Rare Autographs, Photographs, Books PLUS PSA Slabbed – June Auction

Jun 19, 2023

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.

Civil Rights

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.)

U.S. Presidential

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.

Early American

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!

Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia – May Auction

May 12, 2023

University Archives is thrilled to announce its next sale on May 31, 2023: Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia. Major collecting categories of the 380+-lot sale include Music, Science, & U.S. Presidential, with outstanding autographed material from Ludwig van Beethoven to George Gershwin; from Albert Einstein and Max Planck to Thomas A. Edison; and from George Washington to Joe Biden. Exceptional items of Civil Rights, Military, Entertainment, Literature, and Sports memorabilia will also pass the auction block. Our lavishly illustrated catalog is up and ready for viewing/bidding!


Ludwig van Beethoven commands an extensive Music category which also includes George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Motown/R & B, and Woodstock. Beethoven autographed material is extremely scarce, and this undated autograph letter in German signed by him as “Beethoven” also features excellent musical content relating to his only opera, “Fidelio,” a love story about a wife disguised as a man rescuing her husband from a political prison. Beethoven’s letter was addressed to Friedrich Sebastian Mayer, the baritone singer who played Don Pizarro the prison governor in the first two productions of “Fidelio.”


Besides Planck, Edison, Morse, and even Henry Heimlich and L. Ron Hubbard, we have three interesting lots related to Albert Einstein in our May sale. One of these is a remarkable script from the mid-1940s NBC television series “Your World Tomorrow” signed by him as “A. Einstein” on the front cover. In the pilot episode, “The Atom,” Einstein’s discovery of his equation E=MCis dramatized through dialogue between “Einstein” and two fictional characters. The series was slated to air in May 1946, less than one year after U.S. forces dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are very few examples of Einstein’s inscribing his famous formula in something other than a book and or in something likewise manufactured, and an Einstein handwritten example of the formula recently fetched over $1.2 million at auction!


Our May sale features U.S. Presidents from George Washington through Joe Biden, with Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan items being especially well-represented.

George Washington boldly signed an October 21, 1799 letter addressed to a Revolutionary War veteran named Captain Abraham Shepherd in the former’s capacity as Commander-in-Chief of Federal Armies under the Adams administration. Washington assumed command of the military after his second presidential term ended, and he would serve until his death two months after this letter was written, in December 1799.

John Adams wrote an incredible autograph letter signed dated March 31, 1801 addressed to Isaiah Thomas, Jr., the Worcester printer of the old Boston Patriot weekly, “Massachusetts Spy.” In it, Adams inquires whether Massachusetts is being overrun by the “moral and political opinions of Virginia” in a veiled reference to recently ascendant Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia Democrats.

Abraham Lincoln penned a Civil War-dated autograph note regarding a brigade surgeon’s appointment in the Excelsior Brigade. This battle unit had been plagued by political in-fighting between disgraced former New York Congressman Daniel Sickles, and his nemesis, New York Governor Edwin Morgan. Lincoln’s note implicitly acknowledges the strained political climate, and was signed on January 13, 1862, the very day he forwarded his presidential nomination of Edwin Stanton as U.S. Secretary of War.


Civil Rights

Martin Luther King, Jr., Booker T. Washington, and the Black Power Movement headline our Civil Rights category. Martin Luther King, Jr. signed a typed letter on “Southern Christian Leadership Conference” stationery on January 18, 1966 concerning the use of the “N” word. To the inquiring man from Haddonfield, New Jersey, King wrote: “The word ‘n–r’ carries with it a meaning deeply rooted in the debilitating racist caste ordering of our society’s slavery epoch and segregation era.” King explained that he favored the term “dark skinned American” to approach the question of nomenclature as objectively as possible, while emphasizing the shared values of American citizens regardless of race.


Collectors of Military and Naval will be pleased with abundant autographed material from the Revolutionary War, Napoleonic Wars, Civil War, and World War II. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson wrote a 1p autograph letter signed to a neighbor on June 29, 1861, when he was commanding the 1st Brigade of the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah. Earlier that Spring, Jackson had conducted multiple raids against the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, one of the Union Army’s principal supply arteries, destroying tracks and bridges, and confiscating locomotives.

