The Raab Collection

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The Raab Collection is a Pennsylvania-based historical document and autograph dealer whose specialties include documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill and other historical figures from the 16th through the 21st century. Founded in 1989 by attorney and long-time collector Steven Raab, the firm buys, sells and loans historical documents both in the United States and internationally, and assists private and institutional clients in building historically significant collections.[1] Additionally, it is one of the nation’s principal consultants on authenticity of autographs and a frequent presence in media worldwide.[2]

The Raab Collection maintains an active historical document lending program, with pieces from its archives and from the collections of its clients appearing in national exhibits. These include exhibits at The National Constitution Center, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, and Mount Vernon.[3]

Work with descendants[edit]

Many descendants and relatives of famous historical figures, among them Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Ulysses S. Grant, F. Scott. Fitzgerald, William Henry Harrison, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, have come to The Raab Collection to sell their family archives.[4][5]

Notable sales and acquisitions[edit]

Over the years, the firm has handled some of the most important historical documents to reach the market, including Abraham Lincoln's signed order to blockade the Confederacy,[6] Theodore Roosevelt's letter coining the phrase "Speak softly and carry a big stick,"[7] John Brown's will written the morning of his execution, Napoleon's order to invade the Iberian peninsula, Meriwether Lewis' signed pay receipt for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, William McKinley's order ending the Spanish–American War, the original order to seize the Rosetta Stone, Andrew Jackson's order to the Native Americans to move West, starting the Trail of Tears, several scientific manuscripts of Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart's filled in and executed certificate of landing upon becoming the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo, among many others.

The Raab Collection has been featured for its sales and discoveries on CNN, NBC Nightly News, CBS Morning News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and BusinessWeek, among many others.

  • In October 2013, The Raab Collection discovered and sold an unpublished letter of Abraham Lincoln from 1849 and relating to the role of a democracy.[8]
  • In September 2013, the firm sold Thomas Jefferson's order of the first books for the newly revamped Library of Congress, a document also in the hand of explorer Meriwether Lewis.[9]
  • In July 2013, the company discovered and sold an unpublished archive of correspondence on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in the hand of newspaper publisher Horace Greeley.[10]
  • In May 2013, the descendants of the family of Ulysses S. Grant sold to The Raab Collection a collection of documents signed by Grant and President Lincoln, among them Grant's appointment as Major General.[11]
  • In March 2013, The Raab Collection acquired historical documents from the descendants of Presidents William Henry and Benjamin Harrison. As part of this, it sold the original, handheld inaugural address of Benjamin Harrison.[12]
  • In February 2013, The Raab Collection discovered and sold a letter in the hand of Mary Todd Lincoln ordering a baby-sitter for Tad Lincoln.[13]
  • In February 2013, The Raab Collection announced the acquisition and sale of a collection of historical documents from the descendants of the father of the nuclear navy, Admiral Hyman Rickover. The correspondence was largely in the hand of President John Kennedy[14]
  • In March 2012, The Raab Collection sold a document signed by Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet, the so-called "Team of Rivals."[15]
  • In September 2012, The Raab Collection announced the discovery and sale of a previously unpublished letter and "B Free Franklin" signature of Benjamin Franklin[16]
  • In September 2011, The Raab Collection sold a letter of Abraham Lincoln, his final letter to embattled commander George McClellan before relieving him of duty.[17]
  • In September 2010, The Raab Collection sold an unpublished letter of Susan B. Anthony decrying the treatment of women as "pets."[18]
  • In April 2010, the firm sold a letter of Theodore Roosevelt written home to his son from his trip to Yellowstone Park.[19]
  • In November 2009, The Raab Collection sold a long-lost letter of Abraham Lincoln, a rare example of his correspondence with children.[20]
  • In April 2007 the firm offered for sale the original letter in which Theodore Roosevelt coined the term "Speak softly and carry a big stick."[21]
  • In November 2006, The Raab Collection acquired the correspondence of Dwight Eisenhower to brother Edgar from the Eisenhower descendants and sold that correspondence.[22]
  • In September 2004, The Raab Collection sold an extensive collection of letters of Ronald Reagan to congressional ally Senator George Murphy.[23]

The 2011 discovery of the Air Force One John Kennedy assassination tapes[edit]

In late 2011, The Raab Collection announced that it had discovered and would offer for sale an original audio recording of the events on board Air Force 1 immediately following the assassination of President Kennedy. This tape was significantly longer than the only other copy known to exist. On January 30, 2012, Nathan Raab appeared on set on Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss the discovery, which contained new information on the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John Kennedy.[24] Earlier in the week, the firm had been featured on many national media outlets, including CNN,[25] NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,[26] and CBS Morning News with Charlie Rose.[27]

A copy of the tape was donated to the National Archives, where it is now available to the American public.[28]

Nathan Raab as media contributor[edit]

Nathan Raab is a contributor to, where he authors the column "Historically Speaking." One post on August 5, 2013 identified President Barack Obama's signature on the Affordable Care Act as a likely autopen signature. On August 8, 2013, the New York Times published a piece by him on the writings of Abraham Lincoln by Nathan Raab. He is a frequent media presence and expert on historical documents.

