Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 86

The Manuscripts, Collectibles & Space Auction

The William K. Steiner Collection - War of 1812
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 303
Key, Francis Scott (1779-1843) American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, best remembered for writing the poem, "Defence of Fort M'Henry," which became the lyrics of the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1931. Autograph letter signed ("F S Key"), 3 pages, one full page being written by Keys and two other pages being written by Keys' daughter Ellen and his son Henry, 9 x 7½ in., no place, "Sunday night." With holograph address leaf to his son, Charles, in Elkridge Landing, Maryland, with manuscript postage and "Ch 130. FSK."

An affectionate, fatherly letter, in part: "We have just recd your letter. Your mother says she did say that if your brother Frank came for Henry, or sent for him to take him home, so that he would not want the 2½$ he left with your sister Maria, you might have it….We are sorry…you ever mentioned it to Henry…It was mortifying to him…I would have lost the eleven pence rather than have spoken to him about it….I hope now you will tell Henry you are sorry you mentioned any thing about the money, & make friends. Never be ashamed, my dear boy, when you have done or said any thing wrong or unkind, to acknowledge it, & be reconciled…." On pages 2 and 3 is a long letter and postscript from Key's daughter Ellen to her brother.

Francis Scott Key and his wife had eleven children, six sons and five daughters. Their fifth son, Phillip Barton Key (1818-1859), was murdered by Congressman (and later, Union general) Daniel Sickles of New York, who discovered that Key was having an affair with his wife Teresa Bagioli Sickles. Sickles, who was known to be a serial adulterer, was acquitted on the basis of temporary insanity, the first time in the U.S. that this defense was used.
Estimated Value $1,000 - 1,200.
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