An archive of World War II-dated correspondence from Charles Sweeney, pilot of “Bockscar,” paints a vivid portrait of Air Force life before and after the dropping of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sweeney participated in the Hiroshima raid (in an auxiliary plane, “The Great Artiste”) and dropped “Fat Man” from “Bockscar” over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.


The May sale features wonderful material relating to Harry Houdini, Marilyn Monroe, the Marx Brothers, and others from the 19th/20th centuries. A 3pp autograph letter signed by Beatrice Houdini on mourning stationery dated November 9, 1926 provides a moving account of her husband’s death less than two weeks earlier, on October 31st. The letter was uncovered in Germany and to the best of our knowledge has never been published. Houdini’s widow describes the exact circumstances of Houdini’s unexpected death from a ruptured appendix, lamenting, “The world has lost a Genius, but I have lost my Man.”


Literature forms a major subcategory of the May sale, with over 40 lots dedicated to authors like James Joyce, Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene, Henry Miller, and Stephen Crane. Of these, a great percentage includes a single-owner collection of autographed material from Beatniks Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady.

James Joyce signed a limited edition first edition copy of “Finnegans Wake” (1939). Considered one of the most difficult books in the English language, “Finnegans Wake” was much more ambitious in literary aims than even Joyce’s subversive “Ulysses” (1922). The partly uncut and unopened book appears to be unread, and is in near pristine condition.

Allen Ginsberg signed a June 8, 1960 typescript draft of annotated notes that would later become part of “Magic Psalm,” a poem featured in “Kaddish and Other Poems” published by City Lights Bookstore in February 1961. The manuscript was inspired by Ginsberg’s experimentation with hallucinogenic ayahuasca during recent travels in Peru.


Highly collectible May sports memorabilia from baseball and boxing includes signed photos, autographed baseballs, game-worn apparel, and vintage posters and other ephemera from the likes of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, and Muhammad Ali. An archive of six game-worn baseball helmets and jerseys from the Baltimore Orioles, ca. 1990-2016, comes with grading and authentication from JSA and Mears.

We hope you can join us on May 31, 2023. Please view our catalog for further details!

Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics, Signers of the Declaration, & Sports – April Auction

Apr 3, 2023

University Archives is thrilled to announce its next online-only sale, Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics, Signers of the Declaration, & Sports, on April 19, 2023, the 248th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington & Concord. We are embracing the revolutionary spirit by offering 55+ lots of material autographed by Declaration of Independence signers. Other items include historical documents and relics, rare books, oversized vintage photographs, and memorabilia highlighting the best in U.S. Presidential, Early America, Science, Sports, Aviation & Space, International & Judaica, Literature, Art, Music, & Entertainment. Make sure you don’t miss this tremendous collecting and buying opportunity!

U.S. Presidential & First Ladies

Our April sale represents U.S. Presidents from George Washington to Joe Biden, including multiple lots dedicated to Abraham Lincoln (9); Harry S. Truman (9); John F. Kennedy (8); and Jimmy Carter (8). Heeding Abigail Adams’ 1776 entreaty to her husband to “remember the ladies,” we also have a large collection of First Lady autographed material ranging from as early as Caroline Harrison to as recent as Hillary Clinton.

Abraham Lincoln penned a cheerful note to an unidentified young man, probably his eldest son Robert, on the cusp of the November 8, 1864 presidential election. Lincoln wrote: “Bravo! my good boy. Whether Mr. L. shall be re-elected or not, he feels sure that you will stick to the cause of the country.” Lincoln’s use of the third person is unusual, though not without precedent. The jubilant tone of Lincoln’s note belies the fact that he fully expected to lose the 1864 election to George B. McClellan.

Sitting President George Washington and future president Thomas Jefferson boldly signed 3-language ship’s papers for a Martinique-bound schooner on June 6, 1794. The combination of such signatures on a document like this is outstanding, as is the size of each massive signature: 4” for Washington’s and 2.5” for Jefferson’s.

Speaking of oversized, a vintage Ewing & Harris gelatin silver photograph of Teddy Roosevelt signed by the president in the last few months of his second term is truly gargantuan, framed measuring 15.5” x 23” overall. Ex-Krainik Gallery of Vintage Photographs, Ex-Christie’s.

