Items Signed by Mao Zedong, Jefferson, Einstein, Custer, Others will be Auctioned Online Dec. 14 by University Archives

Wilton, CT, USA, November 22, 2022 -- A special presentation copy of the book Tenth Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China signed by Mao Zedong, an autograph letter signed by Thomas Jefferson from Monticello in which he mentions Napoleon Bonaparte, and a Mathew Brady carte de visite of George A. Custer, boldly signed by the ill-fated commander, are a few of the expected highlights in University Archives’ online auction slated for Wednesday, December 14th at 11 am Eastern time. 

The Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books auction features historical material from multiple collecting categories. All 383 lots are up for viewing and bidding now (on the University Archives website:, plus, and Phone and absentee bids will be taken, but there’s no live gallery bidding. 

“Our December sale is especially strong in U.S. Presidential, Science/Space, Militaria, Early American, and International/World Leaders,” said John Reznikoff, the president and owner of University Archives. “The sheer variety and scope, from Civil Rights and Judaica to literature, art and music, guarantees that there is something for everyone, especially holiday gift-givers.” 

Mr. Reznikoff added, “If buyers pay with cleared funds by December 16th, their items will be shipped by December 21st and will hopefully arrive by Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.” 

Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong signed a special presentation copy of a Russian book celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in October 1959, dedicated to Soviet Civil War hero Marshal Semyon Budenny. Mao autographs are extremely rare and intensely coveted by collectors. This book carries an estimate of $80,000-$100,000. 

The two-page Jefferson autograph letter signed and dated October 11, 1812 describes how Napoleon’s “capricious passions and commercial ignorance” threatened American access to some European ports, but that America’s enemies, Britain and France, were fighting each other, and so, “the English armies…although our enemies, are really fighting our battles.” (est. $35,000-$45,000). 

The Mathew Brady sepia-colored albumen carte de visite depicting George A. Custer, undated but circa 1865-1866, is one of the best combinations of bold signature and assertive pose that University Archives has ever offered. It’s PSA/DNA slabbed and graded Mint 9 and should finish at $20,000-$30,000. The photo is signed verso, “Sincerely your / friend / GA Custer / B Maj Genl / USA.” 

Benjamin Franklin was a young, 27-year-old printer when he witnessed a Philadelphia real estate transaction dated May 15, 1733. The result is one of the earliest known Franklin signatures ever documented, and is singularly elegant, as “B. Franklin” (est. $12,000-$15,000). Franklin had just published his inaugural edition of the iconic Poor Richard’s Almanack just six months earlier. 

Abraham Lincoln signed a July 26, 1862 letter on Executive Mansion stationery for an autograph seeker in the Union stronghold of Louisville, Kentucky. The letter is beautifully matted to a completed size of 23 ¼ inches by 13 inches alongside an unusual 1864 Vinton County, Ohio Union presidential ticket promoting Lincoln and Johnson. The lot should bring $10,000-$15,000. 

George Washington boldly signed a free frank addressed to Benjamin Tallmadge, Culper Ring spymaster. The free frank is undated, but originally contained a Dec. 26, 1782 letter commending the “signal gallantry of Capt. Caleb Brewster,” referring to Caleb Brewster, one of the underground’s principal couriers, who often undertook covert missions in his whaleboat on Long Island Sound (est. $12,000-$14,000). 

There are four letters written by Albert Einstein in the auction, including a two-page letter, in German, responding to a request to visit the German Society at Oxford University, addressed to Society secretary Esther Sacher Einstein talks about his ill health and says, “I am happy to see that a Jew is always ‘en famille’ wherever his steps land him on this earth.” (est. $5,000-$6,000). 

A 120-page daily sales record book (or ledger) of Livingston, Kinkead & Co., the storekeeper at Camp Scott (established by the U.S. Army expedition to Utah) and the rebuilt Fort Bridger (located nearby), for the years 1857 and 1858, during the Mormon War period, should command $10,000-$12,000. The ledger documents colorful frontier life, and also mentions future Confederate officers Lewis A. Armstead, killed in action at Gettysburg; Barnard Bee, Jr., slain at First Bull Run; and “Rooney” Lee, Robert E. Lee’s son, among many others. 

Apollo XI mission memorabilia dominates the sale’s Space/Aviation category. One lot certain to draw attention is the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club insurance cover (“First Manned Lunar Expedition”), signed by all three of the Apollo XI crew members: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin. It’s PSA/DNA slabbed and graded Mint +9.5 and comes from the Buzz Aldrin Family Space Collection. (est. $8,000-$10,000). 

Seventeen pages of notes, handwritten by the African American leader and educator Booker T. Washington – likely either speaking points for speeches or points to stress in reports – have an estimate of $8,000-$9,000. A few of the notes can be tied to specific speeches that Washington gave in the mid-1890s. A previous consigner purchased this manuscript for $12,500 in 1999. 

A one-page document, in Hungarian, functioning as a Schutz-Pass (protective passport), issued by the Royal Swedish Legation in Budapest, Hungary on September 22, 1944, boldly signed by Secretary of the Royal Swedish Legation Raoul Wallenberg, in a rare full signature lower left, issued to Zsuzsanna Steiner, partly printed / partly typed, should reach $7,000-$8,000. 

Sigmund Freud and his protégé Carl Jung appear in a vintage group photo taken of members of the Third International Psychoanalytic Congress, circa 1911, in Weimar, Germany. The friendship-ending ideological schism between the two co-founders of modern psychology occurred the following year, in 1912, making this probably the most important photograph in Psychology. It has an estimate of $6,000-$7,000. 

The two co-founders of modern psychology’s ideological schism occurred the following year, in 1912. This is probably the most important photograph in Psychology. It has an estimate of $6,000-$7,000.

For more information about University Archives and the Rare Autographs, Manuscripts & Books auction on Wednesday, December 14th at 11 am Eastern time, visit

About University Archives:
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 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’ new offices are located at 88 Danbury Rd. (Suite 2A) in Wilton, Conn. For more information about University Archives, visit