Sir Isaac Newton’s autograph is in high demand.
That makes perfect sense when you consider his astonishing legacy.
Newton laid the groundwork for our understanding of the universe.
Here are a few thoughts on why the value of his autograph is rising today.
Given Newton’s enormous importance to science, you won’t be surprised to hear museums and archives hold most of his writings.
But some texts do still appear on the private market.
The ultimate prize is a first edition copy of his crowning achievement, the Principia Mathematica.
This enormous tome essentially lays out how the universe works. It was so far ahead of its time, not even Newton’s most talented contemporaries were able to get their heads around it.
The record stands at $3m, set for a copy at Christie’s in 2016.
Handwritten texts are highly prized, with values shifting depending on the subject.
Those dealing with gravity and the universe are the most sought after, sometimes selling for well over $250,000.
Varied price points
Newton was a renaissance man.
But he also wrote on a vast range of other subjects – including colour, finance alchemy and religion.
In each he’s incredibly perceptive.
But this has had the effect of varying his price point, meaning it’s possible to own a piece of Newton at a range of different price points.
Pieces relating to financial matters (he was warden of the Royal Mint in the years before he died) attract far lower sums than his writing on science. It’s possible to own one for around $1,000.
He’s one of the smartest people in history
Newton’s IQ is estimated to have been somewhere north of 190.
He was one of the most intelligent people ever to have lived.
Demand is steady for memorabilia associated with extreme outliers like Newton.
Albert Einstein is in the same bracket. In December last year Einstein’s so-called “God” letter realised $2.9m. Mozart is another, his original handwritten scores regularly selling for millions of dollars at auction.
Buyers are attracted to these paradigm-shifting figures, whose discoveries and innovations totally transformed the world around them.
And given we’re still talking about them today, it makes them a strong bet for the future.