University Archives January 10, 2024 Sale Results

    University Archives started off a brand-new year in a very big way!

    Over 400 lots crossed the auction block during our Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics auction on January 10, 2024. U.S. Presidential items continued blockbuster 2023 trends; Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and James A. Garfield collectibles in particular performed extremely well. A handful of superb Reagan autographed items--including significant speech drafts--from the collection of Reagan's longtime personal secretary, Helene von Damm, pushed prices to phenomenal heights. Science, History/Military, Art, and Sports also achieved impressive returns.

    U.S. Presidential

    Lot 92 was a draft of Ronald Reagan’s “Win one for the Gipper” speech featuring 8pp of handwritten notes with additional manuscript revisions to typed pages which the president delivered as the Commencement Address at the University of Notre Dame on May 17, 1981, just weeks after surviving an assassination attempt. In the speech, Reagan refers to his most memorable acting role portraying Notre Dame’s beloved football player George Gipp in 1940’s Knute Rockne, All American. In the speech, Reagan quipped, “’Win one for the Gipper’ has become a line usually spoken more in a humorous vein. I hear it from members of Congress who are supportive of the ec[onomic] program I’ve submitted…” The Gipper-themed speech draft exchanged hands for over twice its high estimate, or $62,500 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 67 was a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair with his clipped signature as “A. Lincoln” displayed in a custom red velvet case. The relic came with rock-solid provenance from several former custodians, including Henry Pratt Cattell, who embalmed Lincoln’s body; and Justus Chollar, an official tasked with guarding Lincoln’s body during the autopsy and embalming. The hair and signature sold to an American collector for 40% over its high estimate, or $31,250 including the tip.

                                          Lot 67, Abraham Lincoln Hair & Signature

    Lot 64 was a Civil War-dated autograph note signed by Abraham Lincoln directing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to ensure that Second Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana come “see me before he starts to the front.” Dana, a former newspaper field reporter, shuttled between Washington, D.C. and Union Army outposts describing conditions during the waning days of the war. The note sold for 30% over its high estimate, or $16,250 including the buyer’s premium.

    Lot 45 was a typed letter signed by John F. Kennedy dated November 8, 1961 addressed to Saturday Review editor Norman Cousins. In the letter, Kennedy explains that he wants to “tell the Russian people the facts” about Soviet nuclear testing. The Soviet Union had abruptly ended the terms of the Limited Test Ban Treaty just a few months earlier; this moratorium on nuclear testing had been mutually agreed upon by the United States and U.S.S.R. in 1958. The letter, which draws some interesting parallels to the neo-Cold War geopolitical environment today, spurred bidding well over the high estimate, to $10,000 including the buyer’s premium.


    Lot 392 was a handsome Albert Einstein display featuring a typed card in English signed by him. Einstein addressed the card to a former psychiatric social worker who had asked Einstein his thoughts on human nature, citing an anecdote about an enraged 6-year-old patient. Einstein’s response bears out his belief that human behavior is a product of nurture rather than nature. He wrote: "Practice makes a master / Practice makes a hater / Practice makes one a friend /toward people / It only depends that the creature is / treated in such a way that it gets / practice of the right sort.” Einstein’s advice sold to an American bidder for over 200% of the high estimate, or $19,200 including the tip.

    Marvelous Miscellany

    Lot 293 was a 1:17 scale model of “Fat Man,” the plutonium atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. Air Force over Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945, signed by eight of its Bockscar crew members including Major General Charles W. Sweeney. The model sold for over twice its high estimate, or $6,250 including the buyer’s premium. Lot 294, a 1:9 scale model of “Little Boy” signed by nine Enola Gay crew members, also easily exceeded its high estimate.

     Lot 212 was a limited edition 1:350 scale model of the R.M.S. Titanic, featuring the signature of Millvina Dean, the youngest shipwreck survivor, as well as a nugget of coal retrieved from the wreck site in the North Atlantic. The model garnered over three times its high estimate, or $2,200 including the tip.

    Lot 212, R.M.S. Titanic Model With Survivor Signature & Coal

    Thank you so much for your interest. We’re always interested in hearing from you. Contact us today if you have items like these that you’d like to consign or sell.

    Our next sale is tentatively scheduled for February 21, 2024. We hope you can join us!