The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sotheby's announces highlights from the inaugural History of Science & Technology auction
The First Electric Sound Synthesizer. A Helmholtz sound synthesizer, manufactured in Chemnitz by Max Kohl after the design by Hermann von Helmholtz, ca 1905 Estimate $25/35,000.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced its inaugural History of Science & Technology auction. Taking place on 12 December in our New York headquarters, the sale examines advancements beginning with the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century and continuing through to the Computing Revolution of the 20th century, and taking a close look at innovations in subjects ranging from physics, mathematics, cryptography, and technology, to medicine, astronomy, and space exploration. Visitors are invited to witness firsthand the development of scientific knowledge in variety of forms – from books & manuscripts, to scientific instruments and technological artifacts, to photography and original artwork – through the pre-sale exhibition, which opens to the public on 7 December.

The First Electric Sound Synthesizer
A Helmholtz sound synthesizer, manufactured in Chemnitz by Max Kohl after the design by Hermann von Helmholtz, ca 1905. Estimate $25/35,000

A magnificent example of Hermann von Helmholtz’s sound synthesizer, an electronically driven device used for artificially creating musical sounds of different timbre, and the vowels of the human voice.

Enigma M4. Estimate $350/500,000
A very fine and fully operational example of the famous German four-rotor (“M4”) Kriegsmarine Enigma Cipher Machine, this model, the rarest and most desirable of all enigmas, was the most difficult to decrypt. The Enigma M4 leads the group of five fully-operational cipher machines being offered in this unique sale.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, The First Computer Programmer. Estimate $19/25,000
After decades out of the spotlight, Ada Lovelace, also known as the ‘Enchantress of Numbers’, is finally getting the attention that she so rightly deserves. Encouraged and inspired by Charles Babbage and his invention, the first mechanical computer, Lovelace translated Luigi Menabrea’s article on the Analytical Engine and subsequently described an algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, thereby becoming the world’s first ever computer programmer.

Isaac Newton, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. London: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, Regi æ Societatis Typographos, 1726. Estimate $8/12,000

Albert Einstein’s personal copy of Isaac Newton’s landmark book, apparently a gift from famed photographer, Roman Vishniac. Newton’s influence on Einstein can also be found in a Typed Letter Signed and Note Signed to Herbert Kondo, dated 11 August, 1952, in which Einstein shares his respect for Newton as well as Galileo, Maxwell and Faraday (estimate $10/15,000).

Charles Darwin
Autograph Letter Signed, to James Grant. Down Beckenham, March 11, 1878. Estimate $40/60,000

Darwin the Atheist, or Darwin the Agnostic? One of only two letters to ever come to market treating Darwin’s struggle with religion, this revealing letter sheds incredible light on his doubts and uncertainties as to the existence of God. He writes: “the strongest argument for the existence of god…is the instinct or intuition which we all feel (as I suppose) that there must have been an intelligent beginner of the universe: but then comes the doubt and difficulty whether such institutions are trustworthy”.

The “Polio” Nobel Prize. Estimate $200/300,000

The Nobel Committee recognized one of the greatest scientific achievements of the modern era when it awarded Frederick C. Robbins with the prize for physiology or medicine in 1954. His life-saving research led to the development of the Polio vaccine.

Chelsey Bonestell, “Saturn, Viewed from Titan, One of It’s Satellites.” A Mid 1950’s Study for the 360° Titan Panorama, a 1 ½ x 20 Foot Panorama Created for the Griffith Observatory Planetarium in 1959. Estimate $100/150,000

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