"In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind."

The Mars & Neptune Trust

- Edmund Burke

The Trust and Benefit Auctions

Although The Mars & Neptune is a 501(c)3 nonprofit research- and education-based organization, it funds a portion of its operating costs through entrepreneurial collaborations that include benefit auctions and private sales or exchanges of important artifacts consigned or donated by museums, archives and private collectors.  The Trust staff working on these projects do such pro bono ​and receive no salary or commission, with the Trust itself accruing a modest, fixed management fee for organizing and facilitating these deaccessions by sale or exchange.   


The Trust held its Inaugural Sale of important martial and naval arms, militaria, manuscripts and related early Americana on Saturday, October 19, 2019 in Windsor, Connecticut.  The cataloged sale of 182 lots, which included deaccessions from three museums, resulted in more than $500,000 in hammer prices (not including buyer premiums) for the 151 lots sold, with an additional $65,000 for three lots in accepted post-sale offers.  Leading the sale was the portrait of a colonial American artillery officer painted by William Williams in 1772, which hammered at $55,000, a new record for this important, but obscure English artist working in Philadelphia (1747-1769) and New York (1769-c. 1776) who is credited with being the first painting instructor of Benjamin West.  Other notable sales included an illustrated, 1778 manuscript copy of William Congreve’s "Exercise and Manouvres" for two Light 6 Pounders at $17,000 hammer, Mather Brown’s magnificent oil of Smugglers Pushing Off Their Boat at $25,000 hammer and a French Model 1717 Rampart Musket for $22,500.  We are happy to note that the majority of pieces sold were acquired by American and Canadian museums.  All net proceeds from the auction are dedicated to support Trust programs and those of their partner museums.