Crime & Punishment

Jared Gendron

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Something that will always invite simultaneous fascination and horror is the workings of the criminal mind. For centuries, authorities have worked tirelessly to piece together the most harrowing crimes by expanding their methods, processes of documentation and ways of approaching what most would consider unapproachable. Modern day films like The French Connection, The Untouchables, The Silence of the Lambs and Se7en are driven by the detective’s relentless and often infuriating pursuit of criminal masterminds, depicting grueling investigations in which the authorities are forced to apply different approaches to solve the crime.

This kind of work requires exhausting efforts and constant change, especially in the face of trying times. The 1920s and 1930s birthed some of the most challenging circumstances our economy has endured: Prohibition and the Great Depression. These times erupted with rebellion, opposition and extreme survival tactics, giving way to some of the most fearless criminals plotting the most outrageous heists – train hijackings, bank robberies, burglaries, larceny, forgery – forcing authorities to delve deeper into the psychology behind these violations.

Our Crime and Punishment live online auction traces the earliest days of law enforcement, documenting its evolution from the 1700s through the 20th century. Included is an original Andrew Hamilton legal document; vintage mug shots of legendary bank robber, John Dillinger; letters from within the walls of Alcatraz by way of its infamous “Birdman”; a handwritten letter from Lee Harvey Oswald which was held as evidence in the Warren Commission Hearings, and a lengthy piece of correspondence from notorious mob boss, John Gotti.

Also within the offering is a letter directly from the desk of one of history’s most formidable authority figures, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director, J. Edgar Hoover, a man whose dedication to growing the field of law enforcement is as impressive as the length of his career. As the first Director of the FBI from 1935 – 1972, Hoover expounded on the groundwork laid by his predecessors, the foundation of which is intricately laid throughout this collection.

Hailing largely from the collection of Police Chief Michael Webb, who served with the Vinita Park, Missouri, police force from 1974 through 2009, this gathering forms a cumulative map comprised of the raw materials law officials collected, applied and reapplied. The significance of these items lies within the glimpse they provide into the workings of both the criminal and authoritative mind, bridging an important historical and psychological gap between those who are determined to break the law and those who strive to preserve it.

Browse our Live Online Auction Here (Auction Closes Saturday March 7, 2015)

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Star Wars Private Signings

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… well, actually, from a 2014 private signing in England, JG Autographs Inc. is happy to offer the three most iconic characters from one of the most beloved and successful film franchises of all time; Kenny Baker is R2-D2, Jeremy Bullock is Boba Fett and Dave Prowse is Darth Vader. Autographed glossy 8 x 10 photographs in a variety of classic poses.

JG Autographs Star Wars Private Signings

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‘FLASH’ BACK

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In a day and age when technology evolves overnight and instant gratification is a common expectation, it’s easy to lose touch with the history of it all – the origin of the inventions that we take for granted today; the gadgets that have transformed from everyday tools to cultural staples, without which we seem to lose relevance. How do you feel when you forget your cell phone at home? Completely naked and lost? Most do, especially since being without a phone now means being without a camera. How would we post our daily Instagram and Facebook updates, broadcasting to the world what we’re eating, who we’re with and where we’re exploring, documenting every other moment through these miniature lenses?

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Flashback to the early 19th century, when curious minds were assembling and experimenting with the concept of “drawing with light,” the literal translation of the word “photography.” The earliest dark rooms housed the “camera obscura,” a primitive projector that utilized an external light source to cast images onto paper. This process was so revolutionary – shocking, even – that many deemed it a frightening form of sorcery. Fortunately, there were those whose fascination overruled their fear of the unknown. These brave individuals took the application of light to capture images to the next level; the first permanent image was produced by Nicephore Niepce in 1826, followed by Louis Daguerre’s development of the daguerreotype in 1839, the very process that would make history as the first publicly announced and commercially recognized photographic process. By 1854, carte-de-visite’s were patented and would grow into the first form of trading cards between friends, a practice that involved collecting and swapping images of high-profile figures and celebrities.

