WESTPORT, Conn. – Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics to the classic rock song Like a Rolling Stone, a superb document signed by the British physicist Sir Isaac Newton, and discharge papers for a teenage soldier who lived to be 100 signed by George Washington are just a few of the highlights in University Archives’ next online-only auction, slated for Wednesday, May 6. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The auction is packed with rare books, manuscripts, relics and more, many of them signed by history’s brightest luminaries. Presidential items span the administrations of George Washington through George H.W. Bush (including 11 lots pertaining to Abraham Lincoln); Civil War and slavery (including Grant and Lee); and foreign (Vladimir Lenin, Napoleon, Catherine II and many others).
The literary category will feature Part 3 of items from the legendary Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s estate plus items from Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Clemens, Eugene O’Neill and others. Science and space will include Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison and the Apollo and Gemini missions.
Nearly 50 lots comprise Part 2 of the Forbes Collection—items from multimillionaire magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) and his sons, including a dazzling array of foreign and presidential pieces. A group of King George III’s Acts of Parliament (1766-1775) including one of the Townshend Acts and several punitive Acts, illustrate life in the American colonies on the eve of the Revolution.
Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone was voted the No. 1 rock ’n’ roll song of all time by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine in 2004. The lyrics to the song, handwritten by Dylan on a single 8 ½-by-11-inch sheet (above) plus his signature, have been authenticated by Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen. The lot has an estimate of $75,000-$85,000.
The partly printed and partly handwritten one-page document signed by Sir Isaac Newton (below) and dated July 13, 1720, is in regard to his investment in the ill-fated South Seas Co. just prior to its collapse. The piece, with a red wax seal, is signed “Isaac Newton” (est. $35,000-$40,000).
On June 8, 1783, Gen. George Washington signed a discharge document for Pvt. Daniel Davis (1750-1851), releasing the soldier from military service. The lot should achieve $10,000-$12,000.
Staying in the category, a carte de visite portrait photograph of Abraham Lincoln dated Aug. 9, 1863—signed by the president (as “A. Lincoln”) and authenticated, slabbed and graded Mint 9 by PSA—should bring $55,000-$60,000; while a rare Revolutionary War letter written and signed by Thomas Jefferson (as “Th. Jefferson”), dated Aug. 7, 1779, in which he sets command of “battalions to be raised for defence (sic) of the Western frontier,” carries a presale estimate of $15,000-$17,000.
Other presidential material—from FDR, JFK, Lincoln, Jackson, Reagan and others—is certain to be of interest. Included is a 21-page original corrected draft of an article written by Harry S. Truman that appeared in a 1958 issue of Look magazine, in which Truman demands respect for the office of the presidency, praising Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and both Roosevelts, while rating Fillmore, Taylor, Pierce and Harrison as mediocre. The lot is expected to make $2,000-$2,400.
Not forgetting the First Ladies, University Archives is also offering rare, collectible pieces from Abigail Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Caroline Fillmore, Julia Grant, Jackie Kennedy and others.
Jack Kerouac fans will be thrilled to see the latest treasures from the Beat writer’s estate, Part 3, including almost 50 lots of Kerouac’s apparel, books and possessions. This installment will contain Kerouac’s mailbox from his home in Florida; his much-loved crucifix with rosary bead fragment; the wedding band he presented to his third wife, Stella; and original photographs.
Other memorable Kerouac will items include his personal tobacco pouch, Panama hat, velvet slippers, Catholic religious icon, Buddhist or Hindu silver ceremonial cup and kitschy 1960s entertainment accessories. Books are estate stamped and sealed; other items will be accompanied by estate certification signed by John Shen-Sampas, executor of the Kerouac estate by descent.
One interesting Kerouac item added to the auction is a four-page letter handwritten and signed by him, dated Oct. 26, 1954, and addressed to Robert Lax (1915-2000), Kerouac’s friend, fellow writer and a Catholic. The letter explores Christianity, Buddhism, spirituality, philosophy and linguistics and mentions Kerouac’s upcoming book, Some of the Dharma (est. $15,000-$16,000).
Early American lots include a rare Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, printed in 1848 with remarkably exact renditions of the signers’ hands, one of perhaps as few as 500 copies issued (est. $14,000-$16,000); a John Hancock signed 1776 soldier’s commission for a man who served with Nathan Hale (est. $10,000-$12,000); and a Paul Revere signed receipt for silver tankards commissioned from a Massachusetts church (est. $10,000-$12,000).
The phenomenal Civil War subcategory includes six lots of Robert E. Lee items, including a single-page letter written and signed by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, dated Jan. 17, 1862, to Lee’s relative Shirley Carter Turner, regarding his defense of Charleston, S.C., estimated to fetch $12,000-$14,000; five lots of Ulysses S. Grant; and items pertaining to J.E.B. Stuart, James Longstreet, Jubal Early, Abner Doubleday, Daniel Ruggles, and Mary Surratt. Of the nine lots of slavery-related material, the most significant are an autograph letter signed by Harriet Beecher Stowe regarding abolition and an early Virginia runaway slave poster.
A letter written and signed by Russian leader Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924), penned between the failed revolution of 1905 and the successful revolution of 1917, while he was in exile in Berlin, Germany, has a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$60,000. Also, World War II lot pertaining to The Big Three at Yalta (Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin), including a currency note signed by all three men and a photo signed by FDR and others in Hawaii, should finish at $12,000-$15,000.
A two-page letter written and signed by Albert Einstein from Gatow, Germany, dated Jan. 5, 1929, regarding his United Field Theory (“I have been brooding and calculating almost all of my days and half the nights”), should reach $40,000-$45,000. Also, a one-page letter typewritten and signed by Oskar Schindler (of “Schindler’s List” fame), in German, dated Jan. 8, 1962, saying how proud he was to have saved the people on the list, is expected to garner $14,000-$16,000.
A Fresno Mining Co. stock certificate signed by Samuel Clemens (author Mark Twain’s real name), one of only three known (and the only one available), dated May 19, 1863 and signed as “Sam. L. Clemens,” should realize $30,000-$35,000.
University Archives is happy and honored to be able to make a generous donation to Feeding America, a non-profit organization administering to over 200 food banks across America. The contribution was made possible by the success of the March sale and the already significant interest in the May sale. “Considering Feeding America’s four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the independent charity evaluator, and with over 98 percent of its monetary donations earmarked for food, we are confident that these contributions will go far,” said John Reznikoff, the president of University Archives.
For more information contact Reznikoff at 203-454-0111 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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