University Archives is ushering in 2022 with a brand-new sale on January 6, 2022

    University Archives is ushering in 2022 with a brand-new sale on January 6, 2022. We hope you can join us as we ring in the New Year!

    At over 530 lots, the January auction will include outstanding items from the Presidential, Science, Early American, Civil Rights, Art, Music, and Aviation/Space collecting categories. A 201-lot subset of the sale will exclusively include pieces which are PSA/DNA slabbed and graded. As many in the industry know, items presented in this format, once solely the territory of sports cards, have taken the collectibles field to the next level, with frequent realizations into the multi-million-dollar range. While old-school collectors tend to be more tactile, the new breeds favor a new way to secure their investments, that is, by having items third party-graded, authenticated, and permanently protected. Even Wall Street is on board, with Steve Cohen, et al.’s billion-dollar purchase of Collectors Universe, the parent company of PSA.  This being our biggest sale yet, we are confident that there will be many fantastic opportunities for dealers and collectors of all categories.

    The January auction index is as follows: American Politics/Supreme Court: Lots 1-9; American Presidents/First Ladies: Lots 10-56; Art: Lots 57-73; Aviation/Space: Lots 74-103; Business/Notables/Notorious: Lots 104-145; Civil Rights/Native American/Slavery: Lots 146-165; Colonial/Declaration of Independence/Revolutionary War: Lots 166-202; Entertainment/Music/Sports: Lots 203-245; History/Military: Lots 246-289; International/World Leaders: Lots 290-301; Literature: Lots 302-318; Old West: Lots 319-325; Science: Lots 326-334; PSA/DNA Slabbed & Graded (in alphabetical order): Lots 335-536.


    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy are just a few of the American presidents featured in this sale. George Washington prepared a settlement of accounts, comprised of over 100 words and 45 numbers written in his hand, that he later submitted to Sheriff of Fairfax, Virginia William Payne in 1762. The two men had a contentious history: Payne had struck Washington with a stick during a disagreement seven years earlier!

    A PSA/DNA slabbed and graded Abraham Lincoln autograph letter signed and dated March 25, 1852 is an early missive of our most popular president.

    A first edition copy of “The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy,” signed by all seven commission members as well as General Counsel J. Lee Rankin, is guaranteed to interest Kennedy collectors. Another item, a John F. Kennedy signature PSA/DNA slabbed and graded NM-MT 8, carries an interesting connection to the late 20th century. JFK made out this check to a Massachusetts charter airline company for a trip to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts during his 1960 presidential campaign; just 40 years later, JFK, Jr. would crash into the same waters around Martha’s Vineyard.


    Our science category includes superb historical material from Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Nikola Tesla, and other preeminent 20th century scientists. Einstein takes center stage with a 1p autograph manuscript in German featuring several lines of mathematical equations signed at its conclusion as “A. Einstein.” The manuscript constitutes part of Einstein’s attempts at developing a unified theory of electromagnetism, gravitation, and quantum mechanics; he later co-authored a paper exploring this topic entitled "On a Generalization of Kaluza's Theory of Electricity” (1938). Two other Einstein items, both slabbed, include an autograph letter signed by Einstein with a rare candid photo found on a 1930s vintage postcard, and a signed photograph of Einstein accepting an honorary degree at New York’s Yeshiva College at the beginning of the academic year 1934-1935.

    Another fascinating item is a 2pp autograph manuscript by Richard Feynman pertaining to the Challenger disaster, ca. March 1986. Feynman had been appointed as one of the fourteen members of the Rogers Commission, tasked by President Reagan with investigating the causes of the space shuttle’s mid-air explosion.

    Nikola Tesla’s April 14, 1919 typed letter signed on an attractive leaf of “Tesla Company, Inc.” stationery was addressed to another inventor around the time that Tesla was refining his working model of a bladeless turbine engine.


    Among the gems from the Marvelous Miscellany category includes an autograph document signed by Bat Masterson, including over 30 words, numbers, and figures written in his hand. The receipt is PSA/DNA slabbed and graded Mint 9. When he signed this document, the 25-year-old Masterson was then serving as Sheriff of Ford County, Kansas and was just months away from being defeated in the Royal Gorge War, fought between two rival Western railroad companies.

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. signed a record cover containing an original recording of his “The American Dream” speech delivered at Syracuse University in July 1961. King’s dedicatory signature is unusually large and features his rare full name as “Best Wishes / Martin Luther King, Jr.” “The American Dream” speech was the precursor of King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech orated before thousands at the Washington mall in August 1963. Accompanied by a PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity.

    An archive of handwritten documents and printed journals relating to John Peter Zenger, the German printer accused of seditious libel in 1734, is sure to interest Early American collectors. The group includes original material signed by key trial participants, including New York Governor William Cosby.  

    These are just a few of many spectacular autographs, rare books, photographs, maps, and historical collectibles that will pass the auction block on January 6, 2022. We hope you can join us!

    --John Reznikoff