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