Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Photographs, and Books!

Mar 11, 2022

University Archives is pleased to announce its upcoming sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Photographs, and Books, on March 30, 2022. Presidential, Science, Technology, Aviation, Space, Sports, and World Leaders are among our leading categories, though novice and veteran collectors alike will also appreciate the outstanding cross-section of Early American, Civil War, Literature, Art, Music, Entertainment, Business, and Civil Rights material. There is something for everyone in our March sale. Exceptional historical items range from manuscripts, letters, documents, and rare books, to photographs, relics, artwork, and even military mementoes.

The March 30th auction index is as follows: American Politics / Supreme Court: Lots 1 – 24; American Presidents / First Ladies: Lots 25 – 132; Art: Lots 133 – 148; Aviation / Space: Lots 149 – 177; Business / Notables / Notorious: Lots 178 – 208; Civil Rights / Native American / Slavery: Lots 209 – 219; Colonial / Declaration of Independence / Revolutionary War: Lots 220 – 253; Entertainment / Music / Sports: Lots 254 – 296; History / Military: Lots 297 – 348; International / World Leaders: Lots 349 – 386; Literature: Lots 387 – 400; Old West: Lots 401 – 404; Science: Lots 405 – 418.


Our March sale showcases over 100 items relating to U.S. Presidents, from John Adams to Joe Biden. One of the highlights is a John Adams signed document dated January 27, 1801 promoting an artillery engineer. This military document features an unusually large Adams signature measuring nearly 3” x 1.” Adams had recently been defeated by Thomas Jefferson during the “Revolution of 1800.” John F. Kennedy signed a document on September 20, 1962 appointing Henry DeWolf Smyth, author of the Manhattan Project’s official history, the Smyth Report, to serve as an alternative U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency conference. As ambassador, Smyth later promoted the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Another marquee presidential item includes part of the sheet from Abraham Lincoln’s death bed removed from the Peterson Boarding House, a blood-stained linen swatch measuring .625” x .25.” The fabric is CAG encapsulated and comes with provenance from American diplomat Charles K. Tuckerman. A 1p typed letter signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on White House stationery dated June 6, 1942 acknowledged receipt of a New York architect’s annotated drawings relating to “a proposed net protection against torpedo attack for ocean going vessels.” FDR letters with military content are unusual, and such letters referring to Nazi U-boat attacks addressed to a civilian two years to the day before D-Day are next to impossible to find!


Albert Einstein, Henri Becquerel, Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie, Thomas Babbage, Alexander Fleming, and Sigmund Freud are just a few of the scientists featured in our March sale. An Albert Einstein manuscript in German from ca. 1942 is paired with a vintage Lotte Jacobi photograph of the physicist wearing his beloved bomber jacket. Einstein’s manuscript, containing 91 words and 13 lines of mathematical calculations, relates to covariant bivectors, in what marked one of his final attempts at articulating his Unified Field Theory. An autograph letter signed by Henri Becquerel, discover of radioactivity, and an autograph letter signed by Wilhelm Roentgen, who developed X-rays, in their native languages of French and German respectively, testify to the breadth of this selection of first-rate scientific autographs.

Aviation, Space, Exploration and Technology are also well-represented. Among these items is a CAG encapsulated muslin swatch from the Wright Flyer, the Wright Brothers’s biplane, which first flew at Kitty Hawk in December 1903.


Our March sale features over 30 items relating to World Leaders, including Moshe Dayan, Catherine II of Russia, Mary Stuart, Emperor Hirohito, Fidel Castro, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Alfonso V of Aragon. In 1966, Israeli statesman Moshe Dayan spent four weeks embedded with U.S. forces in Vietnam, and his often critical observations of American military tactics was later published in his “Vietnam Diary.” A significant portion of Dayan’s original manuscript — a remarkable 197 pages in Hebrew with occasional words in English — is stored in a luxurious clamshell case, along with a signed first edition copy of the published book. Also offered is a beautiful partially printed document signed by Russian Empress Catherine II, as well as a large cream strip of lace removed from a dress belonging to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. The lace comes with provenance dating it to 1566, from around the time when Stuart’s favorite Italian courtier David Rizzio was brutally stabbed to death in front of her.

These are just a few of many spectacular and one-of-a-kind items that will be offered on March 30, 2022. We hope you can join us!

–John Reznikoff

Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Photographs and Books!

Jan 31, 2022

University Archives will hold its next sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Photographs & Books, on February 16, 2022, just a few days shy of George Washington’s 290th birthday. The Presidents’ Day holiday is certainly appropriate, since our 450+ lot sale features many outstanding presidential items ranging from Washington to Biden. Other well-represented collecting categories include Science & Technology, Aviation & Space, Sports, Literature, and the Civil War, to name just a few.

The February 16th auction index is as follows: American Politics / Supreme Court: Lots 1 – 27; American Presidents / First Ladies: Lots 28 – 118; Art: Lots 119 – 138; Aviation / Space: Lots 139 – 181; Business / Notables / Notorious: Lots 182 – 204; Civil Rights / Native American / Slavery: Lots 205 – 226; Colonial / Declaration of Independence / Revolutionary War: Lots 227 – 249; Entertainment / Music / Sports: Lots 250 – 280; History / Military: Lots 281 – 364; International / World Leaders: Lots 365 – 383; Literature: Lots 384 – 408; Old West: Lots 409 – 426; Science: Lots 427 – 457.


