University Archives prepares for what could be the biggest auction in company history

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University Archives prepares for what could be the biggest auction in company history
Civil War-dated military commission appointing a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, signed by Abraham Lincoln and countersigned by Navy Secretary Gideon Welles (est. $6,000-$7,000).

WESTPORT, CONN.- A United States flag flown aboard the Apollo XIII space mission in 1970 with a NASA certificate signed by all three astronaut crew members, a manuscript document for the sale of G. Westinghouse & Company from George Westinghouse, Sr. to his son in 1871, and an albumen photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken in 1864 and signed by Lincoln, are all part of University Archives’ next online auction on Wednesday, August 19th, at 10:30 am Eastern time.

The auction is being billed as the largest and most diverse in the company’s history. The full catalog, showing a whopping 351 lots, is up and online for bidding and viewing now, at the newly revamped University Archives website, as well as the platforms, and Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

“This sale is packed with rare, significant and highly collectible items from multiple specialty categories,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “These include Civil War, aviation and space, the U.S. Supreme Court, Civil Rights, political pinback buttons, presidential and literary, plus more items from the Forbes collection and Jack Kerouac estate.”

Aviation and space collectors will be over the moon with a marquee selection of 25 lots, led by the American flag flown aboard the Apollo XIII mission affixed to a NASA certificate signed by Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise, from the estate of Jack Swigert. The flag is 5 ½ inches by 4 inches; the certificate is 10 inches by 11 ¾ inches. The lot should sell for $18,000-$20,000.

Other highlights include an Apollo XI photograph depicting the Lunar Module “Eagle” signed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, as well as material relating to iconic figures Amelia Earhart, Charles A. Lindbergh, and Yuri Gagarin. PSA/DNA slabbed and graded official NASA red number photographs and colorful embroidered badges will round out this category.

The one-page document making official the sale of G. Westinghouse & Company by its founder, George Westinghouse, Sr., to his son, George Westinghouse, Jr., signed by both men, is one of the most important financial documents in American history (est. $9,000-$10,000). The selling price of the company was $25,000 – payable in three installments. The younger Westinghouse promoted alternating current technology. It revolutionized the world’s light and power industries.

A full 40 Civil War-related lots will be offered, among them the Brady Studio albumen photo of Abraham Lincoln, of unusual imperial size (8 ¼ inches by 6 ½ inches), and with an affixed full signature as “Abraham Lincoln” (est. 8,000-$9,000); and a war-dated military commission appointing a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, signed by Lincoln and countersigned by Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, without the usual folds affecting a clean and bold presidential signature (est. $6,000-$7,000).

A one-page autograph letter signed by the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis, and addressed to Secretary of War James A. Seddon in August 1864, is estimated to fetch $6,000-$7,000. The letter came at a significant time for the Confederacy. Davis writes, “What influences so demoralized the troops we may have, when it only remains to mourn the evil effect thus entailed on our cause in this critical hour,” foreshadowing the catastrophic end of the Civil War.

Civil Rights history is showcased in 25 lots relating to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Eldridge Cleaver and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. An archive relating to the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached and was headquartered during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, is of interest.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s copy of a printed appeal, often called “the Second Emancipation Proclamation”, submitted to President John F. Kennedy in May 1962, from the collection of Maude Ballou, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first secretary, has an estimate of $1,000-$1,200. In the 58-page, soft-wrap appeal, Dr. King calls for “national re-dedication to the principles of the Emancipation Proclamation, and for an executive order prohibiting segregation” in the U.S.

Presidential collectors will likely get into a fierce bidding war for the original anesthetic instruments used by emergency room physician Dr. M.T. Pepper Jenkins, who attempted to resuscitate JFK at Dallas’s Parkland Memorial Hospital on November 22, 1963. The instruments were immediately removed from Trauma Room #1 after the president’s death. Accompanying them is an archive assembled by Dr. Jenkins, including his impressions from that day (est. $5,000-$6,000).

Nearly 2,000 pieces of political campaign memorabilia will be offered in 23 large dealers’ lots, documenting a century of American political history. Included are rare and unusual jugates, coattails, and flashers from the presidential campaigns of FDR, JFK, LBJ, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and others, from 1896-1996. There are many gems waiting to be discovered within this completely unpicked collection of a Greenwich, Connecticut gentleman.

Literary collectors will be interested in two unusual guns previously owned by author Ernest Hemingway. One of them is a circa mid-19th century North African brass-decorated Kabyle musket measuring over 5 feet in length, obtained during Hemingway’s ill-fated 1953-1954 trip to Africa when Hemingway and his wife survived two near-fatal plane crashes (est. $3,000-$4,000). The guns are from the collection of A. E. Hotchner, Hemingway’s close friend and biographer.

The music and lyrics written in Art Garfunkel’s hand for the 1958 song That’s My Story, when he and Paul Simon sang as “Tom and Jerry”, and Simon’s original hand-written music and lyrics for the 1958 song True or False, released under Simon’s stage name “True Taylor” – plus the rare and actual 45 rpm records of the songs themselves – will be sold as one lot (est. $6,000-$7,000).

Nearly 30 lots relating to the history of the U.S. Supreme Court, ranging from its inception in the 18th century to modern jurisprudence, will come up for bid. The expected top lot is a one-page early autograph letter signed by future 4th Chief Justice John Marshall, with interesting legal content, dated July 2, 1789 (est. $2,400-$2,600). In the letter, Marshall, as a practicing lawyer, addresses a client identified as Mr. John Hatley Norton, “concerning your father’s debtors.”

An original color photograph of Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, of the two men wearing Western hats in an outdoor setting, signed by both, 14 inches by 11 inches, has an estimate of $3,500-$4,000; while a gelatin silver print photograph of Teddy Roosevelt, signed while he was President and inscribed with over 15 words in his own hand to “Mr. C.H. Sherrill”, dated “Oct 28th, 1904”, 4 inches by 5 ½ inches (less mount), should command $2,000-$2,400.

A spectacular drawing rendered by Dr. Seuss in colored pencils, with ink titles, depicting a colorful pair of winged griffins, each carrying a suitcase in their talons, with an autograph letter signed by Dr. Seuss on verso, is expected to realize $3,500-$4,500. Also, a rare letter written and signed by Richard J. Gatling (1818-1903), the inventor of the Gatling machine gun, penned on Gatling Gun letterhead, addressed to the Colt Arms Company, has an estimate of $3,500-$4,000.

Nearly 30 lots from the Jack Kerouac estate will be offered, ranging from the legendary Beat Generation writer’s personally owned books and papers, to original artwork and other treasured possessions. One of two original pencil drawings by Kerouac is titled The Vision of Dipankara, depicting one of the foundational semi-mythical stories of Buddhism (est. $4,000-$5,000). Kerouac has added daubs of oil paint and signed the abstract work “Jean-Louis Kerouac."

Kerouac’s personally read copy of Alan W. Watts’s classic text The Way of Zen, signed and inscribed with his possibly unpublished haiku as “1961 / Autumn - old rivalries / are worse, old / Friendships are deeper / JK" is sure to intrigue collectors. Other highlights include Kerouac’s personally owned Leica camera, circa 1947-1951, from the On The Road-era, and a signed check made out to San Francisco’s City Lights Books, the West Coast hub of the Beatnik Movement.

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