Auction to feature items linked to Al Capone, Obama

WESTPORT — A bank interest note twice signed by Al Capone and a letter typed and signed by Albert Einstein about the development of the hydrogen bomb will be among items featured in University Archives’ online-only auction planned this month.

Based in Westport, University Archives has become a source of valuable items for people around the world. University Archives President John Reznikoff said the auction will be packed with rare and collectible documents, books and relics.

“Our June sale offers another great opportunity to collectors,” Reznikoff said. “Not only does the auction feature the strong America items, but unique foreign materials as well. You’ll find autographs from European royalty, revolutionaries, and political influencers from English King Edward IV to Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin.”

The auction will be through two platforms, and the primary site The bid will start at 10:30 a.m. on June 26, but people are able to bid before this time and leave an absentee bid. Reznikoff said there are already 4,000 registered bidders from 58 countries.

“All one needs to do is sign up online and they’re free to bid ,” he said.

University Archives, which Reznikoff started when he was 18, is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Reznikoff said his interest for collecting started at a young age with baseball cards and stamps.

“I became much more interested in history and I started to buy and sell these autographs and relics related to famous people,” he said.

Reznikoff said he tries to provide items that have distinctive factors to them, one such item is the first vehicle ever purchased new by former President Barack Obama, a 2000 Grand Cherokee Limited.

“Mostly what we sell are documents and autographs, but we do sell relics related to a famous inventor or person in history,” he said.

Bidders are able to watch bids on items over the course of several hours online, and winning bidders would be charged a buyers fee of 25 percent. Buyers would be able to pick up their items immediately after the auction.

Reznikoff said the various items in the auction represented his fascination of history, like the first Apple Computer commercial aired in 1984 on cassette.

“It signified the dawn of the computer age,” he said. “I’m fascinated by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, both of which is represented in the auction, but I’m equally fascinated by Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee and Barack Obama.”

Reznikoff said the items will also provide great investments as their values will only increase, adding that preserving history was significant.

“I think it’s important know of their history,” he said. “A wise man once said those who know not of history are doomed to repeat it.”