American Presidential Treasures Auction a Touchstone to History

Pieces of the collection from Melvin "Pete" Mark go up for auction this week in Dallas

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Pieces of American history are up for auction this week at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

The 'American Presidential Treasures Auction' will feature some of the pieces from prolific collector Melvin "Pete" Mark, who continued to collect history until his death in 2017.

"This is the best of the best," Joe Maddalena, Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President, said. "I wanted something that Pete would have been proud of; a catalog that this would have meant something to him."

Maddelena was a personal friend of Mark, who helped him collect history over the decades.

Auction items include President John F. Kennedy's rocking chair, President Eisenhower's B-52 flight jacket, President Truman's top hat, and more.

"It's extraordinary! From the birth of democracy in 1733, the first printing of the Magna Carta, right until Reagan telling Mr. Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall'," Maddelena said. "Pete's collection had everything."

A few items included: a German 'Enigma' encrypting machine, and the only known copy of the Atlantic Charter.

"So this is the actual document that was signed by Churchill and Roosevelt for the Atlantic Charter," Maddelena said. "That was the quest of this, was to have something where somebody could walk in; be like 'oh my God, I'm in the moment!' The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, they're all there."

Mark's son, Jim Mark, said his dad's wish was to sell some of the items after he died so he could share his love of history with others.

"We grew up with it, and he even had a number of pieces in my room growing up," Mark said. "So yeah, it was a part of history that was on the walls and in cases, and freely available. He liked to sit down and talk about it anytime he could get somebody to sit down and talk about it. Yeah, he loved doing that."

The American Presidential Treasures Auction is on May 7 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

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