Superb historical material autographed by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, and other U.S. presidents will be sure to entice presidential collectors.

A Revolutionary War-dated manuscript letter twice signed by George Washington and relating to new military draft resolutions passed by the Continental Congress in 1780 provides detailed information about the number of soldiers who had survived the past winter at Morristown, New Jersey, harsher and snowier than even Valley Forge. Continental military commanders Henry “Lighthorse” Lee, Hazen, Webb, and Lamb are explicitly mentioned in this remarkable document. George Washington boldly signed a three-language ship’s passport on July 7, 1794 for a St. Bartholomew-bound schooner commanded by Captain Abijah Potter. Just one year later, Captain Potter was fatally axed during a shipboard slave uprising.

A Civil War-era scrapbook album compiled by an Union Army officer contains 214 bold and mostly high-grade signatures, including those of four presidents (Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, and Franklin Pierce); current and future Lincoln cabinet members (Hamlin, Colfax, Seward, Cameron, Welles, Bates); and a myriad of other important American politicians and military leaders. An early legal brief drafted by Abraham Lincoln on May 15, 1854 features his signature as “Lincoln for defendant” in the case of Coventry and Warwickshire Banking Company vs. William Whorrall.


Two items signed by Albert Einstein and a rare autograph document signed by Sir Isaac Newton lead our exceptionally rich Science category.

A typed letter in German signed by Einstein addressed to close friend Michele Besso recalled how the two collaborated to formulate the theory of special relativity over 35 years earlier. In the letter, Einstein compared the process of scientific theorizing to God’s creation of the world, both a “pointless luxury” but nevertheless essential to pushing the boundaries of understanding and existence. In a 1p autograph letter signed, Einstein argued that considering ether and its properties would lead to a more accurate understanding of special relativity.

Sir Isaac Newton, in his role as Warden of the Royal Mint in early 1699, inscribed and signed a recognizance bond relating to the criminal case against William Chaloner, a recalcitrant counterfeiter who was convicted of high treason and hanged at Tyburn two months later. Serious collectors of scientific material will also delight in sensational pieces related to Niels Bohr, Michael Faraday, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Max Planck, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Rutherford, and Alexander von Humboldt among many, many more!


Rare and unusual Sports, Music, and Old West material will also pass the auction block, including a first edition copy of “The Babe Ruth Story,” complete with its original dust jacket and a 1948 letter of provenance, signed by the Sultan of Swat just six months before his cancer death. A signed manuscript copy of John Howard Payne’s wistful song “Home! Sweet Home!”– one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite melodies–was dedicated to the songwriter’s female friend. Also included is a turn-of-the-century diary and address book signed by Virgil Earp, Wyatt’s older brother, and a fellow participant of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The extreme scarcity of Virgil Earp autographs, combined with the item’s unbroken chain of custody from Virgil’s third wife Alvira, make this an Old West treasure.

These are just a few of many spectacular autographs, manuscripts, photographs, rare books, maps, relics, and historical collectibles that will be offered on February 16, 2022. We hope you can join us!

–John Reznikoff

University Archives is ushering in 2022 with a brand-new sale on January 6, 2022

Dec 20, 2021

At over 530 lots, the January auction will include outstanding items from the Presidential, Science, Early American, Civil Rights, Art, Music, and Aviation/Space collecting categories. A 201-lot subset of the sale will exclusively feature pieces which are PSA/DNA slabbed and graded. As many in the industry know, items presented in this format, once solely the territory of sports cards, have taken the collectibles field to the next level, with frequent realizations into the multi-million-dollar range. While old-school collectors tend to be more tactile, the new breeds favor a new way to secure their investments, that is, by having items third party-graded, authenticated, and permanently protected. Even Wall Street is on board, with Steve Cohen, et al.’s billion-dollar purchase of Collectors Universe, the parent company of PSA.  This being our biggest sale yet, we are confident that there will be many fantastic opportunities for dealers and collectors of all categories.

The January auction index is as follows:

American Politics/Supreme Court: Lots 1-9;

American Presidents/First Ladies: Lots 10-56;

Art: Lots 57-73;

Aviation/Space: Lots 74-103;

Business/Notables/Notorious: Lots 104-145;

Civil Rights/Native American/Slavery: Lots 146-165;

Colonial/Declaration of Independence/Revolutionary War: Lots 166-202;

Entertainment/Music/Sports: Lots 203-245;

History/Military: Lots 246-289;

International/World Leaders: Lots 290-301;

Literature: Lots 302-318;

Old West: Lots 319-325; Science: Lots 326-334;

PSA/DNA Slabbed & Graded (in alphabetical order): Lots 335-536.

On the day of the auction, we will be taking a 30-minute break after Lot 334. We’re not exactly sure when Lot 334 will close. Yet we assume that we will resume the sale after the break at approximately 3:30 pm EST. We will update this on the day of the auction. We hope you can join us!

March Auction Strong, Next Auction May 2020

Apr 2, 2020

Our March 26th online auction had a strong showing, with a sell through rate of over 86%! Please join us for our next online auction, to be held in May 2020.  More details to come.