed by J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Robert Todd Lincoln and items from Thomas Edison and David Ben Gurion.

There was also a spectacular six foot long Civil War flag created by Tiffany & Co. and, perhaps the most intriguing item in the collection, a chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he received the nomination for president which has a price tag of $145,000.

Items can be viewed on Historyyoucanown.com, on Sethkaller.com and on Universityarchives.com; prices range from $350 to more than $1,000,000. Special showings can also be arranged by appointment by calling 203-253-0934.

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