Declaration of Independence Signers

55+ lots of our April sale feature autographed material by Declaration of Independence signers, including John & Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and super rare signer Arthur Middleton. Some signers are represented by multiple lots.

Lot 221 is one of two superb Benjamin Franklin signed items in our April sale. The elegant autograph note signed is dated June 15, 1748, the same year Franklin turned down a colonelcy and instead enlisted in the Pennsylvania militia. The letter, which is likely military in nature, is believed to be addressed to Andrew Pepperrell, the son of Sir William Pepperrell, commander of British Army forces at Louisburg.

Lot 234 is a scarce Revolutionary War-dated autograph letter signed by Francis Lightfoot Lee, signed as “Honble Francis Lightfoot Lee esq.”


Science & Technology continue to perform extremely well. Thomas Edison signed a contract in ca. 1880 Bolivia for a light bulb design first successfully tested in the United States on October 21, 1879. Edison’s international patents often duplicated existing U.S. patents and protected the inventor’s interests abroad.

Albert Einstein signed and inscribed a charming photograph of himself dressed in yachting clothes to Dr. Max Heimann in December 1935. The photo testifies to the physicist’s intractable love of sailing, which often led him into near catastrophe, like running aground and nearly drowning. Accompanied by a PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity.

Richard Feynman’s personally owned copy of John C. Slater’s “Introduction to Chemical Physics” (1939) was gifted to him by his future wife Arline Greenbaum, who has signed on the front loose endpaper as “Putzie.” Feynman has extensively annotated the book.


Our April sale offers collectors exceptional sports memorabilia relating to boxing, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Lot 406 is a vintage photograph of early baseball legends Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, John McGraw, Gabby Street, Christy Walsh, and Nick Altrock signed by them along the bottom. The photo was taken at the 1931 World Series game between the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Lot 405 is a first edition, first printing hardcover copy of Jackie Robinson’s biography, “Wait Till Next Year,” which he cowrote with important Black journalist Carl T. Rowan, dedicated to him on the front loose end paper. Robinson’s inscription dated May 25, 1960 reads in part: “To Carl with best wishes and thanks for all you did to help [make] ‘Wait Till Next Year’ a success. Your participation helped us very much…” Rowan covered current events relating to the Civil Rights movement, and later became the first Black syndicated columnist in America.

Lot 413 is a bloodied and battered white Montreal Canadiens jersey belonging to Bob Gainey, worn by him during the 1978-1979 NHL season, playoffs, and Stanley Cup finals, graded MEARS A10. The jersey is described as showing “heavy use” and shows washed out bloodstains, stick and slash marks, board and friction burn holes, as well as approximately 80 team-sewn fabric repairs. Perfect for the die-hard hockey fan!

We hope you can join us on April 19, 2023. Please view our lavishly illustrated and keyword-searchable catalog for further details!

Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia – March 15, 2023

Mar 14, 2023

University Archives is proud to announce its next 410+-lot sale, Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia, on March 15, 2023. The auction features an exceptional array of U.S. Presidential material from Washington to Obama; unique Science material from Einstein, Hooke, Feynman, and others; and a marvelous miscellany encompassing Early American, Art, International, and Sports collecting categories. Whether you are looking for important historical documents, rare books, original artwork, early photography, or autographed sports memorabilia, University Archives has you covered!

U.S. Presidential

Lot 105 is an autograph album signed by three current and future U.S. Presidents–Lincoln, Grant, and Garfield–and collected by a Civil War veteran from Peoria, Illinois. The extraordinary album is further enhanced by its provenance, an 1896 local newspaper article describing the collector’s son’s recollections of when Lincoln signed the album in Washington, D.C. in 1862. Among the details the then 8-year-old shared was how Lincoln “plac[ed] his foot on the seat of a chair and rest[ed] the book on his knee while marking the signature.” The album also contains approximately 140 additional signatures of mostly Civil War-era military personnel, politicians, and other notables.

Lot 1 is a scarce John Adams autograph letter signed while president addressed to Treasury Secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr. alluding to America’s middling position in the international marketplace. “If you find any usefull hints in it, you know how to make use of them better than your humble servant,” Adams wrote to Wolcott. Adams’ letter was written in response to a bold cover letter from a Baltimore man who claimed he knew how to make the United States more competitive against its rivals England, France, and Portugal.

