WESTPORT, Conn. – Manual typewriters owned and used by Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac, plus items relating to Tchaikovsky, Houdini and aviation, are just a few expected top lots in University Archives’ next big online auction scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26, starting at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The auction is packed with unique relics, photos, autographs, books and ephemera in a wide range of collecting categories. In the literary category alone, there are six lots pertaining to Hemingway and 19 lots pertaining to Kerouac (to include the typewriters), plus items related to F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Margaret Mitchell, Langston Hughes and Jack London.
Other categories include business, finance and invention (Andrew Carnegie, Jay Cooke, Jay Gould, J. Paul Getty, George Pullman and Henry Ford); music (Tchaikovsky, George Gershwin, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra); entertainment (Marilyn Monroe, Harry Houdini and classic Hollywood); and presidential items from Washington to Obama.
“An extremely rare letter signed by President Zachary Taylor, written during his brief five months in office, and a Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, lead our Americana category,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “Our position as the industry leader in Signers and Revolutionary War categories was just solidified by our blockbuster Declaration Signers’ auction held in January, which realized nearly $900,000.”
Bibliophiles will relish the six lots related to American novelist Ernest Hemingway. One, from the collection of 102-year-old A.E. Hotchner – Hemingway’s biographer, close friend and confidante – is Hemingway’s 1950s Royal typewriter (above; est. $50,000-$100,000), used to write the memoir A Moveable Feast. Included is a letter of authenticity signed in 2019 by Hotchner.
Jazz Age aficionados will also appreciate a gorgeous Gordon Bryant portrait of Hemingway’s friend and fellow expat writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, boldly signed by the author of The Great Gatsby as “Faithfully Yours / F. Scott Fitzgerald” (est. $8,000-$9,000). The photo was part of a study of Fitzgerald by Bryant that was later published in the magazine Shadowland, in 1921.
Part 1 of items from the Jack Kerouac estate includes 19 lots of unique and poignant personal items belonging to the author of On the Road. Lots include Kerouac’s Smith-Corona typewriter (est. $18,000-$20,000), which he used to type his last published work, Vanity of Duluoz, written in 1967 and published in 1968. Included is the original sales receipt and original ribbon. Other Kerouac items will feature correspondence with close friend and poet Allen Ginsberg.
Of the 15-plus lots dedicated to inventors and investors, the lot of three 1830s patent documents for Colt’s revolutionary “revolving cylinder” guns, signed and annotated by the gunsmith himself, should garner special interest (est. $40,000-$50,000).
The scarce Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, printed in 1848 with remarkable exact renditions of the signers’ hands, is one of the best representations of the original manuscript Declaration, and perhaps one of as few as 500 issued (est. $15,000-$18,000). Measuring 26 inches by 29 inches, the document is a copperplate engraving on thin rice paper.
An order to suspend execution written by Abraham Lincoln as President on Nov. 10, 1864, a superb card (3 ¼ inches by 2 inches) with over 24 words written in Lincoln’s hand, and signed and dated by Lincoln, carries an estimate of $5,000-$6,000. Also, an oversize document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte (as “Nap” bottom center), dated May 16, 1813, in which he appoints a Norman politician as Baron of the Empire, with a Great Seal, should command $4,000-$5,000.
A rare, four-page letter signed by the Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky contains significant content relating to his opera Mazepa (est. $12,000-$15,000). In the letter, addressed to conductor Eduard Nápravník, Tchaikovsky discusses logistics for the opera named after Pushkin’s poem about the 1709 Battle of Poltava. Mazepa premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1884.
A same-day eyewitness account of the Wounded Knee massacre, penned in a letter by Winfield Scott Edgerly to his wife Grace, dated Dec. 29, 1890, in which he says “the 7th (Cavalry) needn’t be ashamed of today’s record,” should reach $10,000-$12,000. Also, a Standard Oil certificate for 600 shares of capital stock, signed three times by John D. Rockefeller and once by Henry Morrison Flagler, dated Dec. 26, 1876, is expected to sell for $2,000-$2,400.
A single-page letter written and boldly signed by astronaut Neil Armstrong on official NASA letterhead, in which he mentions his participation in the X-15 program, in fine condition, has an estimate of $7,000-$8,000; while an archive of 34 letters, notes and postcards, mostly written by aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne between 1951-1980, to their Connecticut neighbor John Oldrin, sharing their thoughts on life and loss, is estimated to hit $4,000-$5,000.
A two-page letter written and boldly signed by Harry Houdini (as “Houdini”), dated Feb. 22, 1924, addressed to Mrs. Remigius Weiss of Pittsburgh, a peer of Houdini’s, in which he solicits books on witchcraft and kindred spirits, is estimated at $3,500-$4,500. Also, a check signed and fully endorsed by Marilyn Monroe, sent from the Hollywood, California address of her love nest with Joe DiMaggio, has an estimate of $2,600-$2,800.
For details contact University Archives at 203-454-0111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.