Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Alexander Graham Bell Typed Letter Signed. One page, 8" x 10.5", Washington, January 15, 1902, to George C. Maynard, a friend and former agent of Bell Telephone Company for Washington, D. C. The letter reads, in full:

    "You will be glad to hear that my application to Marconi was successful, and that he will present to the National Museum the instrument with which he received the first signals from Europe, and will also be glad to present us with some of his old models. I write today to Prof. Langley upon the subject, suggesting that some formal communication be send to Marconi, on behalf of the National Museum, but I thought that you were entitled to receive the first news."

    Four weeks prior to writing this letter, Irish-Italian inventor and radio pioneer, Guglielmo Marconi, using a kite carrying an antenna to a height of approximately 500 feet from atop Signal Hill in St. John's, Newfoundland, received a signal being sent wirelessly across the Atlantic Ocean from Cornwall, on the southwestern tip of England 2,200 miles away. The message was simply three short dots, Morse code for "S." Set upon by skeptics, he performed a similar experiment in February, 1902, while aboard the SS Philadelphia sailing east to Europe and recorded daily transmissions from the same transmission station in Cornwall proving that radio signals could travel many hundreds of miles.

    The signature is 90% faded, but can still be seen. Directly below is a second signature, in pencil, presumably written by someone in Maynard's family. The edges are toned and chipped in places. Smoothed folds, which also show some toning, are weakened and separating at the page edges. There are three small holes, in each of the lower corners and at the upper edge in the middle, where the document was mounted.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 24
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 691

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 4 Rare Books Signature Auction Books Signature Auction - New York .

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838