WESTPORT, Conn. – Bob Dylan’s signed, handwritten lyrics to his iconic song Like a Rolling Stone, items relating to the recently deceased former President George H.W. Bush, plus rare and highly collectible items pertaining to Washington, Lincoln and other luminaries will be featured in University Archives’ next major online-only auction, scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 23. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
As with all University Archives auctions, this one is loaded with rare, highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. Major categories will include Civil War and Revolutionary War collectibles, space and aviation (including letters written and signed by deceased moonwalkers Neil Armstrong and Jim Irwin), science (including lots signed by Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and Samuel F.B. Morse), World War II items and U.S. presidents memorabilia.
“This might not be our largest sale ever, but in terms of value and quality it could very well be our best,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “There are more than a few items in this sale that are simply ‘the finest known,’ ‘the best’ or ‘the rarest.’ And after 40 years in the business, when we make such lofty claims they’re uttered authoritatively.”
Dylan’s signed, handwritten lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone – voted the No. 1 rock song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 – was consigned by the same person who sold Dylan’s signed lyrics to The Times They Are A-Changin’ in University Archives’ recent auction (price realized: $137,500). Like a Rolling Stone is arguably the superior collectible and has an estimate of $50,000-$60,000. Also offered is a copy of the Dylan album Blonde on Blonde, signed by him.
The George H.W. Bush lots include a three-page letter typed on White House stationery in 1991, signed by Bush and written to journalist Richard Cramer, in which the president explains his rationale for launching Operation Desert Storm and calls Saddam Hussein the “Picture of Evil” (est. $8,000-$9,000); and Bush’s own Timex watch presented by him to incumbent Republican Congressman Bill Young in 1990, along with a hand-signed note to Young and his wife (est. $5,000-$6,000).
Collectors can’t get enough of George Washington. Lots pertaining to the first president include a letter signed by Washington in 1780 (with the main body penned by military secretary Robert Hanson Harrison), in which he writes of the harsh winter in Morristown, N.J. (est. $15,000-$16,000); and a signed document from 1785, endorsing Thomas Tillotson, a medical surgeon in the Revolutionary War, for membership in the Society of Cincinnati (est. $12,000-$14,000).
A unique Lincoln Memorial dedication program signed by four U.S. Presidents and more than 30 Lincoln scholars, artists and other important attendees is bound to attract keen bidder interest. The handsome, oversized presentation album is hand-signed by former President William H. Taft, Warren G. Harding (the sitting president at the time) and future presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. Measuring 10¾ inches by 13 inches, the book should bring $6,000-$7,000.
Space and science – two burgeoning genres – will be well-represented in the sale. A letter handwritten and signed by Neil Armstrong on NASA letterhead, addressed to a “Mr. Glass” in which Armstrong mentions his seven X-15 flights, should soar to $7,000-$8,000; while an original two-page scientific manuscript, inscribed overall by French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852-1908), the discoverer of radioactivity, is expected to finish at $3,000-$3,250.
An important document from 1919, typewritten in Russian and boldly signed by Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) and others (including Czar Nicholas’s executioner, Felix Dzerzhinsky, on cream letterhead, should bring $12,000-$14,000. A glossy black and white photo signed by Douglas MacArthur, showing the World War II general landing at Leyte Island in the Philippines in Oct. 1944, one of the finest examples known, has an estimate of $3,000-$3,250.
A photo of President Harry S. Truman holding up a copy of a newspaper that carried the incorrect headline “Dewey Defeats Truman” from the 1948 presidential election, signed by Truman, has an estimate of $6,000-$7,000. Also, a letter typed on White House stationery in 1974 and signed by President Richard Nixon, in which he thanks a supporter for “urging me not to resign the Presidency,” should garner $4,000-$5,000.
Rounding out the sale’s highlights, one of the finest known signed images of Bruce Lee, pictured as Kato from The Green Hornet, in a program guide for the 1967 National Karate Championship, inscribed to a fan, is expected to hit $15,000-$17,000; while a document twice-signed in 1791 by John Marshall, while secretary of state under John Adams, selling four shares in The Bank of the United States, should command $4,000-$5,000.
As with all University Archives online auctions, this one is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history.