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Abe Lincoln Campaign Collection

Extraordinary Historical Political Memorabilia Collection
Dr Alan York 50+ Year Collection

Alan York with a small corner of his collection.

 

We recently acquired some extraordinary historical treasures from the estate of a renown collector of presidential historical memorabilia that spanned over 50 years of collecting..  Including several Abraham Lincoln campaign artifacts that rarely appear on the market.

However, what is most exciting is the history behind this most impressive collection of museum grade memorabilia.   It illustrates the excitement and enhanced quality of life only Collectors understand and experience from our collecting passion and appreciation of history..  

Below is the story of avid lifelong collector Dr York and his enthusiasm for collecting.  It is a story that reminds me much of how I started collecting that began with stamp and coins when I was about 8 years old which eventually  evolved in vintage History collecting from the genres of classic Hollywood, Sports and Historical icons and events.    Maybe you’ll see yourself inside this fascinating story.  Enjoy and be sure to check out the extraordinary artifacts we just acquired from the Dr Alan York Collection

From the Estate of Dr. Alan York. A nationally renowned and esteemed collector, Dr. York’s vast historical holdings tell the story of the United States of America from George Washington’s 1789 inauguration through the new millennium. Exceedingly rare specimens offered in his estate sale included material related to both successful candidates and their opponents.  Dr York assembled a massive historical collection over the course of more than a half century. As a whole, this collection chronicles nearly all the notable events and moments from the United States nascent beginnings to the powerful nation of present day. His astonishing collection included Historical Ephemera, Numismatics, Bank Notes, and Philately. Important categories comprising this encyclopedic trove include: Presidential Campaigns, Abolition, The Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination, The Temperance Movement, The Suffragette Movement, Long Island History, both World Wars, John F. Kennedy’s Assassination, The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement, The Cold War, The Space Race, and more.

 

Alan York (1925 - 2014) enjoyed a successful career as an optometrist, but it was his avocation as a collector that at times rivaled and surpassed his “official” profession. A lifelong passion for learning and sharing knowledge was the essential engine behind Dr. York’s thoughtfully assembled collections. Beginning as a young boy, encouraged by his father, Alan York became enthralled with philately (the collection and study of postage stamps). Dr. York’s daughter, Barbara York of East Hampton, recounts, “My father’s initial interest in stamps was the catalyst from which the other collections sprung. Through stamp collecting he deepened his knowledge of history, geography, and current affairs.”

Growing up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression, and with limited means, young Alan York worked determinedly to put himself through the Illinois College of Optometry. Upon being drafted into military service during World War II, and recognizing his abilities as a born educator, the U.S. Army assigned Dr. York the task of teaching illiterate G.I.s to read prior to their deployments across the globe. The personal contact and participation in bringing literacy to untold numbers of his struggling peers appealed strongly to Alan’s compassionate nature. After the war, it was this experience that served as the impetus for additional studies at N.Y.U. where he earned a Master’s Degree in Education.

While at N.Y.U. he met, and later married, fellow student Claire Fisher. Together the newlywed couple taught remedial reading, with Claire going on to an impressive career as an educator on Eastern Long Island. After settling in East Hampton, N.Y., the York family expanded with the addition of a son, Steven, and daughter Barbara. The 1950’s and 60’s saw a rapid intensification and expansion of Dr. York’s collecting practices. It was in this period that Alan would join and become a lifelong member of APIC (American Political Items Collectors). Always a devoted husband and father, Alan would often include the entire family on his buying expeditions both domestically and abroad. Explaining her parents’ dynamic, Barbara York recalls that her mother held great respect for Alan’s collecting and often accompanied him to various national conventions. At home, Dr. York would jokingly exclaim, “This (collecting) is my horses, my booze, and my women!”..  While a teenager, Barbara benefited from her father’s encouragement as they began to collect 19th century fashion plates together. When traveling through Europe as a family, Ms. York recalled there would always be “adventures” with oddball dealers and sellers taking them down side streets to off the beaten track shops and bazaars where everyone knew her father by name.

At home on Eastern Long Island, fellow collectors were frequent guests at the York house, as were noteworthy locals such as artists Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning. Dr. York also collected fine art from his guests and their peers, and his collection reflects impeccable taste and a love for Abstract Expressionism, including works by Ray Parker, Kimber Smith, Syd Soloman, and an exceptional painting by Alfonso Ossorio, which fetched an impressive price at Roland in January of 2016. As the legend goes, Dr. York frequently asked, “Why doesn’t anyone write main characters based on optometrists?” Longtime friend and novelist Kurt Vonnegut obliged by giving his “Slaughterhouse Five” protagonist Billy Pilgrim just that occupation. In the coming months, Dr. York’s massive estate swas recently auctioned and included artifacts from American Reconstruction Era through Modern Presidential Campaign Ephemera, American and International Numismatics, International Philately, Soviet and American Space Medals, and an all-inclusive Americana archive.  It contained an outstanding array of museum quality specimens entailing historical treasures pertaining to  “The Founding Fathers” from George Washington through “The Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln.

We are both excited and honored to have acquired a very small part of Dr York’s museum grade collection.  But, we feel the most desirable, treasures from Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 and 1864 Presidential campaigns..  Enjoy viewing these historical prized artifacts below ..

Because can you afford to wait another 50 Years for such a breath-taking Collection to surface?

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