Consigned by a descendant to this online sale that ran from September 30 to October 14, it included a letter of 1804 from Thomas Jefferson to an old friend, Philip Mazzei, who had returned to his European home almost 20 years earlier. In it he expresses confidence in the “incalculable value” of the then recently completed Louisiana Purchase. That letter realised $130,000 (£100,000).
Elsie’s influence on this portion of the collection was evidenced by the number of letters in the hand of presidential wives it contained. A clipped signature of Martha Washington, the first ‘First lady’, sold at $4800 (£3690).
A framed favourite aphorism in Einstein’s hand, “mundus vult decipi” – ‘the world wants to be deceived’ – made a far higher than expected $43,000 (£24,615).
From the musical content of the collection, Oscar Hammerstein II’s autograph fair copy of the lyrics of Ol’ Man River realised $16,000 (£12,310).
The most successful of the George Gershwin lots, at $35,000 (£26,925), was an autograph manuscript of Who Cares? from George and Ira’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1931 musical, Of Thee I Sing.
A contract signed by Gershwin and others that relates to the original production of Porgy and Bess was bid to $12,000 (£9230).
An Abraham Lincoln letter to a schoolboy supporter failed to sell on a $1m estimate, however.