A remarkable Bill Clinton archive, Lot 14, includes over 30 pieces of correspondence exchanged between the future president and a faithful campaign staffer named Gloria O’Donnell from Clinton’s time as Arkansas governor through his second presidential term.


We have five powerhouse Albert Einstein lots in our March sale which should spark significant interest. Lot 384 is a typed letter signed by Einstein explaining his monumental scientific formula, E = mc2. The formula, which Einstein articulated after conducting research into the theory of relativity, ultimately led to the development of nuclear weapons, an unintended catastrophic result of his research. Einstein deeply regretted the link between his “formula…[and] energy which can be freed by nuclear reactions.”

Also crossing the auction block is Lot 386, an extremely rare document signed by British polymath Robert Hooke relating to the Great Fire of London of 1666. In addition to being one of the greatest scientists of Early Modern Europe, Hooke also served as a Surveyor of the City of London and settled many claims following the conflagration.

Marvelous Miscellany – Early American, Art, International, Sports, Etc.

Lot 223 relates to Paul Revere’s purchase of 4 chaldrons (over 5 net tons!) of coal to fuel his metal-working furnaces in 1787, the same year the U.S. Constitution was signed. Revere signed the receipt issued by a Boston merchant and included a 9-word endorsement in his hand. With remarkable provenance from Revere’s great-great-grandson!

Lot 244 is a colorful Walt Disney signed Sante Fe & Disneyland Railroad and monorail pass issued to NYC transit authority director Sidney H. Bingham ca. 1959, granting him free access to the railway for five years as an “honorary Vice-President.” The Sante Fe & Disneyland Railroad was inaugurated at Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 1955, while the high-tech, German-designed monorail opened in 1959 in conjunction with the rededication of Tomorrowland.

Lot 330 is an elegant manuscript document in Latin signed by French monarch Louis VII at Senlis in 1177, with an interesting connection to the Crusades. The document granting property rights was witnessed/signed by two future French Crusaders, Raoul I, Count of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis and Theobald V, Count of Blois, who were both killed during the Siege of Acre fourteen years later. With outstanding provenance from a Dutch manuscript collector, ex-Charles Hamilton.

Lot 417 is an official baseball signed by 26 New York Yankees players including Thurman Munson during the 1975 season. 20+ lots in the auction are sports collectibles (baseball, boxing, and gymnastics) including autographs, vintage photographs and newspapers, as well as signed or game-worn apparel.

We hope you can join us on March 15, 2023. Please view our lavishly illustrated and keyword-searchable catalog for further details!

Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia – February 1, 2023

Jan 14, 2023

University Archives is hosting its first sale of 2023 on February 1st. At over 450 lots, Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia will offer many exceptional buying and collecting opportunities. Our February sale is especially strong in the U.S. Presidential, Early American, Science, and Sports collecting categories, with 25 lots of the sale relating to professional baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, soccer, and even horse-racing! In addition, Aviation/Space, Entertainment, Literature, Art, and Music categories are abundantly represented. February’s assortment of historical documents, rare books, photographs, relics, ephemera, exonumia, ceramics, apparel, and sports memorabilia should start the year off with a bang!

U.S. Presidential & Early American

Presidential collectors will see a variety of historical material relating to U.S. Presidents from George Washington to Joe Biden. Thomas Paine, John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Declaration of Independence Signers, and the Revolutionary War dominate our Early American category.

George Washington signed a document as “G: Washington,” authorizing the discharge of one Corporal Robert Pappe from a Horse Troop on December 10, 1783. In recognition of “his Attention and Fidelity” to Washington during the latter’s last few months as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, Pappe was awarded his military-issued “Horse, Arms and Accoutrements.” Less than two weeks later, Washington resigned his military commission at Annapolis, Maryland.

Patriot pamphleteer Thomas Paine wrote an autograph letter signed to a Quaker friend in London on July 12, 1806, confirming reports that he had narrowly missed injury or death on Christmas night 1805, when an assailant opened fire at Paine’s home in New Rochelle, New York. The motive behind the attack was most likely linked to Paine’s very public criticism of Christianity and his philosophical views in general. Ex-Charles E. Sigety.

