Now Seeking Consignments and Buying Collections!
Our August 19th sale positively sizzled, with more than 6,800 bidders placing absentee, phone, and online bids on a record-breaking 349 lots. Online bidding is now easier than ever; you can participate on four auction platforms including our brand-new website. Our late summer sale achieved a sell-through rate of 91%, one of the highest in our industry, and one of our company’s historic bests.
Sale highlights included lots from the Jack Kerouac Estate and Forbes Collection, as well as leading items from our U.S. Presidential and Civil Rights categories.
Jack Kerouac Estate
Jack Kerouac collectors still flock to University Archives to buy unusual items once belonging to the free-spirited and tragic Beatnik. Lot 183, Kerouac’s personally owned Leica camera, whose manufacturing serial numbers dated it firmly within the On The Road-era, exchanged hands for $6,500, or nearly ten times its high estimate. Lots relating to Kerouac’s interest in Buddhism, including his oil and pencil drawing depicting the foundational story “The Vision of Dipankara” and Kerouac’s haiku-inscribed first printing reprint of Alan W. Watts’s The Way of Zen (Lots 185 and 187), sold for $10,000 and $8,000 respectively.
The upcoming 2020 presidential election stimulated more interest among presidential enthusiasts, especially collectors of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
Lot 221, a Brady & Company imperial size albumen print photo of Abraham Lincoln with full signature, attained $12,000. Lot 226, a diminutive 29” long U.S. Navy sword and scabbard likely presented to Tad Lincoln just days before his father’s assassination, crossed the auction block for $4,000, or a walloping $137 an inch! The sword had an exceptionally well-documented chain of custody, extending from the Forbes Collection through Robert Todd Lincoln.
23 large dealers’ lots containing nearly 2,000 political pinback buttons, jugates, coattails, flashers, and other memorabilia from the presidential campaigns of FDR, JFK, LBJ, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and others, dating from 1896-1996, netted almost $10,000. University Archives is excited to join the proud political button community!
Aggressive bidding for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights Movement related items was no doubt spurred on by the recent national discussion about race. Lot 58, a rare and original government printing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Public Law 88-352), as well as Lot 59, an original archive related to the 1965 Voting Rights Act (Public Law 89-110), both sold well above their high estimates. Two phone bidders vied for Lot 210, a vintage typed copy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “The Crisis in America’s Cities,” as well as Lot 214, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal retained copy of a document known informally as “The Second Emancipation Proclamation,” from the collection of Maude Ballou, King’s private secretary. Lot 210 sold for nearly three times its high estimate ($1,100), and Lot 214 sold for over three times its high estimate ($3,750).
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