Professional affiliations[edit]

Nathan Raab is a member of the Board of Councilors of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of which the firm is an active supporter.[29] Steven Raab is a former member of the Board of Directors at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. The Raab Collection is a founding member of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA) and a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers of America Association (ABAA).


  1. ^ Schwartzman, Brian. "Brothers 'Document' History by Tracking Down Historical Documents." Jewish Exponent 4 Jan. 2007.
  2. ^ Wilson, Greg. "Letter surfaces from Abraham Lincoln calling for bipartisanship, transparency." 21 Oct. 2013
  3. ^ The Raab Collection. "National Constitution Center and The Raab Collection Pay Tribute to Abraham Lincoln." 23 June 2005 <>.
  4. ^ The Raab Collection. "Letters of John Kennedy from the Papers of the Father of the Nuclear Navy." 11 Feb. 2013 [1]
  5. ^ Broom, Dick. "Local Man Handles Eisenhower Letter Sale." Bar Harbor Times Dec. 2006.
  6. ^ The Raab Collection. "National Constitution Center and The Raab Collection Pay Tribute to Abraham Lincoln." 23 June 2005 [2].
  7. ^ The Associated Press. "People: Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards, Deborah Voigt." International Herald Tribune 5 April 2007.
  8. ^ Wilson, Greg. "Letter surfaces from Abraham Lincoln calling for bipartisanship, transparency." 21 Oct. 2013
  9. ^ The Raab Collection. "Steven Raab Addresses the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation." 5 Nov. 2013. [3]
  10. ^ Loviglio, JoAnn. "Horace Greeley Letter Archives Selling for $45,000." Associated Press. 30 Jul. 2013.
  11. ^ Stebner, Beth. "Never-before-seen Lincoln document appointing Ulysses S. Grant's brother-in-law to hospital chaplain." New York Daily News. 28 May 2013
  12. ^ The Raab Collection. "New Acquisitions from the Harrison Family Descendants." 18 Mar. 2013. [4]
  13. ^ Gray, Melissa. "Mrs. Lincoln seeks a baby-sitter in newly published letter." 21 Feb. 2013
  14. ^ The Raab Collection. "Letters of John Kennedy from the Papers of the Father of the Nuclear Navy." 11 Feb. 2013. [5]
  15. ^ Wheeler, Linda. "Signatures of Lincoln and Cabinet found in old book." Washington Post. 6 Mar. 2013.
  16. ^ The Raab Collection. "Catalog Preview: A Great American Rarity: B Free Franklin." 15 Sept. 2012. [6]
  17. ^ Loviglio, JoAnn. "Rare Abraham Lincoln letter for sale." Associated Press. 8 Sept. 2011.
  18. ^ Loviglio, JoAnn. "Philly dealer selling rare Susan B. Anthony letter." Associated Press. 23 Sept. 2010.
  19. ^ Grinberg, Emanuella. "Rare letter from Teddy Roosevelt to son 'Quenty-Quee' hits market." 8 Apr. 2010.
  20. ^ Krajnak, Deb. "Lincoln letter to schoolboy sells for $60,000." 20 Nov. 2009.
  21. ^ Loviglio, JoAnn, "Teddy Roosevelt's Big Stick Letter For Sale." Associated Press. 3 Apr. 2007.
  22. ^ Loviglio, JoAnn. "140 of Eisenhower's letters to brother sold." Associated Press. 30 Nov. 2006.
  23. ^ "Dealer: Reagan letters worth $225,000." 28 Sept. 2004.
  24. ^ The Raab Collection. "Nathan Raab on Piers Morgan Tonight, CNN." 13 Jan. 2012. [7]
  25. ^ Damico, Jackie. "Newly discovered tape from Kennedy assassination for sale." 16 Nov. 2011.
  26. ^ The Raab Collection. "The Raab Collection on NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams." 4 Feb. 2012. [8]
  27. ^ CBS News. "Long-lost JFK assassination tapes up for sale." 15 Nov. 2011.
  28. ^ The National Archives. "National Archives Accessions Newly Discovered Post-JFK Assassination Tape Recording." 30 Jan. 2012. [9]
  29. ^ The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. "Five New Members Appointed to HSP's Board of Councilors." 19 Nov. 2010. [10]

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