Items Signed by Many Famous Names in Human History will be Auctioned May 15th by University Archives

An 1864 autograph endorsement signed by President Abraham Lincoln celebrating hard work; a 1981 speech draft extensively annotated by President Ronald Reagan relating to Reaganomics; and a Type 3 Apollo XI insurance cover boldly signed by all three crew members of the first moon-walking NASA mission postmarked July 16, 1969 are just a few of the expected top lots in University Archives’ online-only auction slated for Wednesday, May 15.

The Rare Signed Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia auction will start at 10:30 am Eastern time. All 433 lots in the catalog are up for viewing and bidding now – on the University Archives website – – as well as the platforms, and Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

“Our May auction contains over 430 lots of unique and outstanding historical items, including many from U.S. Presidents and First Ladies – from James Madison to Joe Biden and Frances Cleveland to Laura Bush,” said John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives.

He added, “Many of the presidential lots relate to Ronald Reagan and range from hand-inscribed speech drafts, autograph notes signed, and endorsements, to signed photos and personally owned books, tableware, silverware, and decorative arts. Other collecting categories include Aviation, Space & Exploration, Science, Civil Rights, Early America, Entertainment, Sports and Military.”

Lot 81 is the autograph endorsement signed by Abraham Lincoln dated August 15, 1864, in part: “I am always for the man who wishes to work.” The endorsement is believed to be associated with a now-missing recommendation letter addressed to military authorities at a Washington, D.C. cavalry depot. Since many horse-wranglers at Giesboro Point were freedmen, it’s possible the unknown jobseeker was a freed slave (est. $18,000-$24,000).

Lot 112 is the 10-page, partly typed speech draft extensively annotated by Ronald Reagan, with over 450 words in his hand, plus edits, cross-outs and arrows. Many of Reagan’s handwritten additions went directly into the final draft of his “Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Program for Economic Recovery,” presented on April 28, 1981, in which Reagan outlined his ambitious plans to reduce taxes as part of Reaganomics (est. $12,000-$15,000).

Lot 180 is the Type 3 Apollo XI insurance cover signed by all three crew members of the first moon-walking NASA mission: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, postmarked July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center. It was the first time NASA introduced signed insurance covers to protect astronauts’ families against death or injury (est. $9,000-$12,000).

Lot 397 is a one-page autograph letter in German signed by Albert Einstein, dated September 29, 1937, and addressed to fellow physicist Cornelius Lanczos. The letter features about 200 words in Einstein’s hand as well as around six mathematical formulae including Rik = 0, Einstein’s second-most famous equation after his groundbreaking E = MC2. The letter underscores Einstein’s continued quest to crack the theory of general relativity (est. $25,000-$35,000).

Lot 414 is a rare color photogravure after Henry Sandham by Boussod, Valadon & Cie., circa 1896, depicting the 1894 Temple Cup baseball playoff game. The panoramic print gives people a view of the baseball diamond dotted with Baltimore Orioles and New York Giants, as well as the elegantly dressed spectators gathered at the New York Polo grounds (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Lot 237 is a two-page typed letter signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Dexter Avenue Baptist Church stationery dated November 13, 1958, following his near assassination. At the time, MLK, Jr. was trying to plan and budget for a 10-day side trip to the Soviet Union in order to observe firsthand Soviet attitudes towards people of color (est. $20,000-$30,000).

Lot 304 is a collection of 45 antique Japanese tsubas (or decorative sword guards), collected by a lifetime connoisseur. The tsubas vary in age, material and subject matter, providing a nice cross-section of wonderful examples. Lovely artistic representations in applied gold and silver include monkeys, cranes, and other characters from Japanese myths and legends (est. $20,000-$30,000).

Lot 282 is a hotel restaurant table decoration / promotional card for the Palm Terrace, Beverly Hills Hotel, boldly signed by Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, circa summer 1952. The couple would wed two years later, in 1954. The autographed piece of ephemera is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original collector, an 11-year-old boy (est. $15,000-$25,000).

Lot 251 is a splendid copperplate engraved broadside of the Declaration of Independence drawn by Benjamin Owen Tyler and printed by Peter Maverick, circa 1818. Tyler’s version is often considered “the first correct copy” of the Declaration of Independence, because previous printed versions featured a different title and often omitted the Signers’ names (est. $8,000-$10,000).

Lot 239 is a one-page typed letter signed by Malcolm X, dated August 27, 1958 and addressed to his wife, Betty, who was visiting Boston. Malcolm X urges his wife to socialize with “Sister Muhammad” (Clara Muhammad, the wife of Elijah Muhammad) and “Minister Louis” (Louis Farrakhan, who was then the head of the Boston Nation of Islam mosque) (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Lot 58 is a lovely assortment of women’s accessories personally worn by Jackie Kennedy during a 1960 presidential campaign “Time” magazine photo shoot. The lot consists of a pair of pale pink satin elbow-length gloves, along with a matching evening clutch and coin purse. The items were gifted by Ms. Kennedy to her personal secretary, Mary B. Gallagher (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Lot 267 is a display case featuring a coin silver teaspoon hand-crafted by celebrated colonial silversmith Paul Revere, and possibly presented to Alexander Hamilton. The teaspoon is suspended in a floating mount within a mirrored shadowbox that enables the viewer to see Revere’s maker’s mark and the monogram “A.H.” on the handle terminal (est. $3,500-$4,500).

University Archives has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare items of this kind. It is actively seeking quality material for future auctions, presenting a rare opportunity for sellers. Anyone who has a single item or a collection that may be a fit for a future University Archives auction may call John Reznikoff at 203-454-0111, or email him at [email protected].

University Archives’ offices are located at 88 Danbury Rd. (Suite #2A) in Wilton, Conn. For more information about University Archives and the 433-lot Rare Signed Autographs, Manuscripts, Books & Memorabilia auction scheduled for Wednesday, May 15th at 10:30 am Eastern time, please visit Updates are posted frequently.