More than a year ago Sotheby’s secured the opportunity to auction the James S. Copley Library and this month the third installment comes up in their New York rooms at 1334 York Avenue in Manhattan. Mr. Copley, a wealthy newspaper tycoon, acquired most of his material more than thirty years ago when material was more available and prices had yet to rise to the levels taken for granted today.
This sale contains 251 lots, the first lot numbered 812. As sales go this is an important one.
A set of the Federalist in original boards in two volumes is both highly desirable and very uncommon. Institutions own most copies and are reluctant to sell. The estimate is $200,000 to $300,000. A similar copy was sold at Heritage in 2010 for $143,400 against an estimate of $30,000. A copy of volume one in a contemporary binding in the same sale brought $71,700 against an estimate of $25,000. In the AED, in the advanced search using Federalist in Keywords and 1788 to 1788 in the date range there are 88 records. Lot 885.
Lot 937 will be of interest to bibliophiles who go to movies. The item is a wanted poster offering $100,000 reward for the MURDERER of Abraham Lincoln. The movie connection is the recently released “Conspirators”, an account of the trial of Mary Surratt. Authorities would quickly label her one of the conspirators and summarily hang her. This poster belongs on the wall of a defense attorney and many collect in the field. Estimated $30,000 to $40,000.
Lot 1001 is a group of first person accounts of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and its aftermath written by three persons. The earthquake is a collecting focus for many. The estimate is $2,500 to $3,500.
For devotees of James A. Garfield, lot 872 is an archive of materials relating to his assassination and the subsequent trial of Charles Guiteau for the crime. The materials include letters written by the defendant and the prosecutor, James K. Porter. An autograph album of notables attending the trial is also included. Estimate $50,000 to $80,000.
The sale is also very strong in manuscripts.
It is worth a look.