Within the letters and original photographs of this comprehensive collection lies the first-person perspective of an age, expressing raw, genuine reactions as they met with their own likenesses for the first time. Included are exceptionally rare pieces of correspondence from Mathew Brady, perhaps one of the most famous early photographers who is credited with documenting the American Civil War; a lengthy letter from one of the most notable pianists from the Romantic era, Clara Schumann; a gorgeous missive from Salvation Army founder, Maud Booth, and a fantastic response from the American polar explorer, Adolphus Greely.

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These are just a few of the illuminating selections that color this varied assortment, each piece serving as a physical and emotional mile marker in the social evolution and impact of the first captured image.

For more information and to browse the current pieces please view our Curated Collection:
Social Impact of Photography | Curated Collection

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SUCH A TEESE

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Famed Burlesque Dancer. Model. Actress. Designer. Stylist.

Dita Von Teese isn’t just the “Queen of Burlesque” – her entrepreneurial reach is far and wide, marking every venture with her own touch of glamour and cutting edge sex appeal. Since exploding onto the burlesque scene in 1992, Von Teese has evolved from a performer into an actual brand; from her own make-up and fragrance lines, to the development and design of her very own “Von Follies” clothing and lingerie enterprise, her focus, drive and vision knows no bounds, an energy succinctly captured in the eclectic – and quite eccentric – assortment of personal artifacts from Von Teese’s personal collection.

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For the first time ever, JG Autographs is ecstatic to offer such a sweeping array of the pieces that have literally adorned Von Teese’s body throughout her steady, sultry rise to the top. A few of these exquisite garments include a vibrant, full-length floral Kimono; a sheer vintage 1930s nightgown; autographed pointe ballet slippers used in her famed “birdcage” routine; a unique pair of Swarovski-lined fishnet stockings, also worn on stage; examples of her make-up and fragrance lines, each personally used; one-of-a-kind prototypes used in the concept and design of her new lingerie line, and the olive in the martini glass – the dancer’s very first corset, acquired and worn during her earliest performances.

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Von Teese’s repertoire continues to expand and diversify; this ravishing assemblage offers a comprehensive snap shot into the first 20 years of her entrancing career. We can only hope its an indication of what lies ahead for this esteemed fetish queen.

For more information and to browse the current pieces please view our Curated Collection:

Dita Von Teese | Curated Collection  

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BLONDE AMBITION

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“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
~ Marilyn Monroe

Few flames burned as brightly as the one that emanated from Marilyn Monroe, and as such, it was extinguished long before its time. Having spent only a decade and a half on the silver screen, Monroe became an icon of fashion and film, transforming before the eyes of the public into the iconic sex symbol that would come to define her legacy.

JG Autographs is ecstatic to offer such a stunning assortment of memorabilia from Monroe’s golden days, including various publicity stills spanning Monroe’s illustrious – yet short-lived – career; a full-sized promotional poster for “The Seven-Year Itch,” the film that captured the infamous image of the actress standing above the subway grate; and an authentic check bearing the starlet’s gorgeous signature. A truly one-of-a-kind cache, representing the brilliance, radiance and life that Monroe so naturally exuded, even if just for a little while.

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Monroe’s spark, charisma and spirit captivated the world during the 1950s and 1960s, and her look became the cornerstone of the idealized vision of beauty for generations to come. This comprehensive assortment does more than just showcase the platinum goddess from her humble beginnings to her untimely end; it provides a timeless, unparalleled look into the making of a legend.

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For more information and to browse the current pieces please view our Curated Collection:
Marilyn Monroe | Curated Collection

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The Great Correspondence

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Today, Katharine Hepburn’s name is synonymous with the ‘First Lady of Cinema,’ an ironic title for the reluctant silver screen icon. Outspoken, rebellious, independent and assertive, the natural-born actress wanted nothing to do with the ‘Hollywood Game.’ Refusing photo shoots and interviews, Hepburn instead chose to shun makeup and sport trousers before it was acceptable for women to do so. In this way, she came to embody what was to be seen as the original ‘modern woman’ in 20th-century America.

