NEW YORK — Letters from former President Ronald Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were the most popular items Monday at an auction of materials that belonged to ex-Mayor Ed Koch.
The Doyle New York auction house said 18 lots of books, letters and other ephemera sold for $23,844, far above the presale estimate of less than $5,300. It said bids were made in its salesroom, on the phone and on the Internet.
The 1992 Reagan letter, in which he says, “I never doubted communism would eventually fail,” took the top price at $3,750, including a buyer’s premium. It had been estimated at $300 to $500.
The second-priciest item was a 1991 thank you note in which Onassis told Koch, “Your love of life is contagious and you sent everyone home feeling a happiness and insouciance that does not happen every day in dear old N.Y.C.” The letter sold for $2,812.
A letter from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, also sent in 1991, sold for $2,000. In it, Thatcher discussed anti-Semitism in Croatia and affairs in Yugoslavia.
A group of about 50 letters from various political figures sold for $2,375. In the lot was a letter from former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, a New Yorker who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1984. Before the Democrats’ landslide defeat, she was dogged with questions involving her husband’s finances and told Koch, “When my world was falling down around me and you took a couple of gratuitous slaps at me, I don’t remember you calling to explain.”
Koch, who was mayor from 1978 to 1989, died in February at age 88. The brash, opinionated Democrat was credited with helping to save the city from its 1970s economic crisis.
A group of letters from U.S. vice presidents in which Al Gore calls Koch “a great friend” sold for $563.
A collection of 48 letters from Cardinal John J. O’Connor, written between 1990 and 1999, sold for $594. The two men co-wrote “His Eminence and Hizzoner” in 1989. A signed copy of the book was included with the letters.
In one letter, O’Connor told Koch that since Koch had been mayor for 12 years, “I will not do it any longer as the Archbishop of New York.” But when O’Connor died in 2000 he had been archbishop for 16 years.
Monday’s sale was the second installment of Koch material to go on the auction block. His furniture and artwork were sold at Doyle last week. Among the highlights was a set of six Frank Lloyd Wright-designed dining chairs that sold for more than $11,000.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press
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