First dollar earned by Edison Electric Light Co. in April 7 auction

Bonhams New York to offer technology-themed lots, more in sale
By , Coin World
Published : 03/17/14
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The first dollar earned by the Edison Electric Light Co. from the sale of electricity will be offered by Bonhams New York City April 7, 2014, during its auction of treasures from The Caren Archive. The auction firm estimates the note to sell for $8,000 to $12,000.

Ansonia Brass Co. was the first customer to settle its account with Edison. Handwritten on the note is the message: “This bill is one from a total amount of $50.40 which was the first bill collected for the sale of Edison Electric Light in first Central Station District, New York City. Jan. 18 / 1883.”

The note is signed by Edison’s chief engineer, Thomas L. Clarke. Edison Electric Light Co. was a forerunner of General Electric.

The sale will offer rare newspapers, broadsides, photographs, books, and manuscripts dating from the 16th century through the 1960s.

Other technology-themed lots will include an 1878 strip of recorded foil from the first Edison phonograph (estimated to bring $3,000 to $5,000) and a 1945 letter representing the “birth certificate” of the first computer in which the University of Pennsylvania granted Presper Eckert and John Mauchly the right to commercial patents for ENIAC, the first electronic general use computer (estimated to bring $2,000 $3,000).

Treasures from The Caren Archive will take place on April 7 at Bonhams New York. The auction will preview at Bonhams April 3 to 7. A complete catalog is available at


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