The $1 That Launched Edison and GE on Offer at Bonhams NY

NEW YORK—Bonhams sale Treasures from The Caren Archive on April 7 will feature one of the most significant $1 bills in American corporate history. The banknote was the first earned by the Edison Electric Light Company (a forerunner of GE) from the sale of electricity (est. $8,000-12,000).  

Ansonia Brass Co. was the first customer to settle their account with Edison and the present bill is inscribed: "This bill is one from a total amount of $50.40 which was the first bill collected for the sale of Edison Electric Light in first Central Station District, New York City. Jan. 18 / 1883.” The note is signed by Edison’s Chief Engineer, Thomas L. Clarke.

Treasures from The Caren Archive will encompass rare newspapers, broadsides, photographs, books, and manuscripts dating from the 16th century through the 1960s.

Other technology themed lots will include an 1878 strip of recorded foil from the first Edison phonograph (est. $3,000-5,000) and a 1945 letter representing the “birth certificate” of the first computer in which the University of Pennsylvania granted Presper Eckert and John Mauchly the right to commercial patents for ENIAC, the first electronic general use computer (est. $2,000-3,000). 

Treasures from The Caren Archive will take place on April 7 at Bonhams New York. The auction will preview at Bonhams April 3-7.  

A complete catalog is available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21962/.

Auction Guide