Karl Marx letter could bring $500K at RR Auction, March 9
BOSTON – RR Auction‘s Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale, concluding on Wednesday, March 9, boasts more than 900 outstanding lots relating to great figures in world history and culture. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
Among the important autographs in the sale is a letter by Karl Marx about the French edition of Das Kapital. The three-page letter is handwritten in French, dated March 7, 1872, and addressed to the publisher Maurice Lachatre. In 1872, Lachatre published the first book of Marx’s Das Kapital in French – Le Capital, translated by Joseph Roy but edited by Marx himself. Marx’s letters are incredibly scarce, and as this example is associated with the publication of his most important work, it is of the utmost desirability. It is estimated at $300,000-$500,000.
Equally compelling is a letter by Nikola Tesla about the possibility of extraterrestrial life and his detection of “feeble impulses emanating from Mars.” The fascinating one-page handwritten letter on vellum parchment is addressed to Universal Pictures co-founder Carl Laemmle. The celebrated inventor’s eccentric ways and marvelous mind doubtlessly inspired some of the mad scientist characters brought to the screen by Laemmle in the 1920s and 1930s. The Tesla letter carries an estimate of $200,000-$300,000.
Another unimpeachable prize is a fully signed Beatles Fan Club promo card dating to circa late 1963 or early 1964. The card features Dezo Hoffmann’s image of the group seated in their collarless suits. This is one of the finest examples that the experts at RR Auction have seen, and it was signed just weeks before the Beatles’ legendary appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, followed by their historic first U.S. tour. The card is estimated at $20,000-$25,000.
Rare signed documents from Paul Gauguin include a Gauguin letter written while in French Polynesia, acknowledging payment from art dealer Vollard, estimated at $15,000-$25,000; and a Gauguin handwritten letter to Brigadier Claverie, written from his final home in Atuona, Hiva Oa, French Polynesia, interceding on behalf of the indigenous peoples of Anaiapa in a judicial matter. Its estimate is $15,000-$20,000.
Yet another standout is a letter written from prison by Malcolm X after his conversion to Islam. The detailed letter offers great insight into his early life of “sin” and his clear desire for repentance, and it represents a rare early example of his adopted “Malcolm X” name. It is estimated at $12,000-$15,000.
Top artifacts on offer include American diplomat Ellsworth Bunker’s Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction; a plate from Thomas Jefferson’s White House china service; and a brooch given by Jacqueline Kennedy to her secretary. This last, designed by Marcel Boucher and decorated with faux emerald and pearl cabochons, is estimated at $3,500-$4,500.
The Fine Autograph and Artifacts sale from RR Auction began February 18 and will conclude on March 9. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/