WILTON, Conn. – Extensive and historically significant archives pertaining to Civil War generals (one for the Union, one for the Confederacy), a George Washington-signed free frank document from March 1775, a typed letter signed by Albert Einstein concerning God and science and pertaining to one of his most famous quotes, and Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for The Times They Are A-Changin’ are just a few of the highlights in University Archives’ next online-only auction, slated for Wednesday, June 22. The Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books auction, beginning at 10:30 am Eastern time, features 481 lots. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The Civil War archives are an astounding collection of signed documents, cards, letters, clipped signatures, cartes-de-visite and more, featuring every general listed in Ezra J. Warner’s two exhaustive compilations: Generals in Grey for the Confederacy, which comprises 528 items in six binders together estimated at $300,000-$350,000; and Generals in Blue for the Union, containing 630 items in 12 binders, offered with an estimate of $175,000-$200,000.
The Confederate archive features Robert E. Lee, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, Pierre G.T. Beauregard, James Longstreet and Wade Hampton. The Union archive includes items signed by U.S. Grant, Melancton Wade and Abraham Lincoln, George Meade, James A. Garfield and Winfield Scott Hancock. Both archives are meticulously researched, organized and presented.
Leading the Albert Einstein material in the sale is a typed letter in English, signed and dated April 29, 1954, in which Einstein explains the origins of his scientific motto, “Subtle is the Lord, but not malicious,” encapsulating his personal attitude towards God and spirituality. Einstein first used the motto when responding to another scientist’s claims to have disproved relativity by discovering “ether-drift.” It is estimated at $60,000-$70,000.
Another Einstein-related item, a signed first edition copy of his German language book Mein Weltbild (or The World As I See It), contains an inscription in which he refers to the “Fall of the German Goyim.” It is the only instance known where Einstein employs the controversial Hebrew / Yiddish word for Goyim, or “non-Jew.” The book is from 1934 and is estimated at $12,000-$14,000.
Bob Dylan wrote The Times They Are A-Changin’ in the fall of 1963, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, wanting to create an anthem for social justice. The singer’s handwritten lyrics, penned in 2013 on a page of stationery from the Dorchester hotel in London, is accompanied by a full letter of authenticity (LOA) from JSA and estimated at $50,000-$60,000.
America’s most famous presidents will be represented in the sale by several offerings, including George Washington’s boldly signed (as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army) free frank to Rhode Island Governor Nicholas Cooke in March 1775, just three months after crossing the Delaware River to surprise British and Hessian forces at the Battle of Trenton. It comes with an auction PSA/DNA LOA and is estimated at $12,000-$14,000.
Abraham Lincoln is represented by a signed Civil War military appointment, dated April 13, 1863, promoting John G. Barnard as Lieutenant Colonel of the Corps of Engineers. Barnard and his fellow engineers ensured the safe water crossing of Union troops in addition to planning siege tactics to best sap Confederate defenses. The Lincoln-signed appointment is estimated at $7,500-$10,000.
Also on offer is a dinner invitation Thomas Jefferson signed as president in December 1805, accompanied by a Jefferson-owned Chinese Export oval serving bowl, from the collection of Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, Jefferson’s great-grandson. The serving bowl features a “J” monogram and early Republican imagery such as the 13 stars. This lot is estimated at $18,000-$20,000.
More than 220 words of Biblical verses handwritten by the renowned Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), in both English and Dutch, a document once owned by another famous artist, Maurice Sendak (1928-2012), should bring $35,000-$40,000.
A large archive of notes and drafts of speeches pertaining to Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, plus more routine notes, spanning a dozen years (1976-1988), comprising 42 pages and more than 2,000 words, should realize $15,000-$20,000; while a 1790 U.S. Treasury Department circular handwritten and signed by Alexander Hamilton as “A. Hamilton”, regarding the documentation of tonnage of imports and exports, is estimated at $12,000-$15,000.
University Archives is actively seeking quality material for future auctions. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that may be a fit for a future University Archives auction may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/