Lot #1
Isaac Newton

Rare 1721 document from Newton as the Master of the Royal Mint
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Estimate: $25000+

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Description

Rare 1721 document from Newton as the Master of the Royal Mint

ADS, signed “Is. Newton,” one page, 5.75 x 3, November 15, 1721. Pay order issued to "the Accountant General of the South Sea Company," John Grigsby. In full: "Pray pay to Dr. Francis Fauquier the four per cent Dividend due at Midsummer last upon sixteen thousand two hundred & seventy two pounds four shillings & nine pence south sea stock in my name & his Receipt shall be your sufficient discharge." Affixed at the left edge to a larger card. In fine condition.

In the spring of 1720, the South Sea Company, created as a public-private partnership to stabilize and reduce the cost of national debt, witnessed an incredible boom in company stock. Newton, a stockholder and the current Master of the Royal Mint, wisely sold off his South Sea shares in late April after nearly doubling his initial investment of around £3,500. However, with prices still rising heading into the fall, Newton reentered with an even higher investment and was soon caught up in the first major ‘bubble’ in stock-market history, losing an estimated £20,000. Unlike many others, Newton survived the crash on the strength of his position at the Royal Mint, but the experience prompted the scientist to famously note that he 'could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people.' An extremely rare and attractively penned document with an association to one of Newton’s most questionable experiments.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: May 19 - June 14





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