RR Auction offers Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein letters June 12
BOSTON – Boasting nearly 1,000 lots in a variety of genres, RR Auction’s June Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale is highlighted by a Science and Technology section with online bidding until June 12. The fully illustrated auction catalog can be viewed on LiveAuctioneeers. Highlights include a Charles Darwin letter requesting a sketch of a barnacle fossil. The four-page handwritten letter signed “C. Darwin,” from Aug. 8, 1850. It was written to Nathaniel Thomas Wetherell, underscoring Darwin’s belief in the scientific significance of the study of cirripedia (barnacles). During the period of 1846 to 1854 Darwin spent time studying barnacles, publishing a monograph titled Living Cirripedia in 1851 (estimate $15,000+).
Also featured is an Albert Einstein letter on the topic “Geometrization.” The one-page letter, written in German in April 1926, is signed “A. Einstein.” It was written to Hans Reichenbach in Stuttgart, Germany, concerning Reichenbach’s recent work on geometrization of the magnetic field as well as his criticism of Hermann Weyl’s similar theory.
At the time of this letter, Reichenbach and Einstein were communicating about the former’s construction of a theory establishing a connection between electricity and geometry, which he hoped would prove as effective as that of general relativity connecting gravitation and geometry. Reichenbach concluded, however, that his theory was less successful than that of general relativity, and he informed Einstein in a prior letter that based on his experiments, evidence proved that geometrization of a physical field could not be considered a significant advancement. In this letter, Einstein appears to agree with Reichenbach, while at the same time criticizing Hermann Weyl’s own theory on geometrization of the electromagnetic field (estimate $20,000+).
A rotational hand controller, a significant and easily recognizable piece of iconic Lunar Module hardware is featured in the auction. This hand controller would be used for controlling the Lunar Module’s attitude: The handle pivots at the palm for pitch up/down, through the center of the handle for yaw, left/right, and inside the housing for roll left/right. These three-axis controls for pitch, roll, and yaw were vital for successfully maneuvering the spacecraft to and from the lunar surface, and for rendezvous and docking with the Command Module on the return home (estimate $50,000+).
Apollo 14 moonwalker Edgar Mitchell’s lunar surface-worn backpack strap is a highly desirable collector’s item.
Additional highlights include a letter by Joseph Stalin with a hammer-and-sickle sketch, a Beatles-signed promo slick for A Hard Day’s Night hand-drawn plans from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin studio.
The auction also has signed letters by luminaries like Davy Crockett, Paul Gauguin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sigmund Freud, Richard Wagner and Claude Monet.