Lancaster, PA. – With nearly 60 years’ experience and now with their third generation of auctioneers, H.K. Keller have helped hundreds of sellers and thousands of buyers find and bid on their perfect item.
After uncovering Theodore Stillwell’s vintage and unique Rare Autograph Collection, H.K. Keller are now excited to offer this one-of-a-kind sale to the public.
Elderly Sister’s Discovery Uncovers a World of Autograph Treasures
When it was finally time to move out of their life-long family home and into a retirement facility, sisters Gloria and Nancy Stillwell of Ephrata, PA knew they couldn’t take it all with them. With the assistance of a local real estate agent, they contacted an auctioneer to help them with the transition.
While there were some things in the home with little value, a trunk in the attic caught the auctioneer’s eye. The ladies were aware of their father’s hobby, but they weren’t sure people would actually want the autographs that he had collected.
Inside the trunk were hundreds and hundreds of autographs from the 1940s and 1950’s. These autographs included famous athletes, military heroes, cultural icons, celebrities, heads of state, and world leaders.
Mr. Theodore Stillwell was born in 1907 and lived his whole life in the Ephrata, PA area. He was a career US postal worker. Although he never travelled, he enjoyed living a “world-wide” life vicariously through writing hundreds of letters throughout the 1940s. His letters afforded him the opportunity to collect an array of autographs, photos, flags, military patches, and correspondence.
Highlights include Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. This 1947 letter personalized to Stillwell refers to Robinson being too new to the Brooklyn Dodgers team to request a baseball. There is also a Honus Wagner signed photo and a Mrs. Eleanor Gehrig (Lou Gehrig) letter. This is an autographed football from Amos Alonzo Stagg, an American athlete who played for Yale in 1885-1889, Springfield YMCA and college coach. There are signed items from American manufacturer, Aviator, and movie producer, Howard Hughes, and from Gen. George S. Patton, plus even more.
One of Stillwell’s letters to Patton dated March 20, 1943, is in the Library of Congress and is noted in the dissertation “In need of a hero? The Creation and Use of the Legend of General George S. Patton, Jr” by Nathan C. Jones, curator, historian, author, and museologist at The General George Patton Museum.
This impressive collection was discovered in December of 2021 in a trunk in the attic of the family home. This collection was reviewed by JSA, James Spence Authentication. Notable autographs received a Letter of Authenticity (LOA) or a Basic Certificate (COA).
This exciting auction is an opportunity for the public to secure many unique and one-of-a-kind autographs.
“We are honored to have discovered this treasure chest,” said Tim Keller, lead auctioneer, “Not only for the sisters, but also for the fact that these autographs, letters, and flags will be treasured by others for years to come. We are happy to bring this collection out of a foot locker to be enjoyed by the world.”
While online bidding is open now, a live auctioneer will be selling the items on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022 at 11:00am Eastern Time through an internet-only simulcast auction.
To find out more about the auction, H.K. Keller’s list of services or how they can help your family or business experience the same success selling their assets as their long list of happy customers, please call H.K. Keller at 717-879-0110 or visit HKKeller.com
About H.K. Keller
Our story began in 1941 when a 9-year old boy attended an auction with his grandfather. He was struck by the energy of the room, the kindness of the auctioneer, and the excitement of it all. Harold Keller knew right then and there he wanted to be an auctioneer.
Contact H.K. Keller
1525 Oregon Pike Suite 701