Bell letter, phone drawing fetches over $92K in NH

Jan 19, 2012, 7:36 PM

Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – An 1878 letter from Alexander Graham Bell to his parents that includes rare and elaborate drawings of the telephone he invented has sold for more than $92,000, an auctioneer said Thursday.

The seven-page letter instructs Bell’s parents on how to ground the telephone to avoid harm from lightning strikes. He instructs them to run a sturdy copper wire from their house to the duck pond and bury it there.

“If you have a good connection with a permanently moist stratum of earth, you need never fear lightning and your posts will be safe,” Bell writes. He was in Washington, D.C., at the time.

Bell was responding to a letter from his parents in Tutelo Heights, Ontario, telling him how a lightning strike had damaged their wiring.

The letter was written just two years after Bell obtained the patent on the telephone and made his first call to his assistant, Thomas Watson.

Bidding on the letter offered by Amherst-based RRAuction began in December and ended Wednesday, with the top bid coming in at $92,856.

RRAuction Vice President Bobby Livingston wouldn’t name the top bidder, but he described him as “a prominent document collector in Texas who has an eye for the best stuff.”

“You’re not going to see a better Alexander Graham Bell on the market,” Livingston said.

Livingston said bidding was between collectors in the U.S. and Canada. “They both lay claim to him,” he said.

The Scotland-born inventor and his family moved to North America in 1870 and settled at Tutelo Heights near Brantford, Ontario. Bell moved to Boston the following year, where he taught the deaf and later became a professor at Boston University.

Livingston said the letter is particularly valuable because of Bell’s detailed discussion and drawings.

Bidding on the letter and its drawings exceeded Livingston’s expectations. He was hoping bidding would reach $80,000.

Livingston said the letter came from an archive kept by an associate of Bell’s. It had been in the associate’s family since 1910 and was recently purchased by a regular client of RRAuction.

“Everyone’s thrilled all the way around,” Livingston said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - SAS planes are grounded at Oslo Gardermoen airport during pilots strikes, in Oslo, Friday, A...
Associated Press

Carrier SAS files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning a walkout by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The move adds to the likelihood of travel chaos across Europe as the summer vacation period begins. The Stockholm-based group said it […]
2 hours ago
FILE - Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. After the ...
Associated Press

Companies could face hurdles covering abortion travel costs

After the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the federal right to an abortion that’s been in place for half a century, companies like Amazon, Disney, Apple and JP Morgan pledged to cover travel costs for employees who live in states where the procedure is now illegal so they can terminate pregnancies. But the companies gave scant […]
2 hours ago
Staff members stand near American and Chinese flags at a booth for the U.S. Soybean Export Council ...
Associated Press

Chinese envoy expresses concern over US tariffs with Yellen

BEIJING (AP) — China’s envoy to trade war talks with Washington expressed concern about U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports during a phone call Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the Ministry of Commerce announced, but it gave no indication of progress toward resolving an array of conflicts. Vice Premier Liu He and Yellen also discussed […]
1 day ago
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index ...
Associated Press

Asia shares rise on optimism about easing COVID restrictions

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares advanced Monday across the board as buying set in after the lull of a U.S. national holiday. Analysts said the optimism may be driven by expectations the U.S. may decide to cut Chinese tariffs, a welcome move that would also help tame inflation. China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that Vice […]
1 day ago
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index ...
Associated Press

Asia shares rise on optimism about easing COVID restrictions

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares advanced Monday across the board as buying set in after the lull of a U.S. national holiday. Analysts said the optimism may be driven by expectations the U.S. may decide to cut Chinese tariffs, a welcome move that would also help tame inflation. China’s Commerce Ministry said Tuesday that Vice […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach speaks in Leavenworth, Kan., on July 8, 2019. K...
Associated Press

Kobach looks for comeback in Kansas after losing 2 big races

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas voters have said no to him twice over the past four years. But Kris Kobach is nonetheless betting that this can be the year he makes a political comeback. His losses, including a 2018 defeat that handed the governor’s office in this Republican-leaning state to a Democrat, might end other […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Bell letter, phone drawing fetches over $92K in NH