March 2021 Auction Highlights

    University Archives held its inaugural sale in our brand-new 6,000-square-feet offices in Wilton, Connecticut this past Wednesday. Comprised of 408 lots, our March sale attracted over 8,000 bidders pledging bids online, by absentee bid, or by phone, with more than 750 bidders watching the fun live online. Buyers collectively purchased over $800,000 of superb autographs, rare books, and collectibles over the six-hour-long auction: that’s $133,000 worth of historical treasures sold per hour! 93% of our sale lots sold.

    March’s top collecting categories included Science; Presidential; Kennedyiana; and Business & Finance.


    All 7 lots relating to Albert Einstein were snapped up by bidders anxious to possess something belonging to the scientific genius. Lot 96 was a 1p autograph manuscript of nearly 200 words in German and no fewer than 11 lines of mathematical calculation pertaining to Einstein’s later Unified Field Theory. It sold for 33% more than its high estimate (sold for $46,875 including buyer’s premium).Lot 93 was a life-size wax mold taken of Einstein’s head during a live sitting with sculptor Katherine Stubergh, signed and inscribed by Einstein on the nape as “Katherine, Much Thanks, Albert Einstein.” It sold to an internationally well-known traveling entertainment and variety show for more than its high estimate (sold for $28,125 including buyer’s premium). Lot 99, an exceptional signed gelatin silver print photo of Einstein signed and inscribed by him in 1921, the year he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, crossed the auction block for $16,000 (sold for $20,000 including buyer’s premium).


    March saw tremendous interest in America’s past and current presidents. Lot 161 was a 4pp manuscript document signed by Thomas Jefferson and addressed to “My Friends & Children Chiefs of the Cherokee Nation,” in which he advised the tribe to continue in their efforts to establish farming communities, and to desist in making war against other indigenous peoples (sold for $100,000 including buyer’s premium).Abraham Lincoln regretted that the raging Civil War prevented him from personally handling a conflict with an Illinois railroad company vital to securing troop transport in a 2pp autograph letter signed, Lot 218. It sold for 20% more than its high estimate (sold for $37,500 including buyer’s premium).Lot 386, a 1p autograph letter signed by George Washington and sent to a Revolutionary War veteran just a few months before he retired from public office achieved its high estimate (sold for $16,250 including buyer’s premium).Three items relating to sitting President Joseph R. Biden, Lots 18, 19, and 21, sold to a collector in southeast Asia.


    About one tenth of our March sale was devoted to Kennedy autographs, documents, photographs, relics, ephemera, and collectibles. Many of the pieces came from the collection of Father Ronald Hoskins (1949-2020), the noted assassinologist and collector of John F. Kennedy memorabilia. A few highlights of this category included: Lot 193, a vintage invitation to the November 22, 1963 luncheon at the Dallas Trade Mart signed at a later time by 17 individuals who featured prominently in the life and politics of John F. Kennedy, including his mother and his Secretary of State. The invitation sold for almost 4 times its high estimate (sold for $1,852 including buyer’s premium). Lot 330, a bullet and spent shell cartridge fired from the .38 caliber Colt Cobra revolver owned and used by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby to slay presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963 sold for more than six times its high estimate (sold for $5,312 including buyer’s premium).

    Business & Finance

    Perhaps our renewed confidence in a post-pandemic economy inspired Wednesday’s buying frenzy of items relating to business and finance. Rare, signed stock certificates performed extremely well, including Lot 109, a Pullman’s Palace Car Company stock certificate issued to Marshall Field, Jr., son of the department store mogul. The certificate, accompanied by a receipt twice signed by Field, Jr., sold for more than 7 times its high estimate (sold for $3,705 including buyer’s premium). Lots 128 and Lot 360 sold for nearly 3 times their high estimates: Lot 128 was a stock certificate issued to George Goethals and signed by him (sold for $1,358 including buyer’s premium); and Lot 360, an unissued specimen certificate for $1,000 worth of stock in the Metropolitan Opera and Real Estate Company (sold for $1,729 including buyer’s premium.)Lots 353 and 359 sold for more than 2 times their high estimates:Lot 353 was a General Motors stock certificate issued to and signed by Walter Chrysler (sold for $12,500 including buyer’s premium);and Lot 359 was a Gatling Ordnance Company stock certificate issued to and signed by Gatling Gun inventor Richard Gatling (sold for $3,458 including 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.

    We hope that you stay tuned for our upcoming spring sales.