Release: William Herschel’s Diploma for the Discovery of Uranus

The Raab Collection announced today that it has acquired and will offer for sale the diploma issued to scientist and astronomer William Herschel for his discovery of the planet of Uranus, the only planet in our solar system discovered in the modern age. The document, issued by the University of Glasgow and signed by leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, remains in its original case, with the red seal present. It is valued at $50,000 and has been in the same private collection for nearly a century.

Full historical background

The diploma nestled inside its original case as received by Herschel himself

Herschel’s is the only discovery of a planet in our solar system since the ancient Babylonians; The awarding institution, the University of Glasgow, was part of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century.

The diploma, written in Latin, reads of Herschel: “For who, by the aid of the most excellent telescope, such as he himself first fashioned, the scattered rays of light spread through the vast void… and who not only found the most previously known planets, but also investigated and revealed a new primary and farthest planet, and several secondary ones, unknown to humans from the present world, each one in the Milky War, explored and explained…”

The wax seal still firmly attached to the vellum

About Raab & The Hunt for History: In 2020 (hardcover) and 2021 (paperback), Scribner published Nathan’s fascinating book from the rarified world of historical document dealing – THE HUNT FOR HISTORY: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, Churchill, and Einstein to the Secret Recordings Onboard JFK’s Air Force One. In the book by Nathan, whom Library Journal has compared to the Indiana Jones of historical document hunting, he shares amazing stories from the families and institutions who’ve called on him to authenticate rare and revelatory letters that will often fetch thousands and thousands of dollars. Among these stories: powerful letters of President Reagan to his daughter, pleading for family unity; the discovery of an early version of the JFK assassination tapes with 40 minutes of new information; Theodore Roosevelt’s letter home from Yellowstone to his young son, who would die in World War I.

The signers include prominent men from the Scottish enlightenment

Raab has worked with the families of many great historical figures on the treasures that have descended to them, including Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James K. Polk, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Gerald Ford, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, senior leadership in the Civil War, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It has worked to bring to the market many unpublished historical archives from all over the world.

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