BOSTON – RR Auction‘s July Fine Autograph and Artifact sale boasts a wealth of remarkable historical material from the 18th century to the present day, including significant letters by Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.
Among the highlights is a Nikola Tesla letter evoking the great rivalries of the electric age. Tesla penned the handwritten four-page letter on personal monogram letterhead, dated July 14, 1899, to Rear Admiral Francis J. Higginson from what the scientist called the “Colorado Springs Experimental Station.” In the letter, Tesla alludes to his rivalry with Marconi, asserting that he has now perfected novel methods that are superior to those previously promulgated by himself and others. Marconi was his chief competitor in this area at the time. Tesla insisted his wireless technology was superior to Marconi’s: “I am now looking with full confidence to the establishment of a communication with the European continent.”
Further, his inquiry about whether the power supply on Higginson’s ship is “direct or alternating” is noteworthy as a question associated with what has been called the “current wars.” Tesla was an advocate for alternating current, while Thomas Edison was a supporter of direct current. In both cases, Tesla would become embroiled in lengthy legal battles centered on patent infringement with his competitors. Rife with content related to the great rivalries of the early electric age, this autograph letter by the celebrated innovator is estimated at $50,000-$60,000.
Another signed letter from a great scientist offered in the July 13 auction is a single-page typed letter in French, dated November 5, 1919, from Albert Einstein. He addressed it to Professor Jean Baptiste Perrin, who would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1926 for his work on the atomic structure of matter. In addition to important family and political content, Einstein comments on a theory that Perrin had developed in which all chemical transformations (including radioactive decay) are triggered by radiation, calling it “dubious.”
Also significant is its date: one day before the official report of Eddington’s expedition debuted before the Royal Society of London, which confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Widespread newspaper coverage of the results vaulted Einstein into immediate international fame. This is an altogether remarkable letter from one Nobel Prize winner to another, and it carries an estimate of $25,000-$30,000.
A prize from a different realm of fame is a set of notes handwritten by Marilyn Monroe, in which she remembers her mom ahead of a meeting with her psychoanalyst. It includes the line: “Mother always tried to get me to ‘go out’ as though she felt I were too unadventurous.” The notes along the top refer to two women who recently entered Monroe’s life — her psychoanalyst Dr. Marianne Kris, who Monroe had begun seeing after leaving Dr. Margaret Hohenberg in the spring of 1957, and Jane Miller, Monroe’s stepdaughter with husband Arthur Miller. The Monroe notes are estimated at $7,500-$10,000.
The Fine Autograph and Artifacts auction by RR Auction began on June 24 and will conclude on July 13. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/