University Archives

Lot 223

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Fridtjof Nansen 3x Signed ALS Dating Just 2 Months Before Embarking on his Greenland Expedition

A stock card fully engrossed in English by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), and 3x signed by him as "Fridtjof Nansen," twice recto and once verso. Written in Bergen, Norway on March 28, 1888. Scrapbook album mounting traces verso, else near fine. 5" x 2.625."

The card reads in full:


"Fridtjof Nansen Bergen Mar. 28, 1888


Honorable Mr. F.G. Johnson

Painesville, Ohio. U.S.A.

Dear Sir - accept my best thanks for your letter and the honor you have bestowed upon me by asking [for] my autograph, it is indeed with the greatest pleasure that I fulfil [sic] your wish.

Believe me yours very truly.

Fridtjof Nansen."


"Fridtjof Nansen."

The timing of this exchange is extremely interesting. In March 1888, Fridtjof Nansen was already an established adventurer, but not yet famous. His primary pursuit was obtaining his doctorate degree in zoology, exploring the nervous systems of arctic marine animals. How did an American farmer like F.G. Johnson of Painesville, Ohio know about a Norwegian graduate student like Nansen? That remains a mystery.

Just three months later, however, in June 1888, Nansen would begin traveling towards Greenland as part of a six-man cross-country skiing expedition. The crew became the first to cross the treacherous land mass, traveling in an east to west direction, between August - October 1888. Wouldn't F.G. Johnson be gratified to have secured Nansen's autographs before the successful Greenland Expedition?

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

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