Hamilton auction to bring in lots of Benjamins
NEW YORK — If Hamilton fans can’t get enough of their favorite Broadway musical, they now can bid to own a personal letter and manuscripts of the Caribbean-born, French- and Scottish-heritaged founding father Alexander Hamilton.
The letter and hundreds of other documents from Hamilton’s desk will have collectors clamoring Wednesday at Sotheby’s auction house in New York Wednesday.
Hamilton’s descendants dusted off the family collection passed down since the 18th century for the auction.
Beyond discussions of large vs. small government, of the value of immigrants, of isolationism vs. internationalism, Hamilton also wrote about love for his wife and son.
“Every hour in the day I feel a severe pang on this account and half my nights are sleepless—Come my charmer and relieve me. Bring my darling boy to my bosom. Adieu Heaven bless you & speedily restore you to yr. fond husband,” he wrote circa 1783.
The family archive also includes a lock of Hamilton’s hair estimated to cash in at $25,000.
The Broadway show has helped
Sotheby’s expects the Hamilton collection to rake in inflated sales thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famed Broadway depiction of Hamilton’s life.
The 11 Tony-award winning “Hamilton” revitalized the celebrity of the “young, scrappy and hungry” founding father, inspired by Ron Chernow’s best-selling biography published back in 2004.
“There’s no denying the Broadway show has exponentially increased interest in this period of American history and particularly in Alexander Hamilton,” Sotheby’s International Senior Specialist for Books & Manuscripts Selby Kiffer told CNN.
“What is so unusual about this is it’s a cohesive integral whole that’s survived since the 18th century. The pieces interrelate and inform each other. It’s rare to have correspondence back and forth,” Kiffer added.
Ham-fans have flocked to Sotheby’s for a week-long archive exhibition leading up to auction day.
“Visitors could point to a document and say, ‘Oh there’s a song about that.’ I think that shows how closely the show follows history,” Kiffer said.
The interest in the archive is “undeniable,” Kiffer said. The only question is how much are people willing to pay to own a piece of history.
A previously unrecorded draft of the famed ‘Pacificus’ essay, in which Hamilton debates James Madison about America’s neutrality in foreign tensions, is estimated to go for upwards of $500,000.
Kiffer anticipates that the commissioning document appointing Hamilton to be General George Washington’s aide-de-camp will actually peak sales.
The appointment is said to be a pivotal moment in Hamilton’s life, ultimately leading to his influential role in American history.
Kiffer expects a packed room for the auction, with more than just the typical historical document collectors and institutions at the Wednesday afternoon auction.