Westport, CT - A rare, 1785 hand-colored portrait engraving of George Washington, printed for and sold by the London publisher Carington Bowles (British, 1724-1793), will be a featured lot in University Archives’ next online-only auction, slated for Wednesday, October 31st. Live bidding for the 283-lot auction is scheduled to start promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time.
As with all University Archives auctions, this one is loaded with rare and highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. The full catalog can be viewed now, at www.UniversityArchives.com. Online bidding is being provided by the major platforms, Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.
Major categories in the sale include JFK and many other U.S. presidents, and scientific items (to include Darwin, Freud and Marie Curie). Additional highlight lots will include Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics to The Times They Are A-Changin’; John F. Kennedy’s personally owned rosary beads; and a letter written by then-Gen. George Washington, dated Feb. 26th, 1780.
“We’re always strong in Americana, with the presidents and the Rev and Civil Wars, but this sale also has strong foreign consignments, too,” said John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives. “We have many British Monarch items that are tastefully framed and were originally purchased from notable autograph dealer Kenneth Rendell. On top of that I note a very unusual WWII period huge Hirohito document which includes a decorative award that is quite a piece of art. Also, a rare Czarina Catherine (the Great) signed document and a handful of others.”
The Washington portrait engraving - an exquisite framed mezzotint measuring 12 ¾ inches by 9 ¾ inches - has an international pedigree. It was engraved from a painting by Jean-Baptiste Le Paon (French, 1738-1785), with elements of Charles Wilson Peale (American, 1741-1827) and Noel Le Mire (French, 1724-1793). And of course, it’s of a U.S. president, shown in a full-length portrait, with a slave or servant tending his horse, plus historic documents (est. $3,000-$4,000).
With a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$60,000, Dylan’s handwritten signed lyrics to the iconic The Times They Are A-Changin’, penned on an 8 inch by 10 inch sheet, could end up as the sale’s top lot. The lyrics and signature were authenticated by Dylan’s manager. The bi-fold letter written and signed by George Washington in 1780 is addressed to Nathaniel Greene, the noted Rev-War general. In it he addresses ongoing concerns about supplies for the troops (est. $15,000-$17,000).
JFK’s personally owned rosary beads had been previously gifted, via donation, by Kennedy’s mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, in 1974, to Sister Fabiola Parent of the Sinsinawa (Wisc.) Sisterhood and curator and founder of the Sinsinawa Rosary Museum (est. $20,000-$24,000). Also, a copy of the special edition of LIFE magazine from 1961, for the inauguration of JFK, one of only three known copies that were signed by Kennedy, carries an estimate of $4,000-$5,000.
A two-page letter handwritten and signed by the evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin (British, 1809-1882), dated “Jan 31”, should gavel for $6,000-$7,000. The letter is to Darwin’s lawyer, Thomas Salt, and regards the family home in Shrewsbury. Also, items pertaining to aviation pioneer Orville Wright - a check dated Aug. 11, 1917 and signed by him, an original part from his plane and a print of the Wright Brothers’ first flight - is expected to soar to $3,000-$4,000.
A large, Japanese World War II-era document, in which Emperor Hirohito of Japan confers the Imperial Order of Meiji upon Eiichi Yamamoto, with the Star of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, signed in Japanese and dated April 18, 1940, should bring $4,000-$4,500; while an outstanding studio portrait of Wild West showman “Buffalo Bill” Cody in full Western costume, with a hat and rifle, signed by him and with a charming inscription, should garner $3,500-$3,750.
With the baseball post-season in full swing, what fan wouldn’t appreciate a mini Adirondack bat signed by some of the game’s all-time greats? These include DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, Torre, Banks, Aaron, Bench, Williams, Ford, Perez, Gibson, Clemente, Musial and Rose (est. $3,000-$4,000). Also, a Bicentennial (1776-1976) Executive Service Badge (the short-lived precursor agency of the Secret Service), brass and painted red, white and blue, should make $600-$700.
A document dated 1774, probably a military appointment, signed by Russian Empress Catherine (the Great) II (1729-1796), as “Ekaterina” in the lower right corner, printed in Russian Cyrillic lettering on parchment, is estimated at $3,000-$3,500. Also, a one-page letter written in French and signed by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), as “Napol”, in which he outlines a grueling marching schedule, penned at Finckenstein Palace in May 1807, should rise to $1,500-$1,600.
A letter written by Union officer David Farragut on July 16, 1862, from his flagship Hartford during the bombardment of Vicksburg, Miss., during the Civil War, on the day Farragut was promoted to Rear Admiral (unbeknownst to him) carries an estimate of $1,500-$1,700; while a newspaper account of the Boston Massacre and the resulting political tensions in its aftermath, as described in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, July 16, 1770, should fetch $1,000-$1,200.
As with all University Archives online auctions, this one is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature.
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.
For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, October 31st internet-only auction, please visit www.universityarchives.com.
Image: Bob Dylan’s handwritten and signed lyrics to the iconic song The Times They Are A-Changin’, penned on an 8 inch by 10 inch sheet, authenticated by Dylan’s manager (est. $50,000-$60,000).