Based on over forty years of experience with historical manuscripts, our company can offer expert advice and service to both private and institutional collectors.
We specialize in American historical autographs of all types, from the colonial era through the twentieth century, but also have historical autographs for sale from other nations and in most subject areas. The individuals represented range from Presidents, royalty, and other government leaders, to scientists and inventors, financiers and industrialists, military and naval officers, religious figures, reformers, explorers, aviators, and significant figures in literature and the arts. We have autographs of Founding Fathers, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, important American Revolution and Civil War personalities, Supreme Court Justices, and famous women. (Please see our Inventory Online section for our current offerings.) The authenticity of every autograph we sell is meticulously researched and is unconditionally guaranteed.
Please note that we do not handle any sports, movie star, or contemporary celebrity autographs.
Catherine Barnes holds a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, where she was awarded several distinguished fellowships and published a prize-winning dissertation. Her extensive scholarly research in manuscripts, beginning in 1970, sparked her love of autographs and gave her the expertise to evaluate their historical content and significance. She began working as an autograph dealer in 1981, and in 1985, established her own business as a full-time dealer, specializing exclusively in autograph and manuscript material.
We belong to the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA) and to the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), trade organizations requiring adherence to the highest professional and ethical standards. Ms. Barnes served as president of PADA from 1999-2002 and was for many years a member of its Board of Directors.
Working with Collectors: We enjoy offering guidance on all aspects of autograph collecting and helping customers build collections that match their interests and tastes. To accommodate different collectors' needs, we handle autographs of all types - from signatures to letters and documents to signed photos and signed books - and at all price levels. In every case, we strive to offer interesting material in good condition that is carefully authenticated, accurately described, and fairly priced.
Wants Lists: We invite collectors to advise us of their current areas of interest. We maintain want lists, and many autographs are offered, as they become available, directly to customers who have informed us of their interests. We can also search for specific items for you.
New Inventory via Online Catalogues: We regularly present new autographs in our inventory on our web site; these online catalogues, posted on our Recent Additions page, provide detailed, well-researched descriptions of each item and images of most (see our Inventory Online section). When new catalogues are posted, we email brief announcements to those collectors for whom we have email addresses. Send us an email or use our Contact page to sign up for these email notices. Please note that we do not share customer email addresses with anyone.
Gifts: Autographs make unique and wonderful gifts, and we love to find the right one for each person for any special occasion. Please contact us to let us know of your needs and the particular interests of the recipient. If you are unsure what the recipient would like best, gift certificates are available.
Visits: Our office is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Visitors are most welcome, but by prior appointment only, please.
"What I learned very quickly is that Catherine Barnes is one of the most highly respected, and knowledgeable, people in her field. She was recommended by two major print dealers who assured me of her expertise. She produces an impressive catalogue which gets wide circulation to a broad and serious clientele. Her research is impeccable, and she has established herself as one of the top dealers in a variety of historical documents, signatures, and letters." L.L., Massachusetts
"There is no one in the entire autograph business who is more respected than you." C.L., New Jersey
"Fantastic item and perfect service from you - the best dealer I know." A.W., Germany
"You've helped me build a very meaningful collection - every item I've purchased from you has great historical content.... You are my favorite dealer. Great inventory and totally trustable." E.E., Connecticut
"I have really appreciated working with you and the highly professional manner in which you dealt with all the details." P.M., Canada
"I am highly delighted with the purchase, first rate packaging, excellent prompt service; it’s an absolute pleasure to do business with you." M.D., England
"I cannot thank you enough for again working with us on a purchase - we absolutely love what we have gotten from you." J.M., Ohio
"I am always impressed by your professionalism." R.H., New York
"Thanks for the great service as usual." P.K., Illinois
"As always, you do a great job of researching, cataloguing, shipping." H.S., New York
"We are grateful for the pieces from your wonderful and eclectic collection we have received over the years." J.C., New Jersey