• Science and Popular Culture

Cassandra Hatton

  • Senior Vice President | Global Head of Department, Science & Popular Culture
New York


Cassandra Hatton is a visionary market-maker & auction maven who specializes in creating new markets, and selling unique items with little to no market history for record making prices. She has two decades of experience selling, appraising, and cataloguing historic artifacts from the 17th-21st centuries, ranging from rare books & manuscripts, to music related materials including lyrics, fashion, and jewelry, to scientific & technological instruments, space suits and more, and is a key member of the NFT team at Sotheby’s. She spent the first decade of her career as a rare book and manuscript dealer on the west coast, before moving to New York to work for Bonhams Auctioneers, where she founded and was made Director of its History of Science & Technology department. She joined Sotheby’s in 2016 as a Senior Specialist in the Books & Manuscripts department, where she inaugurated sales in Space Exploration, the History of Science & Technology, Natural History, and Hip Hop to great success. In 2021 she founded and was made Global Head of the Science & Popular Culture department at Sotheby’s, where she oversees all sales globally relating to music and film, and the sciences. She has been responsible for numerous high-profile and record-setting sales, including:

–The record shattering “Buzz Aldrin: American Icon” sale, which totaled $8.2 million in just 68 lots, and reset the world record for any space flown artifact at $2.8 million for the Inflight Coverall Jacket Aldrin wore to the Moon and back
–The first Gorgosaurus fossil to ever come to auction for $6.1 million, the record setting sale of “Maximus” the T. rex skull for $6.1 million, and the world record for a Triceratops skull at $661,500
–The Source Code for the World Wide Web as an NFT for $5.4 million
–The first auctions to ever focus on Hip Hop as a cultural movement, with highlights including Tupac’s self-designed Crown ring, selling for just over $1 million, Biggie’s iconic crown from his K.O.N.Y. photo shoot at $600,000, and the first manuscript by Tupac Shakur to come to auction, at $300,000.”
–The white-glove sale (100% of lots sold) of the Nobel Prize and Papers of Richard P. Feynman, which sold together for $3.8 million dollars in just 42 lots
–The most valuable Space Exploration sale ever held (after Buzz Aldrin: American Icon) totaling $5.5 million, surpassing its pre-sale high estimate by $1 million and with an exceptional 93% of all lots sold.
–The only surviving first generation NASA recording of the Apollo 11 Moonwalk for $1.82 million dollars; the bag used by Neil Armstrong on Apollo 11 to bring back the first samples of the moon ever collected, for $1,812,500, a record for any American space artifact at the time; and the only known documented samples of the moon available for private ownership for $855,000
–The Hidden Wartime Manuscript of Alan Turing for $1,025,000
–The world-record sales of an Apple-1 Computer at $905,000 an M4 Enigma machine at $800,000 and an Enigma-1 at $441,000
–Several Nobel prize medals, including those of Richard P. Feynman ($975,000); Murray Gell-Mann ($625,000); George Minot ($545,000); Arthur Holly Compton ($277,200); John Mott ($262,500); and Frederick C. Robbins ($200,000)

Ms. Hatton is a member of the Grolier Club, the Bibliographical Society of America, the History of Science Society, and the Rare Book & Manuscript Section of the American Library Association. A classically trained musician, she did her undergraduate work in Music, History, and French & Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has an MA in Early Modern European History, with a focus on the History of Science. She has attended both the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia and the California Rare Book School, and is certified in Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). She is bilingual in French & English, reads Latin, Spanish, and Italian, and appears frequently in both print and broadcast media.

Videos featuring Cassandra Hatton
Sotheby’s Spotlight: The History of Science & Technology
An Inside Look at Enigma Machines from WWII
Fully Operational Enigma M4 Cipher Machine
Fully Operational Enigma I Cipher Machine
Fully Operational Swiss Enigma K Cipher Machine
Fully Operational Nema 45 Cipher Machine
This Changed Everything: Source Code for WWW x Tim Berners-Lee, an NFT
Cassandra Explains It All
Cassandra Explains It All: Space Exploration
The Influence of Hip Hop on Fashion
The Apollo 11 Moonwalk Tapes and the Broadcast that Changed the World

Articles by Cassandra Hatton
Breaking the Code: The Secrets of Enigma Cipher Machines
The Father of Space Art: Chelsey Knight Bonestell
5 Mind-Altering Plants
"Houston, We've Had a Problem Here": The Flown Apollo 13 Flight Plan
Tom Sachs on the Art of Space
When Science Becomes Art: NASA Photography of the Moon and Mars

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