Extraordinary Autographs and Manuscripts from the 19th Century Shop
When Michael Collins participated in the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969, along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, he took a Texas state flag along with him. There was a certain logic to this as Houston is home base for the space program. Michael Collins was the pilot of the command module, which continued to circle the moon after releasing the lunar landing craft, the Eagle. Collins had the bird's eye view, so to speak, of Armstrong's walk on the moon. Collins later signed the flag, "Carried to the Moon on Apollo XI, July 1969 -- Michael Collins CMP." The "CMP" stands for Command Module Pilot." The flag has been placed on a certificate, also signed by Collins, noting that it is from his personal collection. The flag is pictured on the cover of this catalogue. $35,000.
The Marble Faun was William Faulkner's first book. The book was not a success. Only 500 copies of this first edition were printed, 300 of which were destroyed. Copies such as this with its original dust jacket are quite rare. The copy here offered includes a signed inscription from Faulkner, "To my boyhood friend, Hilda Lester. Bill Faulkner." We could not find anything about Ms. Lester, other than the name "Hilda Lester" shows up as someone who died in January of 1986 on a list from a funeral home in Oxford, Mississippi, the community where Faulkner grew up. $25,000.
For those unable to get enough Tolkien from the Lord of the Rings, here is a dense, five-page letter he wrote to Cotton Minchin. The letter was written in 1956 from Oxford, but not Faulkner's Oxford of Mississippi. Among J.R.R. Tolkien's comments is this: "You will be interested to hear that I recently had a letter from Sam Gamgee (of Tooting), a genuine professor of that name. He seemed a little surprised, but not displeased at my use of his name. (I thank goodness, it was not S. Gollum, I live now in fear of receiving a note from him; I am afraid he will be less pleased)." $22,000.
Here is a letter from Darwin containing his rare full signature, "Charles Robert Darwin." The letter was written to give Darwin's approval of the publication of correspondence of his with Dutch zoologist Pieter Harting. The letter is written to Norman Lockyer, founder and editor of Nature. Evidently Darwin signed the letter with his middle name so he could inform Lockyer that he generally does not use it. You might say he had an intelligent design in including his middle name in the letter. $10,000.
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