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It’s this very spirit that catapulted her to fame; after the success of her starring role in the 1932 Broadway hit, “A Warrior’s Husband,” she quickly signed her famed deal with RKO. In 1933, “Morning Glory” earned ‘The Great Kate’ her first Academy Award. This marked the first of 12 Oscar nominations, a record that Hepburn held until 2003, when Meryl Streep received her 13th nomination.

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Perhaps it was this kind of acclaim and exposure that fueled Hepburn’s need for privacy. And it is this exact tendency that makes this collection so unique and exceptional. Containing hundreds of letters spanning the course of 12 years, Hepburn carried on an intriguing correspondence with Alice Hicks, a seemingly fanatical admirer. What makes these letters so interesting is the content – there exist many personal responses from Hepburn to fans consisting of brief acknowledgments and ‘thank yous,’ but the extent to which the reportedly self-absorbed actress responds to Hicks is something altogether different, begging the question – why? Who was this woman, and why did Hepburn engage in a 12 year pen pal and (occasional) telephone relationship with her?

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Through pages upon pages of the actress’s gratitude for endless gifts, including but certainly not limited to Stowaway chocolate turtles (her favorite), pajamas, vases, dozens upon dozens of roses, household items, shoes and trinkets, to replies that nearly scold Hicks for her constant onslaught of lengthy letters and delivery of “goodies,” the fluctuation of emotions between the two women does nothing to impact the consistency and frequency of the letters on either end.

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Also contained within these notes are references to Spencer Tracy, with whom Hepburn carried on a 26-year affair; a mention of America Express heiress, Laura Harding, who the actress was rumored to have engaged in a long-term, closeted lesbian relationship; mentions of “African Queen” and other movies, and several direct nods to her 1991 autobiography, “Me: Stories of My Life.”

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Unmatched in quality and quantity, a collection such as this stands out as an incomparable glimpse into the life and mind of ‘The Great Kate,’ the likes of which the world has never known.

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Instrumental ‘Live’ Renderings

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1 JG Autographs, Inc. is very pleased to offer a collection of over one thousand original pen and ink illustrations by relatively unknown, yet extremely skilled artist George ‘Georges’ Krishizki. In his spare time in New York City, Georges persued his true passion; capturing his favorite classical, jazz and blues musicians in their most intimate settings, live on stage in the most famous of venues. The result is a magnificent selection of 20 years of his work spanning the 1970s – 90s.

The range of artists reads like a celebrated who’s who, from the most legendary to the very obscure. Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Luciano Pavarotti, Count Basie, Benny Goodman; they all receive Georges’ stylized treatment. Each of the drawings, signed by both the artist and the subject, is black ink on heavy-weight sketch paper, most measuring approximately 9 x 12 inches. These one-off illustrations are truly a ‘one of kind’ discovery for even the most devoted collector. Alsoavailable are several other unsigned drawings by Georges (including additional renowned performers, venues, and other subjects), photos, leaflets, clippings, and articles related to his career, many of which include reproductions of drawings from the collection. Please check back week to week as we will continue to add new names and items to our live inventory as we continue to make our way through this vast collection.

For more information and to browse the current pieces please view our Curated Collection:

 The Instrument Art of Georges | Curated Collection  

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High School Historic; 50 Years of Seattle Rebellion

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As senior catalog writer at JG Autographs, each day includes an interesting mix of research and writing on an assortment of stars and figures, spanning history in a variety of fields.  While some of these individuals are among the world’s most famous and others are completely unfamiliar, there are occasional names that are recognizable even though their actual story may be unknown to many including myself.  The most recent of these cases arose with an autographed photograph and letter from the classic 1930s and 1940s film actress Frances Farmer, the first JG has ever offered.

