Wilhelm Gottfried Von Leibniz document to auction at Christie's

A contract concerning a calculating machine commissioned by Wilhelm Gottfried Von Leibniz (1646-1716) is up for auction at Christie's London on May 21.

Leibniz holds a prominent position in the history of philosophy and mathematics. He is credited with paving the way for the digital age through his work on binary systems and in the development of mechanical calculators.

Liebiniz calculator Christie's
Leibniz created a prototype for a mechanical calculator in the late 17th century

The document dates to around 1677 and was written by Leibniz, although it is signed by M Olivier - the engineer contracted to build the machine.

Construction continued until 1678, after which time it stalled for unknown reasons. It was not until 1690 that Leibniz would start work on developing a new prototype - which now stands in the Niedersachsische Landesbibliothek in Hamburg.

Few materials relating to the mathematician ever appear on the market, making this document exceptionally rare. It is expected to make £200,000-300,000 ($335,400-503,100).

An autographed section of JS Bach's church cantata Ich habe meine Zuversicht is valued at £150,000—200,000 ($251,550-335,400).

This is the first time an example of a compositional autograph from Bach has been offered at auction since 1996 - making this a major event for collectors.

The bottom stave is in good condition, although the top has been affected by ink acidification.

We have this fragment of a score by the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane.

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