Winter Auction 2015 closing February 7
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/8/2015

Arguably the most historic and important pen of the 20th century, a fountain pen manufactured by Esterbrook – the first pen used by President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964. President Johnson used 72 pens to sign the landmark legislation into law, handing them out to dignitaries like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. This particular pen was handed to Speaker of the House John W. McCormack and was the historically significant FIRST pen used to sign this significant bill into law .

These days we take certain rights and privileges for granted, we assume that as Americans we are all equal in the eyes of the law that none of us can be legally discriminated against because of our sex, race, color or national origin, but it wasn’t always that way. Despite the fact that the 13th, 14th, and 15th, amendments to the Constitution, guaranteed citizenship, made slavery illegal, and supposedly provided equal protection under law and protected the right to vote, minorities continued to be discriminated against by individual states under Jim Crow laws that allowed segregation. These practices were upheld by the Supreme Court throughout the first half of the 20th century ever since its “separate but equal” ruling in Plesey v. Ferguson in 1895 which continued to perpetuate discrimination for decades to follow even after members of many ethnic minorities served in the U.S. military during the first and second World Wars. Many legislative attempts to overturn discriminatory practices were made after World War II, the most significant of which was the Supreme Court’s decision in the Brown v the Board of Education case of Topeka, Kansas which ruled that “separate educational facilities were inherently unequal,” and in violation of the 14th amendment. Civil Rights bills had been placed before Congress annually in the decade prior to the Brown case and in the years to follow and a pair of limited Civil Rights acts passed in 1957 and 1960. By 1963 racial unrest in places like Birmingham, Alabama where the murder of four young grade school girls and two Civil Rights workers brought mounting pressure to pass Civil Rights legislation. President John F Kennedy proposed a Civil Rights act in 1963 but was assassinated before seeing it come to fruition. Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Baines Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King pressed on, and finally after much deliberation including nine days of debate in Congress and 70 public hearings, House of Representatives Bill #7152 passed on February 10, 1964. After a lengthy Senate filibuster President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964 with Dr. King and many other Civil Rights Leaders in attendance. Johnson used a number of pens to sign this broad sweeping legislation, signing Lyndon with one pen, his initial B with another, the period after B with another and Johnson with yet another. The first Lucite pen that Johnson used to sign the bill on that historic day, is presented here in a handsome 17” x 17” cherry wood shadow box display including a 7 ½” x 9” black and white photo of Johnson signing the bill with a mass of pens in front of him and Dr. Martin Luther King standing right behind him while other members of Johnson’s cabinet, congressmen, senators and Civil Rights leaders look on.

The 6 ¼ -inch long clear Lucite fountain pen is embossed with “The President –The White House” on its stem. On a 1” x 3” name plate just below the pen with the following engraving:

“One of the pens used by the President to sign the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964 an act that formally ended segregation.” Johnson insisted that this particular pen be handed to Speaker of the House of Representatives John McCormack, who also signed the bill before the act became a law. In historic newsreel coverage of the event which can be viewed here:

President Johnson can be seen and heard saying “Mattie” to one of his Presidential aids as he is doling out pens to the assembled group of congressional leaders, adding “Speaker first…Speaker McCormack first,” as he redistributes the pens in his own hands to make sure they are being given out in the correct order. This pen was purchased by the consigner directly from Speaker McCormack’s estate.

Also included in this historic lot is a pair of relative and pertinent books from Speaker McCormack’s personal library: “The Vantage Point; Perspectives of the Presidency 1963-1969,” written by Lyndon Baines Johnson and published by Holt Rinehart and Winston, Copyright 1971, is a 636-page hardbound first edition with red cover containing a blue Lyndon Johnson signature nameplate and title panel on its biding that includes its original dust jacket and is signed by Lyndon Johnson with the following inscription: “To Harriet and John McCormack Bold and great-humble and kind – Lovers of their country, church and friends-and they served them all faithfully & well with affection-Lyndon Johnson.” Pair of books comes with PSA/DNA LOA.

The second book: “American Roulette; The History and Dilemma of the Vice Presidency,” By Donald Young also published by Holt Rinehart and Winston, Copyright 1965, is a 367-page first edition hardbound book with blue linen fabric cover, inscribed to Speaker McCormack by Huber Humphrey with the following inscription: “To My friend John W. McCormack-a great American- a powerful and just speaker- with admiration-Hubert H Humphrey Dec. 16, 1965 Merry Christmas”.

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $39,105.00
Number Bids: 14
Auction closed on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
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