WESTPORT, Conn. – An extensive archive of material pertaining to the 1976 hijacking of Air France flight 139 from Tel-Aviv, Israel to Paris – a news story so important it was the inspiration for five movies, including the one currently in theaters titled 7 Days in Entebbe – is up for bid in University Archives’ online-only auction slated for Tuesday, April 10th at 10:30 am Eastern time.
Bidders can view all 254 lots now, and register to bid, at www.UniversityArchives.com. Online bidding is being facilitated by Invaluable.com. The auction is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most important names in all of history. Several archives are in the spotlight due to their rarity, importance and high estimates.
The Entebbe archive comprises thousands of pages in Hebrew, English and French relating to lawsuits filed against Air France. Included are 36 airline tickets, copies of lawsuits, newspaper articles, affidavits and letters (originals and photocopies), plus documents relating to the 1972 Lod Airport massacre that involved terrorists who arrived at the Tel-Aviv airport via Air France.
On June 27, 1976, Air France flight 139 left from Tel-Aviv for Paris with a stopover in Athens. Soon after takeoff from Athens, four terrorists commandeered the flight, diverting it to Libya for refueling. They flew to Entebbe Airport in Uganda where, on June 28th, Ugandan President Idi Amin welcomed them. A list of demands was received on June 29th, calling for the release of 53 convicted terrorists held in Israel and other countries. The incident was a huge worldwide story.
The hijackers released some of the passengers who did not appear to be Israeli or Jewish and threatened to kill the rest if their demands were not met by July 1st. As a delaying tactic, Israel agreed to negotiate. In the early morning hours of July 4, 1976, an Israeli force of up to 200 soldiers landed at Entebbe and rescued most of the hostages. The terrorists were killed, as were three hostages and one Israeli soldier, the leader of the rescue force, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu.
An elderly British passenger, Mrs. Dora Bloch, had been sent to a hospital before the raid; her body was later found. Mrs. Bloch’s airline ticket is included in the archive, the overall condition of which is mostly fine and is worthy of further research. The other four movies that dramatized Operation Entebbe were the American TV films Victory at Entebbe (1976) and Raid on Entebbe (1977); the Israeli movie Operation Thunderbolt (1977); and The Last King of Scotland (2006).
The rest of the auction is packed with rare and collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photographs and relics. A strong candidate for top lot is a Mohawk Indian land deed dated March 1726, depicting the land marked with hatchets on trees, signed by Hendrick Theyanoguin (“the brave old Hendrick”), a Mohawk leader and member of the Bear Clan. The deed is signed by eight other Mohawk leaders. Included are photos and red wax seals (est. $25,000-$30,000).
Two Rev War-era lots have identical estimates of $12,000-$14,000. One is a book consisting of transcribed letters, including eyewitness accounts from Valley Forge, White Plains, Rhode Island and elsewhere, with an emphasis on military hospitals, carried by Continental Army infantryman Minne Voorhees. The other is a 1785 partly engraved document signed on parchment by George Washington, as “President of the Society of Cincinnati”, housed in a period gilt patriotic frame.
Thomas Jefferson lots include a letter written and signed by the third President from his home in Monticello, dated Sept. 28, 1821, in which he waxes poetic on book collecting and scientific knowledge outside our borders (est. $25,000-$30,000); and a partially printed grant document signed by both Jefferson (as President) and James Madison (as Secretary of State), dated May 6, 1805, awarded to proselytize Indians with a unique hand-drawn plot plan (est. $4,500-$5,500).
A Civil War-era letter written and signed by Brevet Maj. Gen. Robert Anderson, to the Rev. Dr. John McVickar of Cresson Springs, Pa., regarding the re-raising of the American flag at Fort Sumter, dated July 22, 1861, should bring $10,000-$12,000; and a carte de visite photo of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), signed by the Confederate general (“R.E. Lee”), depicting him in a suit and tie, circa 1866-1870, taken at the studio of Boude & Miley (Va.), is estimated at $3,500-$4,000.
An archive of 14 letters (47 pages total) written and signed by Amos B. Eaton, a West Point graduate who served in the U.S. Army for nearly 50 years, to his wife Elizabeth, from 1832 to 1837, regarding the Black Hawk War and containing pro-Indian content, is expected to realize $8,000-$10,000. Also, an order and envelope from 1865, addressed to Elizabeth Custer, the wife of Gen. George A. Custer, regarding his reassignment to Texas, should command $1,000-$1,200.
A lovely single page manuscript document written and signed by Marie Antoinette, dated May 6, 1785, addressed to the Treasurer General of the Royale, concerning funds “for maintenance and food for several of our officers during the year,” has a pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$10,000; and a charming letter written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, to his wife Mary, dated March 11, 1829, reporting that “business seem to agree with me,” should make $4,000-$5,000.
A letter written and signed by President Abraham Lincoln to the Austrian Emperor Archduke Franz Joseph – a link connecting one later slain world leader to another – with the U.S. seal attached to the envelope, dated Feb. 18, 1864, has an estimate of $7,000-$8,000. Also, Lincoln’s perfect signature on an ornate document, penned just weeks after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, also signed by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, should garner $6,000-$7,000.
A bi-fold letter boldly signed by Charles Darwin, dated Nov. 29, 1870, right before his book The Descent of Man, composed to his publisher on behalf of a request by the wife of fellow scientist George Cupples, seeking an application for a government pension, is expected to fetch $7,000-$8,000. Also, an archive of correspondence between the anthropologist and archaeologist Louis Leakey and Birute Galdikas, about orangutan research in Indonesia, should make $3,000-$4,000.
A document signed by President James A. Garfield on Feb. 18, 1881 regarding the appointment of the great-grandson of Moses Austin to replace his father as postmaster of Benham, Texas, rare because Garfield only served as President for four months due to his assassination, should rise to $7,000-$8,000. Also, a first-edition hardcover copy of Big Game Hunting in the Rockies and on the Great Plains (N.Y., 1899) by Theodore Roosevelt, signed by him, should hit $3,500-$4,000.
A rare Schutz-Pass (protective ‘pass’ functioning as a Swedish passport during World War II, in Hungarian, dated Aug. 19, 1944 and initialed by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, to protect Paul Aschner from wearing the infamous yellow star, is estimated at $7,000-$8,000. Also, Harry Truman’s personally owned St. Christopher medal charm, presented to him on his 65th birthday, engraved on the reverse with “H S T May 8, 1949”, carries a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$6,000.
University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.
For more information about University Archives and the Tuesday, April 10th online auction, please visit www.universityarchives.com.
# # # #
49 Richmondville Ave.