University Archives held its online March auction, Rare Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia, on Wednesday at our Wilton, Connecticut offices. Auctioneer John Reznikoff and University Archives staff entertained bids placed by over 7,500 live, absentee, and phone bidders. Customer interest came from all around the world; the top six countries ranked by actual bids placed were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Australia. Over the course of the 6-hour-long sale, frenzied bidding and counterbidding did not relent. We garnered nearly $700,000 in sales for our consignors, and again achieved one of the highest sell-through rates in the autograph industry, at 95%.
Some of the stand-out items in our March sale were in the Science, Presidential, Art, Notorious, and Sports collecting categories.
Lot 381 was a 1p autograph manuscript in German in which Albert Einstein reconciled his General Theory of Relativity and the theory of gravity with his other famous “field theory,” that is, the Unified Field Theory. The manuscript of over 360 handwritten words, featuring direct quotes within the text of “General Theory of Relativity” [allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie] (line 25) and “theory of gravity” [Gravitationstheorie] (line 24), intensified the bidding to a fever pitch. The manuscript sold for $56,250 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 381, Albert Einstein Manuscript
Lot 61 was an autograph endorsement by sitting President Abraham Lincoln signed during the first five months of the Civil War, whereby he reaffirmed a 55-year-old martial code decreeing that espionage was punishable by death. Lincoln authorized the proposed measure to extend the 57th Article of War, “An Act Establishing Rules and Articles for the Government of the Armies of the United States.” Specifically, this stated that "holding correspondence with or giving intelligence to the enemy either directly or indirectly is made punishable by … Public safety requires strict enforcement of this Article." The Lincoln signed document sold for more than twice its high estimate, or $43,750 including the tip.
Lot 61, Abraham Lincoln Autograph Endorsement
Lot 244 was a colorful Walt Disney signed Sante Fe & Disneyland Railroad and monorail pass issued to NYC transit authority director Sidney H. Bingham ca. 1959, granting him free access to the railway for five years as an “honorary Vice-President.” The winning bidder loved the artistic elements of the pass, including its depiction of the high-tech, German-designed monorail opened at Disneyland in 1959. The Disney signed pass exchanged hands for over 200% of its high estimate, or $23,180 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 125 was an art exhibition catalogue from Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, boldly and graphically signed by Neo-Expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat just three years before his death of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. The catalog featured vibrantly colored reproductions of some of Basquiat’s works inside, including his “Pink Elephant with Fire Engine.” The Basquiat signed catalog garnered nearly three times its high estimate, or $8,750 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 125, Jean-Michel Basquiat Signed Art Exhibition Catalog
Lot 186 was one of three Meyer Lansky lots in the March sale, a surprising Christmas card organizer that the Jewish “Mob’s Accountant” used to track to whom he had sent holiday messages, and when. The organizer deaccessioned from the Mob Experience Museum includes Esta Siegel--Bugsy Siegel’s widow, whom Meyer Lansky had ordered killed--as well as individuals connected to the Luciano and Genovese crime families. The “Christmas Card List” book, with all entries handwritten by Lansky, sold for over twice its low estimate, or $5,000 including the tip.
Lot 398 was a 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers team-signed baseball signed by Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and 20 other players. 1956 was the year the Dodgers won the National League title but failed to secure the World Series win. The prized sports relic sold for $2,750 including the buyer’s premium, or over three 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 tentatively scheduled for April 19, 2023.