Sir Isaac Newton receipt to auction at RR

A receipt signed by British scientist Sir Isaac Newton will cross the block at RR Auction.

The lot dates to November 15, 1721 and is made out to the accountant general of the South Sea Company.

Newton was an early investor in the company, which held the monopoly on trade with South America.

Isaac Newton RR

Isaac Newton invested a significant sum of money in the South Sea Company

He made a large amount of money in 1720, when the stock soared. As the value continued to rise, he made the decision to invest more. 

The initial success of the South Sea Company led to a flurry of investment on the stock market among all levels of society.

A huge number of hastily formed companies began vying for a share of the public purse – including one that made square cannonballs, another that optimistically billed itself as "a company for carrying out an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is". 

However, as Newton was no doubt aware, what goes up must come down.

He lost around £20,000 when the bubble burst a few months later. That’s around £3.9m today and represented a significant chunk of Newton’s personal fortune.

Newton would quip that he “could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.”

This receipt relates to payment of dividends from his account and dates to after the crash.

It reads: "Pray pay to Dr. Francis Fauquier the four per cent Dividend due at Midsummer last upon sixteen thousand two hundred & seventy two pounds four shillings & nine pence south sea stock in my name & his Receipt shall be your sufficient discharge."

It's expected to make in excess of $25,000 in the June 14 sale.

We have a great selection of autographs for sale.

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