University Archives held its sale, Rare Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Sports Memorabilia, at our Wilton, CT headquarters this week. The 500+-lot sale, which lasted over six hours, was an extraordinary success, thanks to unprecedented bidder interest in top-tier U.S. Presidential, Science, Sports, Military, and Literature items. Our September 6, 2023 sale marked the passage of an important company milestone: a continuous sell-through rate of 92% or higher for two years, from our September 29, 2021 sale to today. We are proud to offer our consignors such a unique selling opportunity. With access to multiple bidding platforms, and comprehensive, multi-media marketing coverage, consignors have an increased likelihood that their items get views and bids. Our online presence is truly worldwide and ever-expanding. University Archives is happy to welcome participating bidders from Asia including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and India.
U.S. Presidential, Science, Sports, Military, Literature, Music, Supreme Court, and Crime/Law were the outstanding collecting categories of the day. Select highlights from our sale can be seen below.
Lot 83 was an 8” x 10” vintage black and white photograph showing President Richard Nixon and cabinet members, ca. 1969-70, signed by 13 including Vice President Spiro Agnew. This is the only Nixon-related cabinet photo that we’ve ever seen, and bidders were just as excited as we were: the signed photo sold for over double the high estimate, or $3,416 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 453 was a copy of medical findings entitled “Vaccination Against Paralytic Poliomyelitis: Performance and Prospects,” originally presented by Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr. at the University of Michigan on April 12, 1955, the same day Jonas Salk’s new polio vaccine was pronounced safe to administer in the United States, signed by Salk and dedicated to a Massachusetts physician and anesthesiologist. The item sold for over three times its high estimate, or $3,250 including the tip.
Lot 488 was an original program and scorecard from the first All-Star game in MLB history: the matchup between the National League All-Stars and Babe Ruth’s American League All-Stars at Chicago’s Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933. The program, in vibrant red and blue ink, and complete with numerous period product and service advertisements, surpassed its high estimate by over 400%, selling for $3,750 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 387 was a “General Headquarters, The Force in Egypt, General Staff, Intelligence Section” telegram inscribed and signed by Lawrence of Arabia (T.E. Lawrence) just six months before the Arab Revolt erupted against the Ottoman Turks during World War I. This remarkable piece of ephemera sold for nearly double its high estimate, or $6,875 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 323 was a French-language letter boldly signed by Napoleon Bonaparte addressed to his Minister of War during the War of the Fourth Coalition. The letter, brilliantly demonstrating Napoleon’s mastery of troop movements and military objectives during the advance of his one-million-strong Grande Armée through modern-day Poland, sold for over 200% of the high estimate, or $5,312 including the tip.
Lot 307 was the personally worn name tag of 4-star general Colin Powell, displayed in a CAG jumbo holder, ex-Colin Powell estate. It changed hands for 30% over its high estimate, or $4,375 including the tip.
Lot 379 was a film rights contract to The Old Man and the Sea, boldly signed by Ernest Hemingway, who would receive both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for the novella upon which the movie was based. The beautifully displayed legal agreement sold for 25% over its high estimate, or $10,000 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 401 was a hardcover copy of the first American edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (October 1998), boldly signed by author J.K. Rowling on the title page. The collector’s item sold for well over the high estimate, or $5,625 including the tip.
Lot 217 was a presentation photo of Elvis Presley in his break-out role as Clint Reno in Love Me Tender. It garnered over three times its high estimate, or $3,750 including the buyer’s premium.
Lot 433 was an autograph letter signed by Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Marshall addressed to a Virginia merchant, mentioning a man named “Dick,” most likely an enslaved person owned by either Marshall or his correspondent. The irony that Marshall, one of the most important judicial minds in American history, owned approximately 200 enslaved persons upon his death, was not lost on the buyer, who bought the item for 40% over the high estimate, or $6,250 including the tip.
Lot 170 was a monumental collection of crime memorabilia, mostly from Chicago, 1875-1929, and related to the Pinkerton Detective Agency and other crime-fighting law enforcement agencies. The buyer loved the assembled scrapbook of wanted posters, photographs, tintypes, and over 250 illustrated images from the Rogues Gallery, paying over four times the high estimate, or $15,360 including the buyer’s premium.
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 October 18, 2023. We hope you can join us!