A rare black and white portrait photograph, signed and inscribed by German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955), is to cross the block at Swann Auction Galleries on May 23.
The formal, yet characterful, portrait, which has been valued at $8,000-12,000, features the scientist in middle-age, looking benignly to the left. Taken by E Willard Spurr, the inscription on the photograph reads: "To Mr. E. W. Spurr / Albert Einstein / 1931".
Our sister site, PFC Auctions, is currently accepting bids for this signed Albert Einstein photograph, which stars the Nobel Prize winner in a more domestic setting, happily smoking his pipe.
Also set to garner interest at Swann is a letter written and autographed in pencil by the celebrated American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886).
Unusually, the lyrical letter lacks a named recipient.
Dickinson writes cryptically, in her wide-spaced, childlike hand: "Forgive the fervent Ingrate, if this time I am right, who had last week a bewitching Box and replied Elsewhere, 'Elsewhere,' replying this morning that 'it isn't him' though he 'would it were' and will keep the gratitude till the first Delight he may dare to send."
The fascinating document, thought to be circa 1881, carries a $6,000-9,000 estimate.
Neither Einstein nor Dickinson is still with us, meaning a finite number of autographs pertaining to their remarkable lives exist. With an estimated 3m serious autograph collectors internationally, limited supply coupled with increasing demand suggests the market could rise in value over the coming months.
For more information concerning investing in autographs, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to the autograph market.