Auctions | June 10, 2020

Rare Books, Manuscripts & Relics Including Forbes and Kerouac at Auction

Westport, CT – Items signed by Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Lloyd Wright, Bob Dylan, the three Apollo XI astronauts, Robert Hooke and many more of history’s brightest luminaries will come up for bid in an online-only Rare Books, Manuscripts & Relics auction Including Forbes and Kerouac slated for Wednesday, June 24th, by University Archives, beginning at 10:30 am Eastern time.

The full catalog, showing all 276 lots, is up and online for bidding and viewing now, at the newly revamped University Archives website (, as well as the platforms, and Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. The sale comes on the heels of a June 10th auction dedicated entirely to Kennedy items.

“Our June 24th auction offers a fantastic buying opportunity for general collectors, as well as specialized collectors of literary, art, music, and entertainment,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “Items pertaining to presidents, world leaders, military, science, space, aviation, business and investment are well represented in this very diverse sale.”

A strong candidate for top lot of the auction is an exceedingly rare autograph document signed by Robert Hooke (British, 1635-1703), the natural philosopher, architect and polymath often referred to as “England’s Leonardo”. The 1670 document, arbitrating a property dispute after the “Late dreadfull fire” (the Great Fire of London in 1666) is expected to realize $65,000-$70,000.

The star-studded entertainment category features items ranging from the era of P.T. Barnum and “Buffalo Bill” Cody to Hollywood’s Golden Age. Aficionados can bid on a signed publicity still of Marilyn Monroe from the 20th Century Fox movie How to Marry a Millionaire, PSA/DNA slabbed and graded NM-7 (est. $12,000-$14,000) or the autographs of Lawrence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and other big stars.

Outstanding historical documents relating to U.S. presidents – hugely popular with collectors – will include a George Washington free franked war dated document (est. $5,500-$6,500); a war dated, four-language whaling ship’s passport signed by Abraham Lincoln (est. $10,000-$12,000); a letter signed by Andrew Johnson relating to the Pacific Railroad (est. $1,000-$1,200); and items pertaining to JFK, FDR, Harry S. Truman, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.

The literary category will also feature 30+ lots of from legendary Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s estate. Items include Kerouac’s personally owned and worn modest stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch, circa 1962 (est. $900-$1,000); and his large, wall-mounted crucifix, nearly 9 inches tall, a favorite of Kerouac’s, who was a lifelong devout Roman Catholic (est. $200-$300).

Courtesy of University Archives

Jack Kerouac’s personally owned large, wall-mounted crucifix. Estimate: $200-300

Other Kerouac items will include his copy of The Yage Letters dedicated to him by Allen Ginsberg in Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell, Mass., in 1967; early foreign language editions of Kerouac’s most important works; his thumbed-through men’s magazines; paperbacks from his home library; and a photo-identified transistor radio. All books are estate-stamped and sealed.

Also in the literary category is a two-page letter signed in Italian by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, creator of Frankenstein, regarding the correspondence of her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who died in a boating accident in Italy more than twenty years earlier; letters, signed books, archives; and even cancelled bullfighting tickets from literary greats like Ernest Hemingway.

Three Bob Dylan signed album covers – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, the artist’s second album Bringing it All Back Home and Blonde on Blonde, all with certificates of authenticity from Dylan’s manager, Jeff Rosen – will headline a music category that also includes five signatures from members of the Rolling Stones.

The art category will be led by Andy Warhol’s personally owned iconic Polaroid camera – aptly named “Big Shot” (est. $6,000-$7,000), together with a Warhol owned pair of antique glasses and a Rubinacci tie; and Frank Lloyd Wright’s signed architectural plans for his last Usonian house, the Duey Wright House in Wausau, Wisc., 1957, 44 ½ inches by 29 ½ inches (est. $8,000-$9,000).

A pristine Apollo XI Insurance Cover signed by Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, from the Buzz Aldrin Family Space Collection, should realize $6,000-$7,000. Also, a letter written and signed by Catherine II of Russia (Catherine the Great), to her governor in the Ukraine, dated June 10, 1787, in which she demands payment for horses for her procession, has a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$2,400.

More than 40 lots gleaned from the Forbes Collection – the estate of multimillionaire magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) and his sons, will cross the auction block, including a dazzling array of foreign and presidential pieces. One of the highlights is a riveting two-page autograph letter signed by Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California, discussing his views on race, lynching, and capital punishment.

For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, June 24th online-only Rare Books, Manuscripts & Relics Including Forbes & Kerouac auction, visit Updates are posted frequently. For phone bidding, please call 203-454-0111.