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Government sues Morton Auctions for the second time

The document withdrawn has the signature of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Photos: Courtesy Morton Auctions


For the second time in a span of two months, Morton Auctions it has been denounced for “the probable commercialization” of documents considered Documentary Heritage of the Nation or Historical Monuments. The auctioneer has withdrawn the lots in question.

Last night, at the auction of 252 lots carried out in the framework of the celebration of the 210th anniversary of the Independence of Mexico, lot 77 was withdrawn: a letter signed by the hero Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, dated October 4, 1810, in the one that invites Colonel Narciso de la Canal, a member of the Royalist Army, to join the insurgent movement; it was going to come out at a price of between 110 thousand and 130 thousand pesos.

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This is due to the fact that the General Archive of the Nation (AGN) filed a criminal complaint with the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) against the Morton house and “the other persons who are responsible”, for the probable commercialization of Documentary Heritage of the Nation and requested protection and prevention measures to even stop the auction – which did not happen – and “secure the historical documents,” the agency reported yesterday in a statement.

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The AGN mentions that there are 75 lots, “equal amount of historical documents with indications of being Documentary Heritage of the Nation”, but does not detail which ones. It only points out that “the documents in question deal with testimonies of various correspondence exchanged by leaders of the Independence movement, edicts related to the formation of the first Mexican empire, and parties on the establishment of the republican government after the ephemeral first empire.”

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Last night, lot 102 was not sold either, although it was auctioned, a document signed by Francisco Xavier Mina, a precursor of guerrilla warfare. According to Morton, this form “is extremely rare,” since Mina spent just eight months in New Spain before his execution. It had a starting price of 40 thousand pesos.

One of the best-valued documents was a letter from José María Liceaga, José María Morelos y Pavón and José María Cos, addressed on November 22, 1814 to Commander Juan Antonio Romero about the Formation of a Military Academy, which was finished at 80 thousand pesos.

The other complaint against the auctioneer was filed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) on July 7, also before the FGR, for the sale of manuscripts from the 18th and 19th centuries that the firm had scheduled for the 21 of July.

For many of yesterday’s lots there was no offer.

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