WILTON, Conn. – University Archives’ next major online-only auction, Fabulous Autographs & Art, From Van Gogh to Hendrix, will take place Wednesday, September 29 at 10:30 am Eastern time. The 410-lot auction features historical autographs, rare books, artwork, posters, photographs, ephemera, collectibles, and relics – something for every level of collector. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
“About one quarter of the sale is devoted to artists and is part of the collection of Chicagoan Noel Goldblatt, of the famous Goldblatt’s Department Store,” said John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives. “Another large segment is comprised of vintage posters and photographs amassed by a Connecticut collector. We have superb material in many categories.”
Material regarding American Presidents will be led by a three-page letter signed by George Washington, addressed to his nephew Bushrod Washington, dated March 8, 1798 and makes reference. to Robert E. Lee’s father. It is estimated at $28,000-$35,000. There will also be a military commission signed by Abraham Lincoln on February 6, 1862, promoting West Point graduate Thomas Walker to the rank of Captain, the 3rd U.S. Infantry, estimated at $7,000-$8,000.
A one-page letter typed in German and signed by Albert Einstein in 1921, the year he won the Nobel Prize, regarding his theory of relativity as it pertains to the motion of Foucault’s pendulum and the rotation of the Earth, should reach $18,000-$20,000. Also, a Russian language diploma (or award) signed by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin circa 1942, which was presented to a Soviet scientist who would later propose melting the polar ice caps, carries a pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$10,000.
A highlight of the aforementioned Noel Goldblatt collection is also the auction’s expected top lot: a paper fragment inscribed on both sides with about 115 full and partial words in the hand of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, which carries an estimate of $40,000-$50,000. Van Gogh had copied out two verses in English of one hymn and also two stanzas in Dutch from another hymn. Van Gogh’s quest for spiritual fulfillment led him to nature, where he was most at peace and informed his artwork.
Also from the Goldblatt collection is a two-page letter by artist Paul Cezanne, signed and addressed to the subject of his famous painting, Portrait of Gustave Geffroy. It mentions funding fellow artist Auguste Rodin, whose maquette of Honore de Balzac had just been denounced by the literary organization that commissioned it. The Gauguin letter is estimated at $15,000-$20,000. Also on offer is a document signed by Paul Gauguin sometime during the last three years of the artist’s life, when he was living on the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. The receipt mentions Ambroise Vollard, Gauguin’s agent and patron, and could have represented payment for one of Gauguin’s last completed paintings of such exotic subjects as witch doctors and nude women. It is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
A Wilton, Connecticut collector with a penchant for rock ’n roll and pop culture collected dozens of vintage posters and photographs, some of them autographed. The collection represents the last seven decades of popular music, from Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin to David Bowie, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and the Goo Goo Dolls. The items include a 1968 Jimi Hendrix Fillmore East concert poster in exceptional condition. Poster artist David Byrd’s representation of Jimi Hendrix and his bandmates in psychedelic pink and orange is one of the most iconic rock music posters of all time. The Hendrix poster is estimated at $6,000-$7,000.
Also of note is an oversized black and white photograph of The Beatles, taken in Hamburg, West Germany in 1960. It is signed by photographer Astrid Kirchherr, the fiancee of bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe, who tragically died of an aneurysm in 1962. The photograph is estimated at $2,400-$2,600. Another standout is a photograph of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin taken by Jim Marshall for an article in Teen Set magazine, twice signed by Marshall and annotated, “Grace + Janis – 1967.” Its estimate is $2,000-$2,400.
A two-page letter written and signed by martial arts legend Bruce Lee, dated Nov. 22, 1972, to his Fists of Fury co-star Bob Baker, asking if he can send him some cocaine (“air-mail me some fine ‘C’ if you can swing it”), is expected to bring $10,000-$12,000, while a baseball signed on the sweet spot by Babe Ruth in 1932, inscribed “World Champs” (perhaps by the owner), and signed by three others (including Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez), should hit $4,000-$5,000.
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