A 3pp autograph letter signed by John Hancock on March 11, 1777 conveyed the latest news from Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress was to convene, to his wife Dolly in Baltimore. In it, Hancock mentions but discounts rumors that, “… General Howe is bent on coming here, [with] another report … that the Mercht’s at New York are packing their goods & putting them on board ships & that the troops are going away, neither of which do I believe…”


Science, technology, and industry continue to fascinate collectors in 2023. Our February sale features material either autographed or personally owned by Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, Carl Jung, and others.

Einstein signed a cryptic dedicatory inscription, “Two years after the Fall of the German Goyim. / Kindly granted / Albert Einstein / 1935” on the flyleaf of a first edition copy of his German language book Mein Weltbild, or The World As I See It. Einstein’s biblical allusion to a “fall” referred to Hitler’s rise in Nazy Germany in 1933.

A second printing hardcover copy of Martin Caidin, The Astronauts: The Story of Project Mercury, America’s Man In Space Program (1960) is boldly signed by all seven Mercury Space Program participants, Malcolm S. Carpenter, Leroy G. Cooper, Jr., John H. Glenn, Jr., Virgil “Gus” I. Grissom, Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and Donald “Deke” K. Slayton.

Thomas A. Edison, John Burroughs, and Harvey S. Firestone, three important figures from early twentieth century history as well as close personal friends, each signed a privately printed copy of their travel journal, “In Nature’s Laboratory,” documenting a 2-week-long road trip from Orange, New Jersey to southern Canada undertaken during the summer of 1916. The journal features 44 original photographs showing the celebrity friends resting, eating, and conversing.


University Archives is excited to offer a significant subsection of sports collectibles in its February sale. Jordan, James, Jackson, Gretsky, Pelé, Ali, Gehrig, Robinson, and Griffey, Jr. are just a few of the headlining names you will see in this collection of game-worn jerseys, signed balls, programs, and photos.

A Michael Jordan home game-worn “Chicago Bulls” jersey, emblazoned with Jordan’s iconic player number “23” in scarlet, is graded A5 and comes with a MEARS Letter of Authenticity stating that the uniform shows “evident use…consistent with player and position.” The 1996-1997 season was one of the G.O.A.T.’s most outstanding seasons in terms of points, assists, steals, and rebounds.

Legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig penned an undated handwritten thank-you note to one “Mr. Lichtenwalter,” expressing his gratitude for “wonderful” grapes shipped to his mother. Autographed material by Gehrig is especially coveted because of his premature death.

A Wayne Gretsky All-Star exhibition game-worn purple, white, and black sweater signed and dedicated by the Canadian “Great One” to MLB relief pitcher Duane Ward on the player number “99” verso should interest collectors. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Ward.

We hope you can join us on February 1, 2023. Please view our lavishly illustrated and keyword-searchable catalog for further details!

Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books – December Auction

Nov 19, 2022

1. John’s sale quote

University Archives is thrilled to announce its next sale on December 14, 2022 at 11:00 EST. At over 380 lots, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, & Books is especially strong in the following collecting categories: U.S. Presidential, Science/Space, Militaria, Early American, and International/World Leaders. The variety and scope of our sale—from Civil Rights and Judaica to Literature, Art, and Music–guarantees that there is something for everyone, especially holiday gift-givers. If buyers pay with cleared funds by December 16th, their items will be shipped by December 21st and will hopefully arrive by Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.


December’s presidential memorabilia ranges from George Washington to Barack Obama, with Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan being particularly well-represented.

George Washington boldly signed a free frank addressed to Benjamin Tallmadge, Culper Ring spymaster. The free frank is undated, but originally contained a December 26, 1782 letter commending the “signal gallantry of Captain Caleb Brewster,” referring to one of the underground’s principal couriers. Brewster often undertook covert missions in his whaleboat in Long Island Sound, with this mission resulting in the capture of two British gunboats. The free frank has tremendous visual appeal and tells a great story.

