The Corner

Reagan On The Auction Block

If you are a fan of Ronald Reagan and his place in American history – and who amongst NR readers isn’t? – you have the opportunity to own a piece of his legacy, for the right price. With the death of Nancy Reagan earlier this year, the Reagan family has cleaned out the old homestead in California and is putting some of Mr. & Mrs. Reagan’s private collection on the market, through an online auction conducted by Christie’s later this month (the entire collection will also be on display at Rockefeller Center before the sale). The proceeds will go to the Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. Some of the items are historic:

Among the items included in the Christie’s auction, which a spokeswoman said were “thoroughly vetted” by the firm and trustees of the Reagan estate, are a set of accessories from Reagan’s desk, including a jar of jelly beans…and a bronze plaque with the words, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”…Another stellar piece is expected to be a 25-inch chunk of the former Berlin Wall, signed by Reagan with a black felt-tip pen….Also included in the collection are gifts from people such as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — a silver cup inscribed “with love from Margaret and Denis Thatcher,”…and a number of items from Frank and Barbara Sinatra, including two paintings by the noted crooner and actor….For those seeking a truly personal remembrance, $2,500 to $3,500 is the estimate on a page of pencil sketches, or doodles, made by Reagan on White House stationery and signed in pencil. A football with Reagan’s signature and “Win One for The Gipper,” his memorable line from 1940’s “Knute Rockne, All American,” is estimated to fetch $5,000 to $10,000.

More glamorous is some of the memorabilia from Nancy Reagan, including some elegant pieces of jewelry. An auction of this nature is a melancholy sign that the Reagans have passed into history; any of us who have cleaned out the home of an elderly or deceased parent has known that sentiment. But eventually the time comes to pass on the old possessions, and doing so will help finance the continuing mission of the Reagan legacy.

Dan McLaughlin is an attorney practicing securities and commercial litigation in New York City, and a contributing columnist at National Review Online.

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