Bonhams' Voices of the 20th Century, A Fascinating View

- by Thomas C. McKinney


Featuring 159 lots, Bonhams New York’s sale of Voices of the 20th Century paints an interesting and compelling picture of an era that saw massive change worldwide. With a scope as wide as the 20th century, there is a large scale of material that warrants an inspection of the catalogue directly. Politics, war, art, and literature are for sale, as well as autographs related to all of those topics. The sale will take place on June 16th.

Here are a variety of highlights from the sale: 

  • Lot 5. An important transcription of the day-by-day testimony given by Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann during his trial for crimes against the Jewish people in Jerusalem,[1961]. This is an extremely rare record of Eichmann’s testimony printed for the press at the time of the trial. Estimated $8,000 – 12,000. 
  • Lot 6. Photograph Signed ("Dwight D Eisenhower" and "Douglas MacArthur") of Eisenhower and MacArthur travelling together in a car in Tokyo, 1946. Estimated $12,000 – 18,000.
  • Lots 9 and 10. Photograph and portrait signed of Mohandas K. Gandhi. Both estimated $3,000 – 5,000.
  • Lot 17. Autograph Letter Initialed (“MLK”) by Martin Luther King, Jr., written from Albany Jail to a close female friend. Estimated $25,000 – 35,000.
  • Lot 21. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, 1966. Signed. An estimated five billion copies were printed, but only a handful signed. Estimated $20,000 – 30,000.
  • Lot 27. Autograph Letter Signed (“Lee H. Oswald”) by Lee Harvey Oswald, written months before the JFK assassination. Estimated $50,000 – 70,000.
  • Lots 84 through 86. A series of autograph material by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Lot 99. A signed and inscribed presentation copy of the first edition, first state of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Estimated $80,000 – 100,000.
  • Lot 144. Autograph Musical Manuscript Signed (“Thelonious M”), “Monk’s Mood” by Thelonious Sphere Monk. Estimated $6,000 – 8,000. 
  • Lot 151. A collection of scripts, correspondence, and other manuscript material relating to the TV sitcom Seinfeld. Estimated $5,000 – 7,000.

As you can see, many happenings and figures from the 20th century are covered in Voices of the 20th Century. If you are a collector focusing on this period, you will undoubtedly find something of interest, whatever your focus may be.

The sale will take place on June 16th, beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. Registration for the bidding on can be done here