Newton, having initially doubled his 1720 stake of £3500, had sold off his shares, but with prices still rising he re-entered the scheme on an even larger scale. When the ‘Bubble’ burst, this great scientist and Master of the Mint lost everything.
He later observed that he “could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of the people”.
Newton’s loss is estimated to have been around £20,000. This simple little document sold at $53,805 (£42,035) including premiums and sales taxes.
Iron Duke writes from Walmer Castle
While on the subject of great Britons, sold for £5000 by Gorringe’s (24% buyer’s premium) on June 27 was an album of 48 letters written by England’s PMs – from Robert Walpole to Edward Heath. Of particular note was an eight-page letter in which the Duke of Wellington, writing in 1835 from his Walmer Castle residence, discusses the formation and training of a defensive militia.