On June 22, 2022, University Archives held its 480-lot online-only auction, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books.Over 6,000 registered online bidders on just one of our principal bidding platforms, Invaluable, generated online demand of nearly $3 million, while over 700 people watched the auction live on two bidding platforms. Even maintaining a brisk average of 80 lots per hour, it still took us over six hours to finish the sale, as bidder interest was so considerable and sustained. 95% of June’s lots sold. Since January 2022, we have maintained an average industry-topping sell-through rate of 96%. June sale highlights included items in the Presidential and other collecting categories.
Lot 41 is an autograph letter signed by Millard Fillmore in which he likened his time in Washington, D.C. to “bondage,” a rather ironic comparison considering that Fillmore had stridently defended the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act as well as the Compromise of 1850 permitting the continuation of slavery. The letter sold for $4,062 including the buyer’s premium, or a whopping eight times its high estimate.A CAG encapsulated swatch of George Washington’s burgundy velvet cloak, with impeccable provenance from the family of Tobias Lear, Washington’s personal secretary, sold for $4,375 including the tip.Lot 51 was the bold signature of Ulysses S. Grant as “U.S. Grant,” combined with a vintage portrait after Mathew Brady of Grant in uniform. It crossed the auction block for $2,500 including the buyer’s premium, or over three times its high estimate.
A beautifully preserved copy of the January 13, 1898 issue of Parisian newspaper “L’Aurore” containing Émile Zola’s famous essay “J’Accuse…!” sold for nearly three times its high estimate, or $13,750 including the buyer’s premium. In this passionate editorial, Zola alleged that the conviction of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish French military officer incarcerated for espionage, was motivated purely by Anti-Semitism. “J’Accuse…!” is still celebrated today for its eloquent and courageous championing of civil rights. Lot 414 is an original copy of “The Palestine Post” from May 16, 1948, just two days after David Ben-Gurion declared Israeli independence and the founding of the state of Israel. The newspaper issue in near fine condition featured a dramatic headline emblazoned, “State of Israel is Born.” It sold for $3,500 including the tip, over 600% higher than its high estimate.
Items relating to the Civil War, aviation, and the history of drug addiction recovery programs also performed strongly. A rare Confederate prisoner of war parole pass, authorized from Appomattox Court House on April 10, 1865, one day after the eponymous battle and the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, crossed the auction block for $3,000 including the buyer’s premium, or nearly three times its high estimate. Celebrated aviatrix Amelia Earhart’s signature on a leaf of Davenport Hotel stationery from Spokane, Washington, beautifully framed in a ready-to-hang display, sold for $2,750 including the buyer’s premium. Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bob Wilson inscribed a touching inscription on the front free endpaper of a 1955 second edition copy of “the Big Book” – “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.” It sold for $4,062 including the tip, which garnered eight times its high estimate.
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 scheduled for August 2022.