Sale 1260 — 2022 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
Category — Spanish-American War: the Furhman Correspondence of Patriotic Covers
VERY FINE. THIS COLLECTION OF 128 SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR PATRIOTIC COVERS FORMED BY RICHARD H. FUHRMANN AT THE TURN OF THE 20TH CENTURY HAS BEEN SUBSEQUENTLY OWNED BY TWO DIFFERENT COLLECTORS FOR AT LEAST 60 YEARS AND PROBABLY LONGER. IT FORMS A BRIDGE ACROSS THE SEPARATE COLLECTING DISCIPLINES OF PHILATELY, POSTAL HISTORY, MILITARY HISTORY AND AUTOGRAPH COLLECTING IN A SPECTACULAR WAY. ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL AND EXCITING OFFERINGS THE SIEGEL FIRM HAS EVER MADE.
Dr. Richard H. Fuhrmann was an eighteen-year old living in his parents' home at 3221 California Avenue in St. Louis in 1898 when he started his campaign to obtain patriotic envelopes with autographs of more than 120 military figures who participated in the Spanish American War, including President Theodore Roosevelt and Admiral George Dewey. Fuhrmann explained in his letter which accompanied each envelope and request: "As I am a philatelist and desire to add a patriotic section to my exceptionally large collection of postage stamps and envelopes, I kindly request of you to inscribe your name, with what Infantry and where stationed at the present time under the word 'From' on the enclosed addressed envelope, and see that it is deposited in the mails."
The existence of Fuhrmann's extraordinary collection of Spanish American War patriotic covers has never been widely known. At one time the entire group belonged to William H. Semsrott, a prominent St. Louis collector, who sold it more than 50 years ago to the late J. Leonard Diamond. In a note to Diamond after selling the Fuhrmann correspondence (except for two relatively minor covers), Semsrott wrote, "Have fun!!! You now have the greatest. I'm sad."
In the interest of preserving Richard Fuhrmann's legacy, we are offering the collection intact and are hopeful that another collector will take the curatorial mantle. We strongly recommend using our website to download the PDF of the complete collection, as well as a spreadsheet with a complete list of 121 names represented by the 128 covers. Our estimate should prove to be conservative, as several of the covers are worth substantial four-figure values--for example, the cover signed "Theodore Roosevelt, Col. Rough Riders" and the other covers with the signature of the famous military leader depicted in the printed patriotic design (the "matching" covers). Many covers, if offered individually, would draw keen competitive interest from specialists in Cuba, the Philippines and Hawaii.