Lot #170
Nikola Tesla

Incredibly rare twice-signed Nikola Tesla check, paid to the Hotel New Yorker—quite possibly the last check he ever wrote
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Estimate: $1000+

Description

Incredibly rare twice-signed Nikola Tesla check, paid to the Hotel New Yorker—quite possibly the last check he ever wrote

Exceedingly rare twice-signed counter check drawn on Chase National Bank, 8.25 x 3.5, filled out and signed by Tesla, "Dr. Nikola Tesla," listing his address as the "Hotel New Yorker," payable to Hotel New Yorker for $50, November 27, 1942; also endorsed on the reverse by Tesla, "Nikola Tesla." In fine condition, with multiple unobtrusive vertical folds. Accompanied by an airmail envelope addressed to Tesla at the Hotel New Yorker, postmarked September 5, 1941.

After a lifetime of conceiving revolutionary technological ideas, Nikola Tesla spent his final ten years essentially penniless and secluded at the Hotel New Yorker, occupying rooms 3327 and 3328. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company paid his rent, as well as a $125 per month 'consulting fee'—possibly to avoid the bad publicity of having their once-star inventor living in poverty. It is no wonder that he was drawn to the Hotel New Yorker: it was the most technologically advanced hotel of its time. The basement held the largest private power plant in the United States, the 41st floor housed a massive telephone switchboard that employed 95 operators, and every guest room was equipped with a radio.

Just over a month after writing this check, on January 7, 1943, Tesla died alone in the Hotel New Yorker's Room 3327. Given his destitution—he lacked the funds to pay for very much at all—this is quite possibly the last check he ever wrote.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #600 - Ended January 13, 2021





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