Rare Thomas Edison signed photo to auction for $3,500

A very rare Thomas Edison signed photograph is being offered by University Archives in Wilton, Connecticut, with an estimate of $3,500 - $4,500.

Thomas Edison signed photo for sale at University Archives
Image: University Archives


The vintage silver gelatin photo measures 7 inches x 6 inches and is part of University Archives Rare Manuscripts, Books and Sports Memorabilia auction on 1st February,

It shows Edison seated at his desk examining one of his 1,093 patented inventions - a portable head lamp powered by a rechargable storage battery.

Edison's 'Cap Lamp' was approved by the Bureau of Mining in 1917 and used in US mines to help safety and limit deadly gas fires.

The Cap Lamp were approved by the U.S. Bureau of Mining and rolled out by 1917.

Whilst undated it is believed to be from 1923, and has been signed by Edison at the top left.

The photo has also been signed by Lewis Lueder, the official photographer to Edison.

The same photo can also be seen in the collection at The Thomas Edison National Historic Park at his Glenmont house in New Jersey.

Despite the usual paper wrinkles and a bit of foxing the photograph is in otherwise good condition, given it's age. 

The provenance states the photograph originates from the historic photography collection of Dr Joseph T Pollock and is being sold with letters of authenticity from PSA and James Spence. 

You can view the auction at University Archives.

To give an idea of the rarity of Thomas Edison signed photos; a signed photo of a young Edison from the 1870's was sold by RR Auction in January 2013 for $4,789 while a similar signed photograph, of Edison holding a battery, was sold for $32,000 in 2011 - against an estimate of just $5,000.

Edison's patents are most popular with collectors, with his light bulb patent selling for $750,000 at auction in 2020.

About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.

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