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As a teenager in the 1990s, and a fan of Nirvana, the first, and only time, I heard the name was in the title of the bands song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle,”  from their 1993 album “In Utero.”  I never really thought much about it, I just knew and remembered the track. Now, years later, after doing research for our newly offered lot, her association with the Seattle based band and singer Kurt Cobain is much less surprising.

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Frances Farmer burst on to the Hollywood scene in the 1930s with great acclaim yet never seemed particularly comfortable with the attention. Farmer’s beliefs on the entertainment industry and the world in general were considered strange and unacceptable, simply because they were not in line with expected views of the day, especially coming from a woman. Her misunderstanding went so far as being involuntary hospitalized at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom, WA were she was allegedly abused and tortured to the point of a lobotomy to ‘cure’ her of her rebellious and anti-establishment thoughts. She died anonymous and penniless in 1970.

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Over 50 years later, Nirvana’s legendary front man Kurt Cobain infamously faced a similar internal struggle, dealing with a sudden place in the spotlight, which he had apparently no desire for. No wonder the troubled musician harkened back to another Seattle native who first fought the conformities of the entertainment business and American opinion in general.

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Here’s to you Mr. Cobain, and to Mrs. Farmer before you.

– Chris ‘Brezy’ Bresnahan

Please click the link below to view this amazing lot and have a chance to add it to your own collection, Nirvana based or otherwise…

Francis Farmer American Actress Autographed 8×10 Photograph | Typed Letter Signed

 

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Carl Van Vechten: The New Yorkers’ New Yorker

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From The New Yorker Magazine online, week of February 14th, 2014:

In “White Mischief,” in this week’s issue of the magazine, Kelefa Sanneh writes about Carl Van Vechten, a “New York hipster and literary gadabout” who was an unlikely champion of the African-American experience as it unfolded on the streets of Harlem in the nineteen-twenties. Van Vechten, a white man from the Midwest, arrived in New York in 1906 and took a job as a music and dance critic for the Times. He was quickly drawn to the night clubs of Harlem, and became, in his own words, “violently interested in Negroes.” Sanneh explains how Van Vechten eventually considered himself not only a supporter of the Harlem Renaissance but a vital part of it. He and his second wife, the actress Fania Marinoff, hosted integrated parties at their apartment on West Fifty-fifth Street; he also developed close friendships with black artists like Langston Hughes, who, Sanneh writes, was “widely perceived as Van Vechten’s protégé.”

Although Van Vechten made his name as a writer, he began to explore photography in the early nineteen-thirties, shooting black-and-white portraits of people like Orson Welles, Salvador Dali, and Georgia O’Keeffe. In 1939, Van Vechten switched to color film, after discovering the vibrancy of Kodachrome. He started photographing luminaries of the Harlem Renaissance, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston, many of them his friends, posing his subjects against colorful swaths of silk and velvet or brightly patterned tapestries. Van Vechten’s photographic project, which lasted a quarter of a century, represents a rich and lasting record of one man’s interest in a culture that he believed represented the “essence of America.”

JG Autographs Inc. is proud to offer a stunning array of Van Vechten’s work. Please click the link below to view our ‘Curated Collection’ and related inventory:

Carl Van Vechten | Curated Collection

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Donna Tartt, Author of the Year and Mathew Brady Fan

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Here at JG Autographs we have always celebrated the impact and influence of history on contemporary art and culture. In fact, its one of the cornerstones our company is built on. So as you can imagine we were extremely pleased to discover award winning author Donna Tartt’s references to Civil War documentarian Mathew Brady’s infamous photographs of the casualties at Gettysburg and his 19th century New York studios; thumb to page 128 of this years “standout Dickensian” novel ‘The Goldfinch’ named for the 350-year-old portrait by Dutch painter and Rembrandt pupil Carel Fabritius. We salute you Ms. Tartt, for knowing and sharing our history.

 

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Click here for our Frederick H. Meserve Curated Collection for our offering of vintage Civil War silverprint photographs, printed direct from the original glass negatives and most shot through the lens of Mathew Brady.

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