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  • Alexander Graham Bell archive to see $150,000 at auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • AlexanderarchiveBellGraham

Alexander Graham Bell archive to see $150,000 at auction

Today (July 10) in California, Profiles in History will sell an extraordinary archive relating to Alexander Graham Bell's quest for manned flight.


Had the Wright Brothers not beaten Bell to the first manned flight, flying machines may have looked a lot different today



The archive provides the lead lot in the auction house's Rare Books & Manuscript sale, holding an estimate of $120,000-150,000. It includes a 217-page laboratory journal and over 950 photographs documenting Bell's early experiments.

Alexander Graham Bell is often credited with inventing the first practical telephone, but he also made significant contributions to the development of aviation and particularly, manned flight.

He did this through experimenting with tetrahedral kites, stating that he "had the feeling that a properly constructed flying-machine should be capable of being flown as a kite".

However, his paper on the subject was published on April 23, 1903, just eight months before the Wright Brothers made man's first flight in a heavier than air machine.

The archive contains thousands of sketches, notes, schematics and calculations, which provide a fascinating insight into the mind of the great inventor. As an additional attraction, it also includes sections of one of Bell's tetrahedral kites, which were taken from his workshop.

We are currently offering a fantastic signed letter from Thomas Edison.

The second highest bids of the sale are expected from Ernest Hemingway's personal travel typewriter, on which he typed his last great work, A Moveable Feast - published posthumously in 1964.

Fully documented and described as "one of the most important literary relics of the 20th century", it is valued at $60,000-80,000.

Also appearing is a collection of items relating to Hemingway's non-fiction work on bullfighting, The Dangerous Summer, which is estimated at $25,000-50,000. It includes a three-piece matador uniform worn by Antonio Ordonez and a sword and trophy gifted by Hemingway to his editor and friend, AE Hotchner.

Also featuring is a lucky chestnut that Hemingway carried with him for 11 years, before returning it to his friend shortly before committing suicide in 1961.

See our literary collectibles for sale, including William Golding-signed extract from his classic Lord of the Flies.

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • AlexanderarchiveBellGraham