WESTPORT, Conn. – A four-page manuscript consisting of nearly 2,300 words written entirely in the hand of English physicist Sir Isaac Newton, a World War II-dated letter written in English by Albert Einstein in which he reveals that Nazi leaders didn’t give much thought to his Theory of Relativity, and a 16-page letter signed by John Adams regarding British abuses eight years after his presidency ended, are just a sampling of what’s in University Archives’ next online auction on Jan. 6. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
The sale contains 440 lots of rare and highly collectible items from multiple specialty categories.
“We keep breaking our own records at University Archives,” said company founder and president John Reznikoff. “When we had our largest-ever 349-lot sale back in August, we didn’t expect to break that record, but just four months later, here we are, with a 440-lot extravaganza of amazing and unusual autographs, historical documents, rare books, manuscripts, collectibles, relics, coins and currency. We invite collectors everywhere to ring in the New Year with us.”
In the Sir Isaac Newton manuscript (above), written around 1710, the legendary physicist seeks inspiration from the Kabbalah, early Christian philosophers and biblical texts to connect metaphysics to physics, thus uniting the abstract world with the concrete world he had partly decoded by discovering gravity. The length and subject matter of this manuscript, along with its outstanding provenance, make this an exceptional find. It has an estimate of $130,000-$160,000.
There are nine lots relating to Einstein, including two typed letters and two autograph letters signed by him (below). In the World War II-dated letter, he wrote, “My first manuscript about relativity was not burned by the Nazis. I myself threw it into the waste-basket after it was printed judging it was good for nothing” (est. $75,000-$80,000). A letter written in German discussing his Unified Field Theory and the behavior of matter in space and in motion was penned the year of his death.
The 16-page letter signed by John Adams is quite possibly the longest letter by Adams in private hands. In it, he opines about the state of current political affairs eight years after his presidency ended. Adams also excoriates British policies undermining American sovereignty – such as the impressment of American sailors – and also lends support to his erstwhile political rival Thomas Jefferson, who was nearing the end of his own second presidential term (est. $70,000-$80,000).
A two-page Revolutionary War-dated letter signed by George Washington, commenting on the courage of Patriot troops during the ongoing Battle of Yorktown, is expected to bring $24,000-$26,000.
A four-page letter written and signed in 1759 by the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, discoursing on the inculcation of financial and moral responsibility, and other money matters, should realize $60,000-$70,000.
A Charles Darwin three-page autograph letter dated Dec. 26, 1876 and signed, referring to his friend and mentor, Scottish geologist Sir Charles Lyell, is significant and enhanced by a desirable full signature (est. $6,000-$7,000). Also offered will be a generous lock (50+ strands) of hair belonging to the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, accompanied by a piece of paper inscribed, “1819 / Napoleon’s Hair / from “Mr. Captain and Capt. Nagle” (est. $5,000-$6,000).
A Civil War-dated military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln for a veteran officer of the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, who would succumb to war injuries in May 1867, has an estimate of $6,000-$7,000.
Jackie Kennedy, as a 16-year-old high school boarding student at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn., doodled a heart and dedicated a vintage black and white photograph to a chum named Betty (est. $1,500-$1,700).
A lightly shellacked D&M brand baseball from the 1920s, signed by many of the era’s brightest stars (including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Lefty Grove and Al Simmons), with an LOA from James Spence LLC, is estimated to bring $6,000-$7,000.
The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.
For details contact University Archives at 203-454-0111 or email John Reznikoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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