University Archives held its October 18, 2023 auction, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia, this past week. Dealers, private collectors, and institutions vied for 428 lots of superb historical memorabilia in a sale lasting five hours. Absentee and phone bidders competed against online bidders from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Romania, and Switzerland. Some of our sale highlights come from the Early America, U.S. Presidential, Business, Military, Literature, Civil Rights, and Sports categories.
Lot 212 was a first edition copy (Stoddard’s Edition 1) of Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, by Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, in New England (London: A. Bell, Bookseller, 1773), from the personal collection of John C. Shields, a college professor and well-known Wheatley scholar. There was intense and drawn-out bidding for this important item, which sold to a Michigan collector for 40% higher than its high estimate, or $93,750 including the buyer’s premium. This marks the second-highest selling rare book in our company history--surpassed only in January 2020 by an 1838 book signed by Abraham Lincoln—and the top-selling unsigned rare book.
Lot 225 was a signature clip of Lyman Hall from the 2006 Topps 1/1 Declaration of Independence Signers series, PSA graded and encapsulated MINT 9. It exchanged hands for over double its high estimate, or $17,500 including the tip.
Lot 84 was a Civil War-dated autograph note signed by Abraham Lincoln guaranteeing the safe passage of a Confederate war widow to New Jersey in mid-February 1865. The pass bearer was Mrs. John Kerr Dougherty of Clay County, Missouri, who had been banished behind “Federal lines” because of her husband’s service in the Confederate Army; Dougherty had been killed at the Battle of Franklin in November 1864. The item passed the auction block for 30% higher than its high estimate, eventually selling for $12,160 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 84, Abraham Lincoln ANS
Lot 112 was an autograph letter signed by President-Elect Franklin Pierce on mourning stationery; Pierce’s 11-year-old son “Bennie” Pierce had been killed in a railroad accident in January 1853, just two months before the president’s inauguration. Pierce’s letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis sold for well above its high estimate, or $3,500 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 45 was a scarce autograph letter signed by Rutherford B. Hayes as President on “Executive Mansion” stationery dating shortly after his return from a Western Tour which included the first-ever trip of a sitting president to Oregon, which had become a state over 20 years before. It sold for over 5 times its high estimate, or $3,250 including the tip.
Lot 192 was a stock certificate from the Spuyten Duyvil & Port Morris Railroad signed by three Vanderbilts: family patriarch Cornelius as shareholder; his eldest son William H. as company Vice President; and his favorite grandson and namesake Cornelius II as company Treasurer. The item sold for more than 12 times its high estimate, or $11,250 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 192, 3 Vanderbilts DS
Lot 318 was a “U.S.” military insignia lapel pin personally worn and owned by George S. Patton, Jr. From the Patton estate, and CAG encapsulated, the pin sold to a Texas collector for over 300% higher than its high estimate, or $8,125 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 365 was a 4pp autograph letter signed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow discussing his upcoming travel plans to Scandinavia and Western Europe. Longfellow, who had taught foreign language at Bowdoin College, had just been awarded a professorship of Modern Languages at Harvard University. The item sold for 7 times its high estimate, or $2,750 including the tip.
Lot 196 was a 1p autograph manuscript signed by Carlotta LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock 9. In this moving handwritten recollection, LaNier describes her experience as a 14-year-old African American girl attempting to attend public high school in the newly desegregated South, including the bombing of her home. The item sold for nearly 5 times over its high estimate, or $2,375 including the tip.
Lot 412 was a collection of 14 World Series programs and yearbooks from 1927-1961, documenting memorable baseball matchups between the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Reds, Tigers, Cardinals, and Phillies over four decades. This unique and colorful archive of sports ephemera sold for over 3 times its high estimate, or $2,750 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 412, Baseball Archive
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 November 29, 2023. We hope you can join us!