University Archives Will Hold Back-to-back Online Auctions – A General Sale On August 25th And A Judaica Auction On August 26th

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The August 25th sale will feature 363 lots of autographs, rare books, historical documents and memorabilia. The August 26th auction will be a smaller, specialized Judaica sale, just 100 lots.

WILTON, Conn. – University Archives will hold back-to-back online auctions on Wednesday and Thursday, August 25th and 26th, starting at 10:30 am Eastern time both days. The August 25th auction will be a general sale offering collectors a variety of autographs, rare books, historical documents and memorabilia. The August 26th auction will be a smaller, specialized Judaica sale.

One-page autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln and dated just weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 22, 1863, with slavery-related content (est. $50,000-$60,000).
One-page autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln and dated just weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 22, 1863, with slavery-related content (est. $50,000-$60,000).

“Our August 25th sale offers collectors a great opportunity to acquire exceptional items from the presidential, science and international categories,” said John Reznikoff, president and founder of University Archives. “Early American enthusiasts, military collectors, and aficionados of art, music, and literature will also find many treasures. The auction will be organized by category.”

Reznikoff added, “The Judaica auction on August 26th, 100 lots in all, will offer many unique items relating to the history of Judaism, the formation of Israel and World War II, to include autographed material from Judah P. Benjamin to Ariel Sharon. There will be dozens of lots relating to the Founding Fathers & Mothers of Israel. The sale will be organized alphabetically.”

The catalogs are up for viewing and bidding now, on the revamped University Archives website (www.UniversityArchives.com), as well as the platforms LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com and Auctionzip.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Both of the auctions will be conducted from University Archives’ new, state-of-the-art, 6,000-square-foot facility in Wilton.

With 363 lots, the August 25th auction is the larger of the two. The major categories will include Presidential (from Washington to Biden); Science (multiple lots of Einstein, plus Robert Hooke, Marie Curie, Richard Feynman, others); Sports (Olympics, Muhammad Ali, Ty Cobb, Michael Jordan, others); and Literature (Robert Frost, James Joyce, Ivan Turgenev, Jules Verne, others).

Other categories include World Leaders (Russian czars, Soviet leaders, Kim Il Sung, Victoria I, others); Art (Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti, Norman Rockwell, others); Space and Aviation (Apollo/Soyuz program, Neil Armstrong, Orville Wright, Soviet cosmonauts, others); Early American (Rev War, John Hancock, Hamilton, Burr, others; and Music (Bob Dylan, others).

More than one-third of the sale is dedicated to U.S. Presidents and First Ladies. An expected top lot is a one-page autograph letter signed by Abraham Lincoln and dated just weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 22, 1863. It’s addressed to Freedmen’s Inquiry Commissioner Robert Dale Owen and has slavery-related content. In it, Lincoln refers to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, the Supreme Court, and the plight of American “freed-men” (est. $50,000-$60,000).

The original Lincoln free franked transmittal panel that accompanied the abovementioned letter is offered as a separate lot. The panel, inscribed overall and signed by Lincoln (as “A. Lincoln” upper right), is expected to finish at $7,000-$8,000. Also, a 346-acre land survey in Augusta County, Virginia, drawn, signed and docketed by a 21-year-old George Washington in 1752, the same year the future president would inherit Mount Vernon, has an estimate of $30,000-$40,000. 

A working scientific manuscript inscribed in German and signed by Albert Einstein around 1938, in advance of a work later co-authored by him and Peter Bergman titled On a Generalization of Kaluza’s Theory of Electricity, has an estimate of $40,000-$50,000. In the Judaica auction, a letter written and signed by Einstein in German in 1921, discussing the Rutherford-Bohr atomic theory, the Theory of Relativity, and the Stark effect of electricity, should hit $12,000-$14,000. 

A very rare document signed by the British scientist and polymath Robert Hooke, relating to the Great Fire of London of 1666, has an estimate of $24,000-$30,000. Hooke served as a Surveyor of the City of London and settled claims following the conflagration. Also, his fellow physicist Richard Feynman’s personally owned copy of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, signed in his name by his wife Arline, should reach $7,000-$8,000.

A gorgeously illuminated Czar Alexander II signed document, in Russian, granting a heraldic device to a Crimean War veteran and naval surgeon, featuring many sumptuous hand-decorated details, is expected to change hands for $5,000-$6,000. Also, a first edition copy of Korean Historic Relics, a book celebrating the flowering of Korean arts and culture, signed and inscribed by Kim Il Sung, the elusive former leader of North Korea, has an estimate of $12,000-$14,000. 

A small photocard dated 1864, depicting a seated portrait of the slave, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth, signed by her with an “x” as her mark, should command $24,000-$28,000. Also, a handwritten copy of the lovely poem Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost, signed by the renowned poet and dated Jan. 5, 1937, composed for Mrs. Emmaline Jones, with a printed photo of Frost, should go for $7,000-$8,000.

A four-page document dated Oct. 20, 1789, signed by Alexander Hamilton (as Secretary of the Treasury), addressed to Stephen Smith, Esq., regarding the paying of tonnage and other duties on vessels, is estimated to sell for $7,000-$8,000. Also, a four-language ship’s passport signed by Thomas Jefferson (as President) and James Madison (as Secretary of State), dated Sept. 29, 1802, requesting safe passage for a London-bound vessel, should knock down for $3,000-$3,500.

In addition to the Einstein letter, highlights of the Judaica sale will include an archive of thirteen letters handwritten by Moshe Dayan on fragile prison tissue and smuggled out of prison while he was an inmate at Acre Prison in British-controlled Palestine between 1939-1941 (est. $30,000-$40,000); and a fabulous archive of artifacts relating to the Jewish Brigade Group of the British Army during World War II, including uniforms, equipment and awards (est. $3,000-$3,500).

University Archives has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare items of this kind. It is actively seeking quality material for future auctions, presenting a rare opportunity for sellers. 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 [email protected]

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.

University Archives’ new offices are located at 88 Danbury Rd. (Suite 2A) in Wilton, Conn. For more information about University Archives and the online-only auctions slated for Wednesday and Thursday, August 25th and 26th, visit www.universityarchives.com. Updates are posted often.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
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James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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