An autograph album from 1862 containing the signature of Abraham Lincoln and 226 members of his administration and Congress, a manuscript penned by Sir Isaac Newton with mathematical notes and calculations relating to Book III of his iconic scientific work Principia, and a one-page typed letter from 1919 signed by Vladimir Lenin as Chairman of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense Council are a few expected star lots in University Archives’ online-only auction of rare autographs, manuscripts, artwork and comic art slated for May 26th.
The auction, packed with a little more than 400 lots, has a start time of 10:30 am Eastern time. The catalog is up for viewing and bidding now, on the revamped University Archives website (www.UniversityArchives.com), as well as the platforms LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. It’s just the third auction that will be conducted from University Archives’ new, 6,000-square-foot facilities in Wilton, Conn.
“Our May auction includes all of the items collectors have come to expect from the presidential, world leaders and science categories, with the addition of fun and unusual items encompassing comic art, entertainment, aviation/space, sports, music and criminalia,” said John Reznikoff, the president and founder of University Archives. “We have you covered if you’re in the market for a great George Washington signed document or a Paul Stanley signed and stage-played guitar.”
Major categories include presidential (Washington to Obama); science (Einstein, Newton, Edison, etc.); world leaders (Lenin, Trotsky, Horatio Nelson, etc.); art (comic art, Maurice Sendak, Charles Schulz, Warhol, etc.); space / aviation (Lindbergh, Russian cosmonauts, Neil Armstrong, the Enola Gay, etc.); religion (Methodism, John and Samuel Wesley, Mormons, Quakers, etc.); African American (MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, etc.); and early American (Rev War, John Hancock, etc.).
The Victorian autograph album compiled by Pennsylvania Congressman William M. Davis contains 226 signatures of Lincoln administration officials and members of the 37th U.S. Congress, including President Abraham Lincoln himself as well as seven of his eight cabinet members (Hamlin, Seward, Chase, Bates, Welles, Cameron and Smith), and the autographs of about 217 statesmen, including the future president, Andrew Johnson (est. $12,000-$14,000).
Sir Isaac Newton’s handwritten notes and calculations, scrawled on both sides of a small scrap of paper, are from an important collection and are expected to achieve $100,000-$150,000. The notes speculate about the exact position of stars and comets and would be formalized in Book III of Newton’s monumental work, Principia. The last very similar Newton autograph manuscript related to Principia came on the market in October 1999 and was auctioned for over $230,000.
The typed letter signed by Vladimir Lenin as Chairman of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense Council during the Russian Civil War (est. $60,000-$70,000) was addressed to a future victim of Stalinist Purges, the People’s Commissariat Artemic B. Khalatov. The letter, dated Dec. 19, 1919, is in Russian and typed in the Cyrillic alphabet. Lenin wishes Khalatov a speedy recovery and swift return to work. Ironically, Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, later ordered Khalatov’s execution.
The auction features three items relating to Albert Einstein. These include a three-page scientific manuscript pertaining to his Unified Field Theory from the 1940s (“I want to try to show that a truly natural choice for field equations exists") (est. $60,000-$70,000); and a black and white photo of Einstein, taken in 1955 by photographer Yousuf Karsh, who said the image reveals the “brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit may be reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude.” The photo is signed by Einstein (as “A. Einstein 55” – the year he died).
A carte de visite of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, signed by him and taken around 1864 in the studios of Vannerson & Jones (Richmond, Va.), with Lee dressed in his Confederate greys, mounted to a 2½ inch by 3¾ inch card stock, should bring $4,000-$5,000. Also, a collection of Civil War views by the famed photographer Alexander Gardner, including battlefield shots of Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, is expected to command $2,000-$2,400.
An Act of Congress signed in type by George Washington as President and John Adams as Vice President on May 8, 1794, permanently establishing the U.S. Postal Service and making robbing the mails a crime punishable by death, has an estimate of $8,000-$9,000. Also, a two-page letter written by Colombo crime family boss Carmine “The Snake” Persico, dated July 20, 2017, in which he complains the government is plotting to keep him in prison, should hit $2,000-$3,000.
John F. Kennedy’s signed and dedicated 8 inch by 10 inch black and white photo of himself to Mayor Philip Goodman of Baltimore ("For Mayor Philip Goodman - with warm regards and esteem / John Kennedy”) is estimated to earn $3,000-$3,500. Also, Harry S. Truman’s hand-corrected and signed copy of a 21-page typed article exploring the presidential experience, five years after leaving the White Office, should make $3,500-$4,000.
A fantastic color photograph of the first six Soviet cosmonauts in space, signed by all six, 11½ inches by 8½ inches, the signatures inscribed in Cyrillic and the photo date-stamped 1964, has a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-$4,000. Also, a highly detailed original graphite drawing by Maurice Sendak of “Pleasant Fieldmouse”, a near final matted drawing of the frontis for Jan Wahl’s book Pleasant Fieldmouse (1964), which Sendak fully illustrated, should gavel for $2,000-$2,400.
A one-page autograph letter signed by the prominent British Methodist preacher John Wesley (1703-1791), written at Derby, England on July 12, 1788 and regarding a children’s school, is expected to knock down for $3,000-$4,000; while one of the last documents signed by Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), the English flag officer in the Royal Navy, dated Oct. 10, 1805, accompanied by a full issue of The London Times (Nov. 7, 1805), should hit $3,000-$3,500.
For more information about University Archives and the online-only Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Artwork & Comic Art slated for Wednesday, May 26th please visit www.universityarchives.com.