Emperor Hirohito's Manuscript is the Top Lot at Bonhams

blobid16_1512610888653.jpgNew York — The only known copy of Emperor Hirohito’s monologue was the top lot in the Voices of the 20th Century auction at Bonhams New York, achieving $275,000. Highlights from across two sales on December 6 included Billie Jean King’s racquet from the epic “Battle of the Sexes” match (price realized: $125,000), a Wozniak blue box offered at auction for the first time in the History of Science and Technology sale, (price realized: $125,000) and an Apple 1 computer (price realized: $372,500.)

History of Science and Technology 

Adam Stackhouse, Senior Specialist, Books and Manuscripts said “we’re particularly pleased with the results achieved for the blue box, which was the first to ever be offered at auction and instrumental in the formation of Apple Inc. There was also significant interest in some early microcomputers offered in the sale, which resulted in a record price for the Intel Intellec-8.” 

Top lots from the sale were a new-to-auction blue box by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, which soared above pre-sale estimates with bidding activity over the phones and online, and the revolutionary Apple 1 computer, which was the first pre-assembled personal computer to come to market. In an auction that saw nine of its top ten lots beat their estimates, early computing memorabilia did particularly well. The Intel Intellec-8 microcomputer set a record when it went for nine times its estimate to realize $13,750 and an Altair 8800 sold for 8 times its estimate to achieve $8,125. 

Voices of the 20th Century 

“We are honored to handle the sale of Emperor Hirohito’s historically significant monologue, which nearly tripled its pre-sale estimate in our sale today,” said Ian Ehling, Director, Books & Manuscripts. “There was also a great result for Billie Jean King’s tennis racquet from the monumental “Battle of the Sexes,” match, in addition to incredible prices for first editions by Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and manuscript pages by Ayn Rand.”

The top lot of the sale, the Emperor's Monologue known as Dokuhakuroku, is an important document transcribed word-for-word by senior diplomat Hidenari Terasaki, from March 18 to April 8 in 1946 at the request of General Douglas MacArthur. Its 173 pages cover events from the Japanese assassination of Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin (1928) to the Emperor's famous Surrender Broadcast recorded on August 14, 1945.

See additional information on the manuscript: https://www.bonhams.com/magazine/24762/ 

Billie Jean King’s racquet from the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs achieved $125,000, of which a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Women’s Sports Foundation. King’s inspiring victory in straight sets during the exhibition match was a significant event in the movement for greater recognition and respect for women’s tennis and beyond. 

The sale had all its top ten lots achieve prices above their low estimates, with notable results for Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls (price realized: $81,250), Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (price realized: $62,500) as well as two separate working manuscript pages of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (prices realized: $56,250 for lot 1058 and $52,500 for lot 1059.)

Image: Hirohito, Emperor Showa, 1901-1989, Autograph Manuscript in Japanese, Showa Tenno Dokuhakuroku 昭和天皇独白録 "The Emperor's Monologue," transcribed by Terasaki Hidenari. Price realized: $275,000

Auction Guide