Jun 21, 2018 - Sale 2483

Sale 2483 - Lot 106

Price Realized: $ 6,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500
(GARFIELD ASSASSINATION.) BELL, ALEXANDER GRAHAM. Brief Autograph Letter Signed, to Garfield's Chief of Staff Joseph Stanley Brown, concerning batteries [for the metal detector which failed to find the bullet in Garfield's abdomen]. 1 page, 8x4 3/4 inches, "Volta Laboratory" stationery; folds, minor ink blotting in lower blank area below signature, unevenly cropped on right edge with slight loss to the last letter of Bell's signature. Washington, 2 August 1881

Additional Details

"Will you kindly allow the bearer of this note to enter the basement room for the purpose of removing my batteries?"
In 1881, the great inventor Alexander Graham Bell had been experimenting with a primitive metal detector. With President Garfield on his deathbed and the location of a bullet in his abdomen still undetermined, Bell offered his services. He visited the president twice, on 26 July and 1 August, but was unable to locate the bullet. Interference from the springs in Garfield's mattress was probably the obstacle. The day after this second failed attempt, Bell wrote this short note to Garfield's gatekeeper. The president died on 19 September.