On December 14, 2022, University Archives welcomed customers and clients to its last sale of the year-- a 381-lot holiday gift-packed auction. Interest in Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books culminated in over 2,000 absentee bids, executed either on online platforms or by company staff. More than 57,000 lot views were reported from just one of our platforms, where European bidders from Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, France, and Romania vied with bidders from the United States, Israel, Canada, and Australia.
The end of 2022 provides us with the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year in passing. Year-to-date, University Archives’ auctions averaged a sell-through rate of 95.5% -- one of the highest and most consistent rates in the industry – and grossed over $6,000,000 in sales for our consignors. Not to mention that we united collectors from around the world with over 3,880 lots of outstanding historical collectibles!
Our December sale yielded strong results in the U.S. Presidents, Science, and Literature & Art collecting categories.
A Type II portrait photograph of Abraham Lincoln, known as the “Penny Profile,” was directly printed from the Mathew Brady Gallery original negative in ca. 1910 by world-renowned Lincoln collector Frederick H. Meserve, who inscribed the photo’s protective wrappers. The diminutive photo sold for $1,375 including the buyer’s premium, trouncing its pre-auction high estimate by nearly 400%.
Lot 91 was a 1p autograph letter signed by James Madison addressed to an arts aficionado of the Knickerbocker Group relating to “American Literature” and the New-York Historical Society. The letter is PSA/DNA encapsulated, certified, and graded NM 7. It exchanged hands for $4,687.50 including the tip, or 40% more than its low estimate.
A lovely glossy color photograph of the White House South Portico was attractively displayed in a mat signed by six U.S. Presidents: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. It sold above its high estimate, garnering $4,062.50 including the buyer’s premium.
Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud carried the day. Lot 378 was a 3pp autograph letter signed by Einstein in German, undated but ca. June 1918, discussing his chances of winning a “hypothetical Nobel Prize” and wondering about its possible impact on his life. Einstein had to wait another four years until receiving the coveted award in 1922. The letter sold for $17,500 including the tip, meeting its high estimate.
Lots 382 and 383 were two outstanding vintage photographs of Sigmund Freud. The first was a candid photograph of Freud snapped on a European street corner, ca. 1920. It achieved five times its high estimate, netting $2,500 including the buyer’s premium, in part because Freud’s direct yet casual gaze makes the photograph seem so startingly modern.
Lot 383 was a photograph of Third International Psychoanalytic Congress members, including Freud and his protege Carl Jung, taken in Weimar, Germany in 1911, when the pair was still on good terms. Their ideological schism occurred the following year, in 1912. Bidders loved the implicit tension of the photograph for that reason, and it exceeded the high estimate, selling for $10,000 including the tip.
Literature & Art
Literary greats Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger stormed the Literature category. Lot 365 was a 1955 later edition printing of Hemingway’s Spanish Civil War saga, For Whom The Bell Tolls, signed by him and dedicated on the front free endpaper. It sold for $4,375 including the buyer’s premium. J.D. Salinger wrote a 1p autograph letter signed complaining about being bored at a recent dinner party in Weston, Connecticut. The successful bidder loved how the letter captured a little of Holden Caulfield’s irritability. It sold for $7,500 including the buyer’s premium.
A signed original ink drawing by patriotic illustrator Howard Chandler Christy surpassed its high estimate by nearly four times, selling for $2,375 including the tip. The sketch depicted the winsome brunette who inspired his iconic “Gee!! I Wish I Were A Man, I’d Join the Navy!!” World War I-era recruitment poster.
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 February 1, 2023. Please check our website for future updates about scheduling.