University Archives


Mao Zedong SIGNED Presentation Copy of the Tenth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China

Tenth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China, special presentation copy SIGNED by Mao Zedong in brilliant red ink. White silk covers, prepared for the Soviet Civil war hero and military leader, Marshal Semyon Budenny (1883-1973), a deputy Politburo member. Oversize heavy volume, 15" x 10.5" (37 x 27cm), profusely illustrated, printed in Cyrillic, 588 pages on thick paper stock.  The flyleaf contains the printed dedication (in Russian) of "To Marshal Semyon Mikhailovich Budenny on occasion of the PRC's 10th Anniversary/October 1954(sic)/PRC Chairman Mao Zedong". Chairman Mao's signature is located just below the inscription, blazed in red ink. Light water stains to the front cover, else near fine.

When it comes to world leaders few are as influential, or as controversial, as China’s Mao Zedong. To some he’ll always be the architect of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution – two of the most devastating directives in Chinese history. To others he’s the Great Helmsman, who pushed China to a place at the top table of nations. Modern China is very different to how it was in Mao’s time, but you’ll still see his influence throughout the political system. After he took power in 1949, he executed an overarching series of reforms. Some of these were devastating. Tens of millions died in the famines caused by his push to transition China into an industrial nation. Mao has been compared with other brutal fascist leaders for the damage his ideology caused. And yet, there are still many in China who revere Mao for getting the nation a seat at the top table. For driving out the imperialists and standing the country back on its feet. Whichever side of the argument you stand, there’s no denying his importance. China looks the way it does today because of Mao. His autograph is incredibly rare. Chairman Mao wasn’t someone you could just approach and ask for an autograph. He was constantly surrounded by guards. He lived the life of a virtual recluse in Zhongnanhai, a compound in Shanghai’s Forbidden City, and rarely ventured out. Given his importance to Chinese history, you won’t be surprised to learn the demand for his autograph is intense.

Very few examples of his signature have ever been offered for sale. Chairman Mao's signature and autograph notes are exceedingly scarce, highly collectible, and sell for atmospheric prices. No other Asian autograph commands as much. In 2019, Sotheby's sold an autographed signed note by Mao for 519,000.00 GBP (equivalent to $685,600.00), and in 2017 at Sotheby's an unsigned autographed note by Mao reached stratospheric levels selling at 704,750.00 GBP. Even a simple signed photograph of Mao has hammered for nearly $200,000.00.

The important book offered here is the product of the period when Sino-Soviet relationships had reached their apex. In 1959, the Soviet Union provided China with financial, technical and military assistance, and accounted for more than half of the Chinese foreign trade. The 10th anniversary celebrations of founding of the People's Republic of China were held on October 1, 1959. The main event was held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. A grand banquet with many international dignitaries had been organized on the preceding evening.  On the evening of September 30, 1959, a jubilee banquet was hosted in the Great Hall of the People. Around 5,000 people attended the banquet, including guests from around 80 countries. Nikita Khrushchev personally flew to Beijing to attend the 10th anniversary of the PRC celebration. Mao Zedong and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev entered the hall together, meeting applause. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Soviet Premier Khrushchev presented their greetings at the banquet. This book includes several photographs taken during this visit. Later individualized "white silk" presentation Russian language copies of the 10 Let KNR were sent to Soviet VIPs.  Marshal Semyon Mikhailovich Budenny, to whom this book was dedicated to, was the founder of the Red Cavalry, which played an important role in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War.

Mao may be a divisive figure but he is an important one. It is impossible to understand modern China today without understanding Mao's influence.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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