University Archives held its 417-lot sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Photographs & Books,on March 30, 2022. The sale generated intense excitement among online, absentee, and phone bidders alike, with collectors and dealers in the United States, Hong Kong, Germany, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Spain placing the most actual bids by country. Our sale catalog was viewed over 80,000 times on just one of our three bidding platforms, Invaluable, over a 3-week-long period, demonstrating the exponential growth of our online presence. During the actual sale, enthusiasm was great and passes few; our average auction sell-through rate of 97% since January 2022 is one of the highest sell-through rates in the autograph and rare books industry.
The market for Space & Technology collectibles, which has performed exceptionally well in the last six months, may show signs of softening, with interest turning instead towards Religion and other collecting categories. U.S. Presidential, Aviation, and Science items garnered considerable interest. Highlights in the Presidentialcategory from yesterday’s sale include:
Lot 25 was a John Adams signed document dated January 27, 1801, in the months following Adams’s defeat by Thomas Jefferson during the “Revolution of 1800.” The military document promoting an artillery engineer featured an unusually large Adams signature measuring nearly 3” x 1.” The document sold for $13,750 including the buyer’s premium, or nearly twice the high estimate.
As presidential collectors know, William Henry Harrison’s autograph is becoming increasingly difficult to acquire. A superbly framed military document signed by the then 21-year-old Harrison, acting as aide-de-camp to General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, requested provisions for a soldier’s 2-day journey in March 1794. It sold for $2,500 including the tip, or over 200% above the high estimate.
Lot 69 was a 4pp autograph letter signed by then U.S. Senator from Tennessee Andrew Johnson in October 1861, four months after Tennessee had seceded. Johnson was a prominent Southern Unionist. In this letter addressed to Union General William T. Sherman, Johnson strategized how to best apply pressure to Confederate forces in the Western theatre. Johnson wrote in part: “If we invade Tennessee and place Arms in the hands of Union men they will in a very short time take charge of Secession themselves and relieve others from the trouble…” The letter fetched $11,250 including the buyer’s premium.
Also up for sale was a spectacular 8” x 10” color photograph relating to the Apollo 11 moon-landing, and signed by Richard Nixon, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. The photo shows Richard Nixon lightheartedly congratulating the astronauts through the window of their post-mission quarantine trailer. The autographed photograph sold for $15,000 including the tip, outstripping its high estimate of $10,000.
Lot 109 was a document signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 8, 1940 in a highly unusual format, and one which we have never seen before, with an older decorative and typographical style more commonly used 20 years earlier, during the Coolidge and Hoover administrations. The appointment promoting Charles P. Snyder as Commander of Battle Force was not as significant as the fact that FDR used a type of document that was officially discontinued. It sold for $3,750 including the buyer’s premium. That’s five 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 will be held in May 2022. Until then, let’s continue making history.