Auctions | March 1, 2023

Items Signed by Einstein, Louis VII and Paul Revere to Auction

University Archives

Archive of Pinkerton National Detective Agency related items, circa 1875-1929, including newspaper clippings, photographs, Rogues Gallery illustrated portraits, wanted posters and broadsheets (est. $7,500-$9,500).

An eclectic sale featuring items signed by historical luminaries as diverse as theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, France’s King Louis VII and Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere is scheduled for March 15 by University Archives.

Also included is an exceptional array of U.S. presidential material from George Washington to Barack Obama.

“This auction features unique science material from Einstein, Hooke, Feynman and others, as well as a marvelous miscellany encompassing Early American, art, international and sports collecting categories,” said John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives. Highlights of the sale include:

* Lot 384 is a typed letter signed by Einstein explaining his monumental scientific formula, E = mc2 (est. $45,000-$60,000). There are five Einstein lots in the auction including a one-page autograph manuscript in German, mentioning the General Theory of Relativity and the theory of gravity.

* Lot 330 is an elegant manuscript document in Latin signed by the French monarch Louis VII at Senlis in 1177, with an interesting connection to the Crusades. The document, granting property rights, was signed by two future French Crusaders: Raoul I, Count of Clermont-en-Beauvaisis, and Theobald V, Count of Blois, both killed during the Siege of Acre (est. $24,000-$35,000).

* Lot 105 is an autograph album signed by three current and future U.S. presidents – Lincoln, Grant, and Garfield – plus approximately 140 additional signatures of mostly Civil War-era military personnel, politicians, and other notables. The album, with 1896 newspaper article provenance giving an eyewitness account of Lincoln’s signing his autograph in Washington, D.C. in 1862, was compiled by a Civil War veteran from Peoria, Illinois (est. $16,000-$20,000).

* Lot 223 relates to Paul Revere’s purchase of 4 chaldrons (over five net tons) of coal, to fuel his metal-working furnaces in 1787. Revere signed the receipt issued by a Boston merchant and included a nine-word endorsement in his hand (est. $15,000-$20,000).

* Lot 112 is a 1783 document signed by George Washington granting a furlough and unconditional discharge to “Jerod Hummingston, Private in the 2d Regt’ Lt Drag (the Light Dragoons), having faithfully served the United States Three Years and being inlisted (sic) for the War only.” The one-page document is countersigned by Jonathan Trumbull, Jr., General Secretary.

* Lot 244 is a colorful Walt Disney signed Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad and monorail pass issued to New York City transit authority director Sidney H. Bingham circa 1959, granting him free access to the railway for five years as an “honorary Vice-President.” (est. $8,000-$10,000).

* Lot 188 is a huge and fascinating archive documenting U.S. criminal history over a 50-year-long period, from 1875-1929. Items are from the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and other law enforcement agencies, and include newspaper clippings, photographs, Rogues Gallery illustrated portraits, wanted posters and broadsheets. The majority of the clippings relate to Pinkerton activities in Chicago, but information on foiled Lincoln assassination plots, Jesse James, Billy the Kid and “Diamond Jim” Fisk’s murderer is also included (est. $7,500-$9,500).

* Lot 1 is a John Adams autograph letter signed while president, addressed to Treasury Secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr., alluding to America’s middling position in the international marketplace. “If you find any usefull (sic) hints in it, you know how to make use of them better than your humble servant,” Adams wrote, referring to a bold cover letter from a Baltimore man who claimed he knew how to make the U.S. more competitive against its European rivals (est. $7,000-$8,000).

* Lot 42 is a manuscript letter from 1837 signed by then-Col. Zachary Taylor, to fellow Col. Persifor F. Smith, to coordinate their efforts as part of Major Gen. Thomas Jessup’s plan to drive the Seminoles into the interior of southern Florida. Taylor writes, “the Indians did not want to shed any more blood...they had opportunities of killing the whites” (est. $3,500-$5,000).

* Lot 42 is a scarce period carte de visite image depicting sitting 17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson, signed and inscribed by him as “Andrew Johnson / Jany 23d 1869” on verso. The sepia-toned albumen photograph is mounted on a stock card and is encapsulated and PSA/DNA certified authentic (est. $3,000-$4,000).

All 418 lots in the catalog are up for viewing and bidding now at University Archives, plus and