January 2022 Post-Auction Recap

    University Archives’ Rare Autographs, Photographs, Books Plus PSA Slabbed sale was held on January 6, 2022. The auction broke multiple company records, and was also top ranked by Rare Book Hub, the third-party rare book, manuscript, and autograph database and clearinghouse.

    At 534 lots, the January sale was our biggest ever. It was also our highest grossing sale, surpassing the $1 million mark, and we had one of the highest sell-through rates in the autograph industry, with 98.13% of auction lots sold. We attracted the highest number of live auction watchers that we’ve ever had, at around 1,100 tuning in on all online platforms, and bidder interest was sustained over our longest ever sale (lasting seven hours between gavel to gavel.)

    University Archives was ranked first by Rare Book Hub for sales exceeding 100% of collective high estimates, at 141.70%, for the week ending January 7, 2022. In addition, according to Rare Book Hub, University Archives sold 8 of the top 25 highest selling lots sold during the same time period. Items sold at our January sale ranked #3, #14, #18, #19, #20, #22, #23, and #25 on Rare Book Hub’s top 25 list, and included items by Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, George Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Bat Masterson.

    Our sale, which was comprised of about 330 lots of autographs, with a subsection of about 200 items that were PSA/DNA slabbed and graded, attracted 6,200 approved bidders on Invaluable, Live Auctioneers, AuctionZip, and our website, Online bidders competed with over 20 phone and absentee bidders. Bidders from the United States and Canada dominated online bidding, though customers from France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Belgium, Switzerland, and China also drove the action. Science, Early American, Presidential, Space, and Civil Rights collecting categories saw significant and strong returns.


    A highlight of this category was Lot 327, 1p Albert Einstein autograph manuscript in German featuring several lines of mathematical equations signed at its conclusion as “A. Einstein.”  This remarkable manuscript relating to Kaluza’s theory of electricity sold for $87,500 including the buyer’s premium, or nearly 50% higher than its high estimate. An autograph letter signed by Einstein with a rare candid photo, PSA/DNA slabbed and graded NM 7, sold for double its high estimate, or $12,500 including the tip.


    Early American and presidential collectors were eager to acquire items relating to the nation’s settlement, political coalescence, and founders. George Washington’s 1762 settlement of accounts, comprised of over 100 words and 45 numbers written in his hand, sold for $20,000 including the buyer’s premium. An issue of Pennsylvania Magazine “Declaring the United Colonies Free and Independent States” printed in 1776 and edited by Thomas Paine garnered $17,500 including the buyer’s premium, or almost twice its high estimate. Lot 156 was a handwritten account of King Philip’s death recorded in Boston just days after the Wampanoag chief was slain; it sold for $5,937.50 including the buyer’s premium.


    Civil Rights items continue to generate superb returns. Lot 36 was a first edition War Department printing of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, bound together with over 200 General Orders dating from January – August 1863, belonging to a Wisconsin Union officer. It sold for $28,126 including the buyer’s premium, or almost 10 times its high estimate. Two items autographed by activist Martin Luther King, Jr. sold well above their high estimates. These were: Lot 149, a record cover containing an original recording of his “The American Dream” speech delivered at Syracuse University in July 1961, featuring a rare and full signature, which sold for $11,250 including the buyer’s premium; and Lot 449, a print of King’s March on Washington signed by him, and PSA/DNA slabbed and graded Mint 9, which crossed the auction block at $18,750 including the buyer’s premium.

    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 will be held in February 2022. Until then, let’s continue making history.