Masterworks under the hammer

Edison_1 A collection of 22 light bulbs used by Thomas Edison in 1890 to defend his patent will be auctioned at Christie’s on Wednesday, 13 December. These bulbs were apparently discovered in an attic in a house in the United States, still in their original wooden case. Apparently they are expected to fetch about £300,000.

Other items listed in the "Landmarks of Science" auction are works by Einstein, including his "first scientific essay" (in quotes because I wonder how they know?); Newton; Darwin, including a first edition of the Origin of Species; Galileo; Kepler; Linnaeus (who has a 300th birthday coming up, by the way); and other luminaries. See here for a list of all 151 lots. See here for details of the auction, viewing times, and a picture of the box of bulbs.

4 thoughts on “Masterworks under the hammer

  1. Oooh, I’d love a first edition of Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. How amazing would that be to add to the collection?

  2. Yes, I agree, Kim. Did you look at that list of 151 lots? Some real beauties in there — I am amazed and delighted that some of these documents still exist, but a bit alarmed to think they might go off into some rich person’s private collection and be lost to the rest of us. I hope some philanthropic museum will buy them.

  3. Yes, what a very delightful list, it totally cheered me up: and I hope they all go to libraries where we can consult them…

  4. Maxine, yes I had a look at the list and there are some truly amazing things on it. What I want to know is, where did all these things come from to suddenly be auctioned together? Do Christies save up these things and wait until they’ve got enough similiar items and then decide to hold an auction, or do they come from one person?

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