NEW YORK, 18 January 2017-Today in New York, Sotheby’s auction of Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters and Manuscripts achieved an outstanding total of $2,645,750, surpassing its pre-sale high estimate of $2.1 million. All 77 lots on offer - representing hundreds of individual documents- found buyers, marking a rare ‘White Glove’ auction. Eleven lots broke the previous auction record for any document handwritten by Hamilton - a record that had held since 2001*.
Viewed by thousands of visitors over the past week at Sotheby’s New York, the collection of letters and manuscripts by and relating to Alexander Hamilton drew a diverse audience: from political-science enthusiasts to theater lovers, newly-impassioned historians, and institutional collections-even the company of Hamilton: An American Musical. This remarkable archive of highly-personal documents had descended through Hamilton’s family for the last two centuries, with many of the manuscripts previously unknown to historians.
Selby Kiffer, Senior International Specialist for Sotheby's Books & Manuscripts, noted: “We have been thrilled to be part of the cultural movement that has re-established this Founding Father's rightful place in history. The results of today’s sale are an indicator not only of the tremendous public interest in Alexander Hamilton, but also of the appetite among both new and established collectors to own historical documents.”
A highlight of today’s auction was the document responsible for Alexander Hamilton’s foray into the public sphere: Alexander Hamilton’s Appointment as Aide-de-Camp to General George Washington from 1777, which sold for $212,500. This appointment jumpstarted Hamilton’s political career, leading to subsequent positions as congressman, founder of the Bank of New York, member of the Constitutional convention and more.
The auction was led by A Previously Unrecorded Autograph Draft of Pacificus Essay No. VI, which achieved $262,500. One of the most important essays written by Alexander Hamilton, under the pen name Pacificus, Pacificus VI is particularly vital to the storyline of Hamilton as no manuscript copies of The Federalist Papers - considered by many to be his most famous work - survive.
FURTHER SALE HIGHLIGHTS
**All Achieving Multiples of Their Estimates**
A Group of 34 Autograph Letters Signed ("PH. Schuyler"), 1790-1804, to His Daughter Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton
Sold for $125,000
Autograph Letter Signed (“AH”) to Elizabeth Schuyler (“My Dearest Girl”); The Earliest Surviving Love Letter from Alexander Hamilton to His Future Wife
Sold for $118,750
A Group of 17 Letters, 1793-1803, Addressed to His Son-in-Law, Alexander Hamilton
Sold for $118,750
Autograph Letter Signed (“A Hamilton”) to Elizabeth Hamilton, Announcing that the Army Is Preparing to Engage Cornwallis in Virginia
Sold for $106,250
Autograph Letter Signed (“AH”) To Angelica Schuyler Church, Sending And Requesting Family News
Sold of $62,500
*The previous auction record for an Alexander Hamilton manuscript was $44,650, established at Christie’s New York in May 2001.