The heralded collection of Melvin 'Pete' Mark, seen at the Oregon Historical Society, is going to an auction

The heralded collection of Melvin 'Pete' Mark, seen at the Oregon Historical Society, is going to an ...

Is it possible to look good in Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's "personal 2-star signature" vest? Would you like to stir your morning coffee with a silver spoon created by Paul Revere?

So many wishes are now in your reach. When you receive the highest offer, you must and more than 100 more get a copy of Melvin "Pete" Mark Jr.'s collection on May 7th.

Mark, who died in 2017 at the age of 91, was a keen and diligent collector of extraordinary moments from history in the United States.

"It was really his desire," his son Jim Mark told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The Mark collection is so impressive, with so many rare, one-of-a-kind items, that the Oregon Historical Society sat five different exhibits from it over the years.

The pieces that go under the covers include an Enigma encrypting machine used by the Nazis during World War II, George Washington's Mount Vernon Landscape Plan, and Franklin Roosevelt's 1910 Inaugural speech, in which he famously declared, "The only thing we must must worry is fear itself."

Mark of Melvin "Pete."

The White House chair is on the block, while Gen. George S. Patton's "excessively rare" hand-carved saber and walking stick is on the scene.

Letters from many of the United States' presidents, from Washington to Ronald Reagan, will be auctioned.

One 1961 letter from former President Harry S Truman addresses a request for clarification on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, citing the prospect of "tear shedding" over Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I wish I had hoped to write you about Pearl Harbor's 20th anniversary, Truman said of United Press International. I have very little to say about it, except that the tears that have been shed on account of the atomic bomb should have been shed [over] the Pearl Harbor attack.

Pete Mark's collection includes rare items from the United States' founding (Courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

Pete Mark served as the Melvin Mark Cos.'s long-time managing partner (and then chairman) and in downtown Portland's revival in the 1970s and 1980s, including the construction of Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Over decades, he has undertaken a wide variety of civic-minded actions, including serving on the board of directors of the Portland Art Museum, while continuing to add to his personal collection of historical gems.

Not everything from the collection is in the auction. A few dozen items will be displayed in rotation at Melvin Mark Cos.'s Portland headquarters. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Mary and Pete Mark Foundation. The foundation has supported a wide range of local organizations, including the Oregon Historical Society, the Portland Art Museum, and Central City Concern.

Jim said he expects many of the items in the auction to be auctioned up by museums as well as by philanthropic-minded collectors like his dad.

He said his father became a collector because he recognized the value of knowing and understanding the past, and because he wanted to express his appreciation for history.

Jim said that if a friend had come over, he would want to show the collection and explain the meaning behind each item.

Douglas Perry

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