WILTON, Conn. – A handwritten note twice signed by Abraham Lincoln just days before winning the 1864 presidential election, ship’s papers from 1794 signed by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and a 1748 handwritten note signed by Benjamin Franklin are among the highlights of University Archives’ online-only auction slated for Wednesday, April 19. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The auction – Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics, Signers of the Declaration & Sports – will start promptly at 11 am Eastern time. In honor of the 248th anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in the American Revolution, the catalog will feature more than 55 lots of material autographed by Declaration of Independence signers.
Lincoln penned a cheerful note to an unidentified young man, probably his eldest son Robert, on the cusp of the 1864 presidential election. Lincoln wrote: “Bravo! my good boy. Whether Mr. L. shall be re-elected or not, he feels sure that you will stick to the cause of the country. A. Lincoln.” Lincoln’s use of the third person is rare but not without precedent. The note carries an estimate of $40,000-$50,000.
Sitting President George Washington and future president Thomas Jefferson boldly signed three-language ship’s papers for a Martinique-bound schooner on June 6, 1794. This combination of signatures on a document such as this is outstanding, as is the size of each massive signature: four inches for Washington’s and two and a half inches for Jefferson. Its estimate is $20,000-$30,000.
Lot 221 is one of two superb Benjamin Franklin-signed items up for bid. The note is signed and dated June 15, 1748, the same year Franklin turned down a colonelcy and instead enlisted in the Pennsylvania militia. The letter is believed to be addressed to Andrew Pepperrell, the son of Sir William Pepperrell, the commander of British Army forces at Louisburg. It has an estimate of $18,000-$24,000.
The 37 Declaration of Independence signers represented in the April sale include John and Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and Arthur Middleton. Some signers are represented by multiple lots. An autograph letter signed “John Hancock” as governor of Massachusetts, dated Sept. 28, 1788, was written to a Valley Forge veteran in the Northwest Territory, recommending a young Revolutionary War officer who would be killed three years later at the Battle of Wabash. It is estimated at $6,000-$7,000.
A vintage Ewing & Harris gelatin silver photograph of Teddy Roosevelt, signed by the president in the last few months of his second term, is truly gargantuan, housed in a frame measuring 15 ½ by 23in overall. The photo was previously on display at the Krainik Gallery of Vintage Photographs and was once auctioned by Christie’s. Its estimate is $7,000-$8,000.
Albert Einstein signed and inscribed a charming photograph of himself dressed in yachting clothes to Dr. Max Heimann in December 1935. The photo testifies to the physicist’s love of sailing, which often led him into near catastrophe – for example, running aground and nearly drowning. The photo, accompanied by a PSA/DNA letter of authenticity, carries an estimate of $9,000-$12,000.
On to sports, where lot 406 is a vintage photograph of early baseball legends Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, John McGraw, Gabby Street, Christy Walsh and Nick Altrock, signed by all six along the bottom. The photo was taken at the 1931 World Series game between the Philadelphia Athletics and the St. Louis Cardinals. The 8 by 10in photo has an estimate of $10,000-$12,000.
Completing the highlights is a first edition, first printing hardcover copy of Jackie Robinson’s biography, Wait Till Next Year, which he co-wrote with Carl T. Rowan, dedicated to Rowan on the front loose end paper, in part as: “5-20-60 / To Carl with best wishes and thanks for all you did to help (make) Wait Till Next Year a success. Your participation helped us very much …” Rowan covered current events relating to the Civil Rights movement and later became America’s first Black syndicated columnist. This extraordinary copy of a memorable book is estimated at $18,000-$20,000.
University Archives is actively seeking quality material for future auctions. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that might fit may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111 or email him at email@example.com. For more information about University Archives, please visit www.universityarchives.com.
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