Thomas Jefferson wrote a 2pp autograph letter signed on October 11, 1812 describing how Americans had become beneficiaries of the Napoleonic Wars. Though Bonaparte’s “capricious passions & commercial ignorance” threatened American access to some European ports, his shenanigans in the Peninsula and Baltic distracted the British from their other declared enemies, the United States, during the six-month-old War of 1812. Jefferson triumphantly concluded that America’s enemies, Britain and France, were fighting each other; “the English armies…altho’ our enemies, are really fighting our battles.” Another Jefferson letter, one of the earliest extant, is the only letter we have ever seen where he is acting as a lawyer.

Abraham Lincoln signed a July 26, 1862 letter on Executive Mansion stationery for an autograph seeker in the Union stronghold of Louisville, Kentucky. The letter is beautifully matted alongside an unusual 1864 Vinton County, Ohio Union Presidential Ticket promoting Lincoln and Johnson.


Einstein, Freud, Jung, Edison, and Morse head the ranks of our Science category, while Apollo XI mission memorabilia dominates our Space/Aviation category.

Albert Einstein penned a 3pp autograph letter signed in German, undated but ca. June 1918, speculating about how his impending divorce from first wife Mileva Maric might affect the interest accrued from prize winnings of a “hypothetical Nobel Prize.” Einstein was clearly hopeful, yet he was only awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the Theory of Special Relativity four years later, in 1922. Three other Einstein letters are included within our December sale, including one with excellent scientific content.

Sigmund Freud and his protégé Carl Jung appear in a vintage group photograph taken of members from the Third International Psychoanalytic Congress, ca. 1911, in Weimer, Germany. The two co-founders of modern psychology were still on good terms in 1911, and indeed, they appear nearly shoulder to shoulder in this photo. Their ideological schism occurred the following year, in 1912. This is probably the most important photograph in Psychology.

An insurance cover signed by Apollo XI astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins is the gem of our Space/Aviation category. PSA/DNA graded 9.5 + , the cover comes from the Buzz Aldrin Family Collection.


Collectors will find outstanding items of military memorabilia, ranging from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, through the Civil War, both World Wars, Vietnam, and the War in Afghanistan, in our December sale.

A Mathew Brady carte de visite depicting George A. Custer, undated but ca. 1865-1866, is one of the best combinations of bold signature and assertive pose that we have ever seen, and it is PSA/DNA graded Mint 9.

A 120pp store ledger from Camp Scott and Fort Bridger, 1857-1858, paints a colorful picture of frontier life during an era of Indian Wars, Western settlement, Mormonism, and fluid race relations. The ledger mentions future Confederate officers Lewis A. Armstead, killed in action at Gettysburg; Barnard Bee, Jr., slain at 1st Bull Run; and “Rooney” Lee, Robert E. Lee’s son, among many others. The ledger is a fascinating document testifying to the chaotic vibrancy of the American West.


Benjamin Franklin, then a 27-year-old printer who had just published his inaugural edition of “Poor Richard’s Almanack” six months earlier, witnessed a Philadelphia real estate transaction dated May 15, 1733. It is one of the earliest known Franklin signatures ever documented, and is singularly elegant, as “B. Franklin.”

Chairman Mao Zedong signed a special presentation copy of a Russian book celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1959, dedicated to Soviet Civil War hero Marshal Semyon Budenny. Mao autographs are extremely rare and intensely coveted. Mao autograph have consistently attained six figures at auction during the last few years.

These are just some of the sensational lots in our December sale. We hope you can join us!

Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books – November 2, 2022

Oct 14, 2022

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.

International/World Leaders 

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!

Rare Autographs, Manuscripts and Books – August 17, 2022

Aug 2, 2022

University Archives is excited to announce the launch of its late summer sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books, which will be held online on August 17, 2022. At 537 lots, this sale is our largest ever, trumping the previous company record-holder, our 534-lot January 6, 2022 auction. The upcoming sale boasts a spectacular variety of items representing the best of U.S. Presidential, Early American, and Civil War/Western collecting categories. As always, we also have unique and superb offerings in Music, Entertainment, Sports, Space, Art, Literature, and more.

U.S. Presidents

Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, JFK, and Obama are just a few of the presidents represented in the August sale. Lot 100, an engraving of “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet,” after Francis Bicknell Carpenter’s original oil on canvas, is displayed above the assembled signatures of all eight figures depicted: Abraham Lincoln, William H. Seward, Edwin M. Stanton, Gideon Welles, Salmon P. Chase, Caleb B. Smith, Edward Bates, and Montgomery Blair. A truly handsome piece important to the history of Civil Rights in America, accompanied by PSA/DNA Letters of Authenticity, and already assembled!

