Auction  December 5, 2017

History of Science and Technology up for auction at Sotheby's

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Chelsey Bonestell “Saturn, Viewed from Titan, One of It’s Satellites.”

Breaking Boundaries: Sotheby’s Presents Its Inaugural Auction of HISTORY OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

An Innovative Perspective on the History of Science, Bridging the Gap from the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century to the Computing Revolution of the 20th Century

Exhibition 7-11 December

Auction 12 December

NEW YORK – Sotheby’s is delighted to announce its inaugural History of Science & Technology auction. Taking place on 12 December in our New York headquarters, the sale examines advancements beginning with the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century and continuing through to the Computing Revolution of the 20th century, and taking a close look at innovations in subjects ranging from physics, mathematics, cryptography, and technology, to medicine, astronomy, and space exploration. Visitors are invited to witness firsthand the development of scientific knowledge in variety of forms – from books & manuscripts, to scientific instruments and technological artifacts, to photography and original artwork – through the pre-sale exhibition, which opens to the public on 7 December.

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Enigma M4

Enigma M4
Estimate $350/500,000

A very fine and fully operational example of the famous German four-rotor (“M4”) Kriegsmarine Enigma Cipher Machine, this model, the rarest and most desirable of all enigmas, was the most difficult to decrypt. The Enigma M4 leads the group of five fully operational cipher machines being offered in this unique sale.

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Letter Signed by Ada Lovelace

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace Signed Letter
The First Computer Programmer
Estimate $19/25,000

After decades out of the spotlight, Ada Lovelace, also known as the ‘Enchantress of Numbers’, is finally getting the attention that she so rightly deserves. Encouraged and inspired by Charles Babbage and his invention, the first mechanical computer, Lovelace translated Luigi Menabrea’s article on the Analytical Engine and subsequently described an algorithm for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, thereby becoming the world’s first ever computer programmer.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: LEADING VOICES FROM GIANTS OF SCIENCE

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Isaac Newton Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, London: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, Regi æ Societatis Typographos, 1726

Isaac Newton, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, London: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, Regi æ Societatis Typographos, 1726
Estimate $8/12,000

Albert Einstein’s personal copy of Isaac Newton’s landmark book, apparently a gift from famed photographer, Roman Vishniac. Newton’s influence on Einstein can also be found in a Typed Letter Signed and Note Signed to Herbert Kondo, dated 11 August, 1952, in which Einstein shares his respect for Newton as well as Galileo, Maxwell and Faraday (estimate $10/15,000).

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Charles Darwin Autograph Letter Signed, to James Grant.

Charles Darwin Autograph Letter Signed, to James Grant. Down Beckenham, March 11, 1878
Estimate $40/60,000

Darwin the Atheist, or Darwin the Agnostic? One of only two letters to ever come to market treating Darwin’s struggle with religion, this revealing letter sheds incredible light on his doubts and uncertainties as to the existence of God. He writes: “the strongest argument for the existence of god…is the instinct or intuition which we all feel (as I suppose) that there must have been an intelligent beginner of the universe: but then comes the doubt and difficulty whether such institutions are trustworthy”.

VISIONARIES IN MEDICINE & SPACE EXPLORATION

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The “Polio” Nobel Prize

The “Polio” Nobel Prize
Estimate $200/300,000

The Nobel Committee recognized one of the greatest scientific achievements of the modern era when it awarded Frederick C. Robbins with the prize for physiology or medicine in 1954. His lifesaving research led to the development of the Polio vaccine.

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Chelsey Bonestell “Saturn, Viewed from Titan, One of It’s Satellites.”

Chelsey Bonestell “Saturn, Viewed from Titan, One of It’s Satellites.” A Mid 1950’s Study for the 360° Titan Panorama, a 1 ½ x 20 Foot Panorama Created for the Griffith Observatory Planetarium in 1959.
Estimate $100/150,000

A striking panorama, incorporating Bonestell’s most iconic work, “Saturn as Seen from Titan”.