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Extra! Extra! Great Chicago Fire Artifacts Up For Auction

By DNAinfo Staff | July 7, 2017 11:55am | Updated on July 7, 2017 12:01pm

NORTH CENTER — Described as rare artifacts, a newspaper "extra" and a poster declaring martial law after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 are up for sale Saturday at a North Side auction house.

A special edition of the The Chicago Post about the fire, dated October 9, 1871, and a "broadside" issued by Mayor Roswell B. Mason turning over control of the city security to General P.H. Sheridan are being offered by Potter & Potter Auctions, 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave.

Fine Books magazine describes the pair of artifacts as "two of the rarest items to survive from the fire," explaining that printed materials from the disaster "are incredibly rare."

Only two other copies of the newspaper are known to exist and only one other of the broadside, the latter at Newberry Library. Fine Books estimates the "near fine" condition newspaper and "rare" broadside will bring $10,000 together.

The Chicago Post extra is headlined CHICAGO ON FIRE! and describes "the fire fiend" that destroyed much of the city.

[Potter & Potter Auctions]

"Last night about nine o' clock a fire broke out in a barn on the corner of Twelfth and DeKoven streets, occasioned by a cow kicking over a lamp," the report reads. "An alarm was quickly sounded but the high wind prevailing at the time caused the building to burn and the fire to spread rapidly."

Before the firefighters could contain the blaze "several buildings were in flames and the firemen were forced to give way to the devouring element."

"The Court House, the Water Works, the Principal Hotels, and the Best Business Blocks in the City Entirely Destroyed," said the paper.

"Wabash and Michigan avenues, as far south as Twenty-second street, are lined with household goods and merchandise and guarded by weary and weeping women and children," a reporter observed.

RELATED: 5 Things You May Not Know About The Great Chicago Fire

The broadside explains how Chicago police would work with the Army to preserve "the peace and quiet of the city."

[Potter & Potter Auctions]

For more information on how to bid, click here.