University Archives is thrilled to announce its next sale on June 28, 2023: Rare Autographs, Photographs, Books Plus PSA Slabbed. The 410+-lot sale is an outstanding opportunity to acquire exceptional autographed material from the Civil Rights, Art, Business, U.S. Presidential, Science, International, and Military collecting categories, and more. University Archives regulars will recall our January 2022 and November 2022 sales, which featured significant subgroupings of PSA/DNA and CAG encapsulated relics. Our June 2023 sale, back by popular demand, will feature over 170 lots of highly desirable slabbed pieces, many graded, from every imaginable collecting category.
Our June sale offers a tremendously varied selection of historical items, with one of our strongest categories being Civil Rights history. Lot 110 is a 2pp typed letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church stationery dated November 13, 1958. At that time, MLK, Jr. was recuperating from a recent unsuccessful assassination attempt, while simultaneously trying to plan and budget for a 10-day side trip to the Soviet Union in early 1959. One of the reasons why MLK, Jr. wanted to visit was to observe firsthand Soviet attitudes towards people of color: “As a Negro I have special concern with the influence that Soviet theory and practice have had upon the millions of colored peoples who populate the less industrially developed areas of the world…” His reasons for wanting to go, outlined in this remarkable letter, show how ambitious his plans were.
Lot 79 is a rare Walt Disney signed sketch of Mickey Mouse; while Disney had created the beloved cartoon character in the 1920s, by the 1940s, he very infrequently drew Mickey himself. Included in the lot is a wonderful sheet with additional autographs and sketches from Walt Disney Studios employees, among them the animators of Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Bacchus, and J. Thaddeus Toad. Disney and staff drew and signed the sketches during a 1941 goodwill trip to South America which resulted in their animated pictures Saludos Amigos (1943) and Three Cabelleros (1945). Accompanied by a Phil Sears COA.
Lot 310 is a 1p typed letter boldly signed by Steve Jobs, PSA/DNA slabbed and graded GEM Mint 10. Jobs, then in his role as Acting Vice President of Marketing at NeXT, Inc., his experimental Redwood City, California start-up, addressed the December 7, 1989 job offer to David Nagy, an Apple product manager. Jobs’s offer of employment prominently features one of his hallmark Jobs-isms: the enthusiastic superlative “insanely great.” Accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from David Nagy (who turned down Jobs’s offer.)
Lot 368 is a vintage Warner Brothers’ press photo of a young Ronald Reagan in football gear, boldly signed by him as “Win one for the Gipper / Ronald Reagan,” PSA/DNA slabbed and graded GEM Mint 10. Reagan’s inscription referred to one of his most famous movie roles in the 1940 Warner Brothers’ picture “Knute Rockne, All-American.” Reagan played George Gipp, the Notre Dame All-American football player who tragically died of complications of pneumonia shortly after securing a victory over Northwestern. “Gipper” stuck with Reagan all the way to the White House.
Lot 334 is a 1p autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln, PSA/DNA slabbed and authenticated. Lincoln penned the March 27, 1858 letter to Jackson Grimshaw, the opposing counsel of a Missouri/Illinois land dispute case, in part: “You see I ask you to admit more points for me, than I admit for you…” Admitting points was an important component of legal cases because it often expedited a mutually agreed upon resolution between the two sides. Judging from this letter, it is easy to see how Lincoln, just two years away from winning the presidency, would soon bring such shrewd strategy to the political arena.
Lot 228 is a 1p typed letter in German signed by Albert Einstein and dated April 23, 1932 recounting to a fellow physicist how the former’s “latest results in general relativity,” and recent work collaboration with Dutch astronomer William de Sitter, had changed Einstein’s “position on the cosmological problem,” or how to most accurately envision and scientifically characterize the universe.
Lot 229 is a 1p autograph letter in German signed by Sigmund Freud on personal stationery, dated January 10, 1937. The letter addressed to a genealogist (and also a distant relative of Freud’s), contains highly unusual content relating to Freud’s maternal Russian Jewish family. Freud was remarkably reticent about his personal life, but he admitted in the letter, “I am finding a large number of respectable persons in there,” meaning his family tree. Freud’s ancestry forced him to flee the following year, in 1938; four of Freud’s sisters who remained were murdered during the Holocaust.
Lot 201 is a letter boldly signed by Peter the Great, one of the most coveted of royal autographs, and ex-Charles Sigety. The letter in Russian Cyrillic is dated October 18, 1710 and was addressed Frederick I, King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenberg, the tsar’s future ally in an anti-Swedish coalition during the Great Northern War. On the surface of the letter, Peter I congratulated Frederick on the birth of a grandson; but the subtext is clear: Peter was sending personal greetings in order to maintain good diplomatic relations with his neighbor and military ally.
Lot 179 is a 1p typed letter signed by George S. Patton, Jr., accompanied by Patton’s own ribbon bar and U.S. collar insignia, sent on August 5, 1923 to a San Francisco military collector. Patton, then a major, was one year away from graduating from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas when he wrote in part: “I am not real famous…I am a Fighting soldier…”
Lot 162 is a pair of handwritten letters from Civil War nurse Clara Barton, one signed and one unsigned, describing events during the Siege of Petersburg. The 5pp autograph letter dated July 1, 1864 and the 1p autograph letter signed dated July 13, 1864 include great military content. In one section, Barton writes that she is “sitting in the midst of fourteen lines of tents, all filled with used up, cut up and worn out, men…” In addition to war injuries and battle fatigue, the men are malnourished; Barton writes how much the soldiers appreciate fresh butter and hard-boiled eggs.
Lot 208 is a remarkably lengthy, 26pp autograph letter signed by Samuel Clemens, dated December 1893. The letter paints a loving, intimate portrait of Clemens’ relationship with his wife Livy and their three daughters Susy, Clara, and Jean. Other important literary and business topics range from Twain’s request of Bram Stoker of a Henry Irving photograph for Livy; and more worrying details about Twain’s heavy investment in Paige’s typesetting machine, which would soon lead to his bankruptcy.
Lot 121 is a correct copy of John Binns’ 1819 engraving of the Declaration of Independence, which faithfully reproduces the text at center, and is complete with a facsimile signature of John Quincy Adams.
These are just a few of the amazing lots that will be offered in our June sale. We hope you can join us!