Intriguing handwritten Nikola Tesla letter achieves $51K at RR

Four-page handwritten Nikola Tesla letter from 1899, $51,651

Four-page handwritten Nikola Tesla letter from 1899, $51,651

BOSTON – A Nikola Tesla letter signed by the celebrated innovator sold for $51,651 at RR Auction on July 13.

Tesla penned the handwritten four-page letter on personal monogram letterhead and referenced his “Colorado Springs Experimental Station,” dated July 14, 1899. He addressed the letter to Rear Admiral Francis J. Higginson, and in it, Tesla insisted his wireless technology was superior to Marconi’s: “I am now looking with full confidence to the establishment of a communication with the European continent.”

Tesla alluded to his rivalry with Marconi in this significant letter, asserting that he has now perfected novel methods superior to those previously promulgated by himself and others. Marconi was his chief competitor in this area at the time. Further, his inquiry about the power supply of Higginson’s ship, whether “direct or alternating,” is noteworthy as a question associated with what were known as the “current wars.” Tesla was an advocate for alternating current, while Thomas Edison was a supporter of direct current. In both cases, Tesla would become embroiled in lengthy legal battles over patent infringement with his competitors.

“It’s a rare and remarkable letter with fantastic content on the great rivalries of the electric age,” said RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston.

The Fine Autograph and Artifacts auction by RR Auction began on June 24 and concluded on July 13. For more information, go to


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