Lot 81 is a possibly unique combination of items, both slabbed by Beckett Authentication Services, which relate to John F. Kennedy’s political aspirations in the late 1950s. Kennedy signed a personal check reimbursing travel expenses and enclosed it along with its original typed letter signed in the spring of 1956. Kennedy, then a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts,  was wooing fellow senators in his bid to win the upcoming Democratic Vice-Presidential nomination; Kennedy lost to Estes Kefauver, but the attempt garnered him significant national attention.

George Washington boldly signed a document appointing an Irish immigrant named Thomas Lowry as the first United States Marshal of New Jersey, following the passage of the 1789 law creating the law enforcement agency, on January 28, 1794. Lowry had been a Continental Congressional delegate and an officer in the New Jersey militia during the Revolutionary War, and through him, the document is even related to Washington’s celebrated nighttime crossing of the Delaware.

Early American

The history of American settlement, from the “Mayflower” through the Early Federal period, is well-represented. Benjamin Franklin engrossed and signed a receipt in 1756 for his “Pennsylvania Gazette,” the Philadelphia newspaper he had established in the late 1720s. Franklin collaborated with a Scottish printer named David Hall for eighteen years, during which the “Pennsylvania Gazette” became politically aligned with the Patriot cause.

Lot 259 is a promissory note inscribed with over 25 words and signed by Benedict Arnold in 1771, four years before the Revolutionary War and nine years before his defection to the British. The receipt was for building supplies, boards and “parcell staves,” and was probably penned in New Haven, Connecticut, where Arnold had lived since the early 1760s as a prosperous merchant.

Daniel Boone signed an enormous pay receipt sometime during his service as a delegate of the Virginia General Assembly, ca. 1781-1791. The manuscript document highlights one of Boone’s often overlooked roles as legislator. In 1781, during Boone’s first term as delegate representing Fayette County, now in modern day Kentucky but then part of Virginia, Boone was kidnapped by British cavalrymen seeking Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson and others in Charlottesville, where the Assembly had fled in advance of British troops.

Civil War/Western

Autograph letters signed, historical documents, cartes de visites, prints, and relics related to some of the biggest names in Civil War leadership and Western expansion will be offered at our August sale. Lot 369 has an interesting connection to the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn, in that both its author, George A. Custer, and its recipient, George W. Yates, were both 7th Cavalry officers killed there. Custer’s lengthy autograph letter signed was written at Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory on June 11, 1871. In it, Custer advised Yates to acquire good cavalry mounts: well-bred Kentucky horses at reasonable prices. The letter is ex-Forrest Fenn, Butterfields Auctions, and the Estate of George W. Yates.

Jefferson Davis, exiled in Canada in April 1868, wrote an autograph letter signed to fellow Confederate John Taylor Wood about his ongoing federal prosecution case (not to be resolved until Grant’s Christmas Day amnesty of that year), and about the economic distress of black freedmen that he had witnessed during a recent trip to the Deep South. Davis wrote in part: “The negroes have to a great extent become vagrant and the common complaint was that neither crop or stock could be protected from their thieving. The poor creatures are however much to be pitied for their destitution and we who knew their utter inability to govern themselves may well question whether they or those who forced them into their present condition are most responsible for the crimes they commit…”

Lot 381 is a 2pp autograph letter signed by Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson addressed to a correspondent named Truheart that we speculate attended the 1859 execution of failed insurrectionist John Brown in addition to Jackson, who wrote about the hanging to his wife. The letter concerning a lecture on hypnotism was written in 1852 when Jackson was teaching natural philosophy and artillery tactics at the Virginia Military Institute, seven years before the Harpers Ferry uprising.

Other premier auction items include a Babe Ruth signed first edition copy of “The Babe Ruth Story,” a pair of beautifully framed Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio signed checks, and a Bob Dylan signed LP of “Blonde on Blonde” accompanied by a Jeff Rosen Certificate of Authenticity. These are just a few of the remarkable and significant items that will cross the auction block at our August sale. We hope you can join us!

Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books – June 22, 2022

Jun 6, 2022

University Archives is excited to announce its next online-only sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books, which will take place on June 22, 2022. The 475+ lot sale is particularly rich in Presidential, Science, Civil War, Art & Music autographs and memorabilia. Collectors of Aviation/Space, Sports, Early American, Literature, and International will also have ample opportunity to enrich and expand existing collections!


University Archives has the reputation of purveying some of the best autographed presidential material in the autograph collecting industry. Roughly 1/3 of our June sale is dedicated to outstanding presidential material, ranging from George Washington to Joe Biden. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Truman are especially well-represented.

George Washington boldly free franked a Revolutionary War dated cover destined for Rhode Island Governor Nicholas Cooke in March 1775, just three months after crossing the Delaware River to surprise British and Hessian forces at the Christmas-time Battle of Trenton. Thomas Jefferson penned an autograph letter signed on June 29, 1811 which includes an additional bonus signature in the text; the letter discussed Jefferson’s plans to pay off Monticello construction debts to his friend, Polish-born American Patriot Thaddeus Kosciusko.

Jefferson’s signed dinner invitation as President in December 1805, ex-collector Max Thorek, is accompanied by a Jefferson-owned Chinese Export rare oval serving bowl, ex-Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Jefferson’s great-grandson. The serving bowl features a “J” monogram and Early Republican imagery, such as the 13 stars. Last, President Abraham Lincoln signed a Civil War dated military appointment promoting John G. Barnard as Lieutenant Colonel of the Corps of Engineers. Barnard and his invaluable fellow engineers ensured the safe water crossing of Union troops, in addition to planning siege tactics to best sap Confederate defenses.


Our vibrant Science collecting category contains items related to Albert Einstein, Thomas A. Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Sagan, James Watson, Werner Von Braun, and others. We are thrilled to have five Einstein autographed lots, including an autograph letter signed, two typed letters signed, and two signed books.

In Einstein’s ALS dated ca. 1934, Einstein explains that he must limit his charitable giving to those made poor through “All of this Hitler-insanity, which has completely ruined the lives of all those around me.” Around one year later, in 1935, Einstein signed a first edition copy of his German language book “Mein Weltbild,” or “The World As I See It”; in the book’s signed dedicatory inscription, Einstein refers to the “Fall of the German Goyim.” This is the only instance we have ever seen where Einstein employed the Hebrew / Yiddish word for “non-Jew.” Einstein’s use of this word becomes even more interesting when one considers that the word has since been coopted by Anti-Semitic white supremacists who use it to propagate Jewish conspiracy theories.

Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer, two fathers of the Atomic Age, both signed a birthday diary under the headings of their respective birthdays, March 14th and April 22nd. In a typed letter signed dated April 29, 1954, Einstein explained the origins of his scientific motto, translated as: “Subtle is the Lord, but not malicious.” The motto encapsulates Einstein’s personal attitude towards God and spirituality, and also science, specifically his Theory of Relativity, since Einstein first employed the motto when responding to another scientist’s claims to have disproved relativity by discovering “ether-drift.” The motto is so inextricably connected with Einstein that it was even carved in the fireplace mantel at Jones Hall (formerly Fine Hall) at Princeton University, where Einstein worked.


Two show-stopping Civil War archives are the featured militaria items of our June sale: Lots 324 and 325 collectively represent all of the Union and Confederate generals identified in Ezra J. Warner’s “Generals in Blue” and “Generals in Gray,” plus additional ones of comparable importance since added to the rolls by today’s historians. The Confederate generals archive is comprised of 528 items, from Charles W. Adams to Felix K. Zollicoffer. Featured generals include Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Pierre G.T. Beauregard, James Longstreet, Wade Hampton, and others. Material in this archive also relates to Confederate prisoners of war.

The Union generals archive consists of 630 items, from John Joseph Abercrombie to Samuel K. Zook, including exceptional items autographed by U.S. Grant, Melancton Wade and Abraham Lincoln, George Meade, James A. Garfield, and Winfield Scott Hancock. Both archives have been meticulously researched, organized, and presented in display binders.

These are just a few of the remarkable items in our upcoming June sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, and Books. We hope you can join us!

–John Reznikoff