NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
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.
INNOVATIONS IN TECHNOLOGY
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 Helmholtzs 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 Menabreas article on the Analytical Engine and subsequently described an algorithm for Babbages Analytical Engine, thereby becoming the worlds first ever computer programmer.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: LEADING VOICES FROM GIANTS OF SCIENCE
Isaac Newton, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. London: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, Regi æ Societatis Typographos, 1726. Estimate $8/12,000
Albert Einsteins personal copy of Isaac Newtons landmark book, apparently a gift from famed photographer, Roman Vishniac. Newtons 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).
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 Darwins 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.
VISIONARIES IN MEDICINE & SPACE EXPLORATION
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 Its Satellites. A Mid 1950s 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