Friday, December 22, 2023

University Archives will Usher in 2024 with An Online Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics Auction, Jan 10th

Wilton, CT, USA, December 22, 2023 --
A draft of Ronald Reagan’s iconic “Win One for the Gipper” speech from 1981 with extensive handwritten notes; a two-page autograph letter signed by legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie to his Army friends discussing “personal experience ballads” that he had just written; and an Albert Einstein signed typed card exploring the physicist’s views on human nature are just a few of the highly collectible items up for bid in University Archives’ online-only auction slated for Wednesday, January 10th, 2024.

The Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics auction will start promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time. All 407 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.

“We’re ushering in the New Year with an exciting auction featuring exceptional and desirable material from the U.S. Presidential, Science, Music, Literature & Military collecting categories,” remarked John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives, who added, “Early America, International, Aviation/Space, Art, Civil Rights and Sports are also well-represented.”

Lot 92 is the draft of President Reagan’s “Win one for the Gipper” speech, featuring eight pages of handwritten notes, with additional manuscript revisions to typed pages. Reagan delivered the speech as the Commencement Address at the University of Notre Dame on May 17, 1981, just weeks after surviving an assassination attempt. In his acting days, Reagan had portrayed George Gipp, Notre Dame’s beloved All American football player. The draft carries an estimate of $15,000-$24,000.

Also up for bid is a mixed typed and handwritten draft of Reagan’s “Welcome Home” speech, signed by Reagan as “RR” and annotated with nearly 350 words in his hand. Reagan delivered the final draft of the speech in January 1981 at the White House, one week after Iran released 55 American hostages kidnapped from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 (est. $10,000-$12,000).

Lot 287 is the two-page autograph letter signed by Woody Guthrie from October 1945, in which he tells his Army friends: “The little vacation has … caused my guitar to play better. I've turned out (12) twelve more personal experience ballads taken from the hottest spots in the war… best of luck in your ventures into the grass roots of folks songs and folk lore.” (est. $8,000-$9,000).

Lot 392 is a handsome Albert Einstein display featuring a typed card in English signed by him. Einstein addressed the card to a former psychiatric social worker who had asked Einstein his thoughts on human nature, citing an anecdote about an enraged six-year-old patient. Einstein’s response, in part, “Practice makes a master, Practice makes a hater,” bears out his belief that human behavior is a product of nurture rather than nature (est. $6,000-$7,000).

Lot 111 is a Revolutionary War-dated letter from 1780 signed by George Washington, regarding a prisoner exchange, and demonstrating a compassionate side of his military decision-making. Washington gives instructions to Col. James Wood, commander of the Convention Army, concerning the release of two German officers attached to British Gen. John Burgoyne, who’d surrendered at the Battle of Saratoga three years earlier (est. $18,000-$20,000).

Lot 67 is a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair with his clipped signature as “A. Lincoln”, displayed in a custom red velvet case. The relic comes with rock-solid provenance from several former custodians, including Henry Pratt Cattell, who embalmed Lincoln’s body; and Justus Chollar, an official who guarded Lincoln’s body during the autopsy and embalming (est. $10,000-$15,000).

The Old West is alive and well in the sale, represented by the California Gold Rush, Roy Bean and the Dalton Gang. Lot 370 is an archive documenting early California history. Comprised of nearly one hundred pages including diary entries and letters, the archive tells the story of Warren Porter, an adventurer from Wisconsin who succumbed to “gold fever” (est. $10,000-$15,000). 

Lot 388 is a handwritten letter signed by Charles Darwin (as “Ch. Darwin”). In the May 22, 1873 letter to fellow British naturalist John Jenner Weir, Darwin discusses birds’ nests and “male bumble bees.” Darwin had researched insect pollination since 1861, and was interested in studying the symbiotic relationship between bumble bees and red clover (est. $8,000-$10,000). 

Lot 310 is an early Stonewall Jackson autograph letter, signed and dated December 8, 1861, just months after his promotion to Major General in command of the Valley District headquartered in Winchester, Va. Jackson responds to David Walker Barton, a leading citizen of Winchester, about securing a CSA military appointment for one of Barton’s six sons, all of whom would eventually serve in the Confederate Army, and half of whom would be casualties (est. $7,000-$10,000).

Lot 2 is a miniature engraving of John Quincy Adams, boldly signed by him at top in what is probably one of the earliest examples of a signed presidential image. The portrait comes with an early gilt frame with a Detroit backstamp, and an enameled portrait pin of a woman greatly resembling Adams’s mother, Abigail (est. $5,000-$7,000).

Lot 45 is a typed letter signed by John F. Kennedy, dated November 8, 1961 and addressed to Norman Cousins, the Saturday Review editor and Kennedy’s de facto Cold War-era diplomatic envoy. Kennedy explains that he wants to “tell the Russian people the facts” about Soviet nuclear testing. The Soviets ended a Limited Test Ban Treaty a few months earlier (est. $5,000-$6,000). 

Lot 350 is a great piece of literary and Hollywood memorabilia: a film rights agreement for The Old Man and the Sea, twice signed by Ernest Hemingway, author of the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning novella upon which it was based. The contract, dated October 17, 1955 pertained to Hemingway (as “Author”) as well as to the actor Spencer Tracy (as “Artist”) (est. $5,000-$6,000). 

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

For more information about University Archives and the 407-lot, online-only Rare Signed Manuscripts, Books, Photos & Relics auction scheduled for Wednesday, January 10th, at 10:30 am Eastern time, please visit Updates are posted frequently.

About University Archives:
University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies. University Archives’ offices are located at 88 Danbury Rd. (Suite #2A) in Wilton, Conn. For more information about University Archives, please visit