University Archives is thrilled to announce its upcoming sale on November 2, 2022 at a brand-new start time of 11:00 AM EDT. At over 450 lots, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books presents an exciting opportunity to acquire superb historical documents, relics, photographs, artwork, and ephemera. A full quarter of the sale, or 117 lots, is comprised of highly collectible slabbed items either graded or certified by PSA/DNA or CAG. U.S. Presidential/First Ladies, Science, International/World Leaders, and Slabbed pieces are sure to dominate bidder interest. Items from the Aviation/Space, Music, Art, and Early American collecting categories should also see lots of action.
U.S. Presidential & First Ladies
Our U.S. Presidential & First Ladies category is particularly strong, featuring items representing presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump, and first ladies including Edith Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama, and others.
An extraordinary highlight is George Washington’s boldly signed letter, written at Continental Army winter headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey on February 20, 1777. Washington had recently achieved two important victories at the Battles of Princeton and Trenton, so he was cautiously optimistic when he reported to Brigadier General Alexander McDougall that he did “not apprehend you will be in any danger of an Attack in your quarter for some time yet, as the Enemy from their late Motions are drawing this way.” But Washington still advised McDougall to remain vigilant and keep forces at the ready.
Another treasure is a Civil War-dated petition featuring both signatures of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson in their roles as president and vice president, extremely rare because Johnson only served as VP for six weeks before Lincoln’s assassination. The petition, submitted by Unionist residents of Montgomery County, Tennessee, urged Lincoln to extend amnesty to a local man, Confederate Tennessee infantry soldier James H. Acree, then imprisoned at Fort Delaware. On March 16, 1865, Johnson seconded the men’s petition, assuring Lincoln in a 39-word autograph note that most of the petitioners were “personally known to me.” The next day, Lincoln authorized the amnesty in an 18-word endorsement and signature; Acree was released less than a week later.
The capstone of any presidential collection would be the Hilborn-Hamberger, Inc. ceremonial sword mounted on John F. Kennedy’s catafalque while it was displayed in the East Room of the White House in November and December 1963. The sword, with its elaborately etched blade measuring 31” long, white shark skin and brass wire-wrapped grip, and stiff sword knot is a striking example of military craftsmanship, and a poignant reminder of how Jackie Kennedy memorialized her husband by drawing on mourning ritual in the assassination aftermath.
Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Carl Jung, and Richard Leakey are just some of the leading scientific minds featured in our November sale. Albert Einstein’s 1p autograph letter signed in German dated April 7, 1926 and addressed to colleague Hans Reichenbach condemned scientific theories advanced to compete with his own. Einstein rejected physicist Hermann Weyl’s claims that electricity and geometry could prove just as much as Einstein’s studies on gravitation and geometry, writing, “It would be incorrect to assume that ‘Geometrization’ is something fundamental. It is nothing more than a donkey’s bridge for discovering numerical laws…” Einstein’s scornful use of the German phrase “Eselsbrücke,” or “donkey’s bridge,” is a colorful one; it means a mental tool or mnemonic device used to help humans (and even donkeys) retain information.
Josef Stalin, Elizabeth II, and Mahatma Gandhi lead our International/World Leaders category. Josef Stalin boldly signed an award bestowing the Stalin Prize, Second Degree on Soviet engineer Arkady Andreevich Markin for developing strategies to boost World War II aviation gasoline production ca. 1942. Just 16 years later, in 1968, Markin would propose using nuclear-powered pumps to force Pacific Ocean waters into the Arctic zone to melt the polar ice caps, increasing the area of arable Soviet farmland!
Lots 339-456 will provide collectors with the same quality and variety of regular auction items, with the added appeal of grading, certification, and physical slabbing.
One of the premier items of this category is a PSA/DNA certified autograph letter signed by Mahatma Gandhi as “Bapu.” Gandhi wrote this encouraging message in Gujarati to a friend named Dr. Balvantrai Kanuga on March 8, 1947, just five months before India gained its long-awaited swaraj, or self-rule, and just ten months before Gandhi was assassinated. Gandhi wrote in part, “Always sorrow and happiness chase us in a pair. We cannot separate them.” This philosophical outlook seems to anticipate future events, for, in a perfect illustration of yin and yang, Gandhi’s death followed on the heels of Indian independence.
A PSA/DNA certified Type I UPI press photo captured a haunting image of Robert F. Kennedy, lying prone on the floor of the Ambassador Hotel, just moments after being fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968. A PSA/DNA graded NM 7 promissory note signed and inscribed by John Hancock relates to another less well-known Triangular Trade that enriched colonial North America: the one connecting Canada, Europe, and southern England.
These are just some of the fascinating lots in our November sale. We hope you can join us!