• <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition, in the original wrappers, of the first part of Pushkin’s masterpiece – ‘a bibliographical rarity of the highest order’ (Smirnov-Sokol’skii). £25,000 to £35,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The very rare first edition of Gogol’s first masterpiece and his first obtainable book. £50,000 to £70,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of Dostoevsky's <i>Brat'ia Karamazovy</i> (1830) in a superb contemporary cloth presentation binding. £22,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of the first version of the opening of <i>War and Peace,</i> with the original paper covers. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An early corrected typescript of Akhmatova's <i>Poema bez geroia</i> (July 1946) £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>A presentation copy of the first edition of <i>Kamen</i> (1913) inscribed by Mandel'shtam to his early mentor the poet Viacheslav Ivanov. £60,000 to £90,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>Rare autograph correspondence from Vladislav Khodasevich, including a manuscript of his long poem 'Sorrento Photographs' (1921). £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An important letter from Marina Tsvetaeva to the poet Nikolai Tikhonov (1935) in which she challenges Pasternak and his views on poetry. £12,000 to £18,000
  • <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 45. A complete edition of the rare and popular <i>Mer des Histoires,</i> 1543. Est. $28000 to $35000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 64. Kircher's fascinating cross-section of the earth's interior, 1682. Est. $1600 to $1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 68. Geographical guide to a man's heart with obstacles "clearly marked", 1960. Est. $200 to $300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 75. Jansson's rare carte-a-figures map of the Americas in full original color, 1645. Est. $7000 to $8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 107. Includes famous Gallatin map and portraits of North American Indians, 1840. Est. $900 to $1100
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 231. A hot-air balloon perspective of California's famous Wine Country, 1979. Est. $150 to $180
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 236. Lovely chromolithograph of California Street in San Francisco, 1864. Est. $1000 to $1300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 446. Rare German satirical map of World War I, 1915. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 543. Olearius' important plan of Moscow, 1647. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 660. Robert Walton's scarce, separately-issued carte-a-figures map, 1660. Est. $6000 to $7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 702. Rare engraving of flags from "Le Neptune Francois", 1700.<br>Est. $950 to $1200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 719. Two-volume geographical grammar & dictionary with 20 maps, 1795. Est. $450 to $550
  • <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>A Farewell To Arms,</i> 1929. $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> William Faulkner, <i>Go Down Moses,</i> 1942. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Vanity Of Dulouz,</i> 1968. $250-350
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Gertrude Stein, <i>The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,</i> 1933. $150-250
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> John Steinbeck, Three first editions. Comprising <i>Of Mice and Men, Covici-Friede,</i> 1937. $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Dalton Trumbo, <i>Johnny Got His Gun,</i> 1939. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Evelyn Waugh, <i>Vile Bodies,</i> 1930. $400 to $600
  • <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2012 Issue

Sotheby's Delivers Its First Comics Auction

Sothebeebabar

One great leap forward for Babar.

Comics have come of age. Your teachers may have looked at them with disdain; your mother threw them out the minute they began collecting the slightest bit of dust. This was not literature, not something to be confused with actual reading. While your mother may have thought them worthless, some recent prices paid for old comic books have already established she was wrong on that account. However, now comics have received the ultimate imprimatur of respectability. For the first time, 268 years after they were founded, Sotheby's has held a comics auction. And not just any Sotheby's. Sotheby's in France. That is the ultimate sign of not just monetary value, but class as well. Comics have arrived.

Not only was the auction in France, but the material was also French. No Batman and Robin, Mickey and Donald, Annie and Sandy. Instead, the important names were Tintin and Babar. Tintin never quite made it to the first level in America, but even in America's most Francophobia of times, the “freedom fries” era, kids still loved Babar. The chubby elephant's lime green outfits proved that even the French can have lapses in taste. Never mind. He is beloved all over the world, a rival in popularity to Mr. Disney's Mickey Mouse. Babar is one elephant not afraid of a mouse.

The auction was entitled Bande Dessinée, literally “band of drawings,” but that is the French equivalent of “comics.” Jean-Marc Thévenet, an expert in the comic arts, was brought on board to curate the sale. He explained, “the auction reflects our conviction that Comic Strips have become an art-form in their own right. In short, the sale aims to be a catalogue raisonné of the First One Hundred Years of Comic Strips!”

At the top of the price list was a strip from The Adventures of Tintin, one entitled The Shooting Star, published in Le Soir in 1941. It represents the beginning of this latest adventure in the life of the young Belgian reporter (Tintin) and his dog, Snowy. Here, they set out on a mission to find the shooting star, or meteor, that has crashed into the ocean. The mineral from which it is composed has amazing powers, so whoever gets there first will have something of extraordinary importance. The cartoonist, Georges Remi, better known by his pen name of Hergé, created this cartoon from Nazi occupied Belgium, so Tintin takes on more the role of a nonpolitical explorer, rather than a reporter, so as to avoid more controversial subjects. This original panel was published as the start of the serial in black and white, but the story would later become the first Tintin color comic book. The price, all in, when the hammer came down was €234,750 ($295,506 in U.S. currency).

While Hergé and Tintin were the dominant performers in this auction, we do have to tip our hat to Babar for a good effort. A board from Babar and his Cousin Arthur, from 1946, brought in €17,500 (US $22,029). The panel shows Babar jumping from an airplane (yes, he has a parachute – this was not the last Babar story). In a sequence of views we see the elephant in, what else, a jumpsuit, as he first leaps from the plane, and then in various stages of descent. By the way, the jumpsuit is red and white, Babar not yet graduating to his familiar lime green. This board was created by Laurent de Brunhoff, and it was his first Babar story. Babar was created by his father, Jean de Brunhoff, who died in 1937. His son did not pick up the tales until after the war, thus the nine year gap.

Overall, this auction was not a major success in that only 25 of 92 lots were sold. Those that sold did sell, on average, for more than the high of their estimate range, a sign that buyers were willing to pay up for what they wanted most. Total sales were €604,125 (US $760,473), while the estimate range of the items that sold was €513,500 - €585,000. The softness of overall sales likely reflects the current state of the comic book market in France. Comics have been selling at auction for several years in America, and the field, and number of collectors, is obviously much farther along now on the west side of the Atlantic. It has literally exploded in the past couple of years. We suspect that comic collecting is not yet as developed in France, comparable to where the market was in the U.S. several years ago. If the American experience repeats itself on the continent, we can expect to see more comics coming to auction, and more items being sold, in the years ahead. This is just the beginning.

Editor's Note:  A reader brought our attention to a couple of Sotheby's auction catalogues from the 1990s for comic books. While Sotheby's had described this as a first dedicated comics sale, they may have been referring to the type of strips herein featured, might have forgotten about earlier auctions, the French office might have been referring only to in France, or perhaps we just misunderstood something. Whatever the explanation, we appreciate the heads up.


Posted On: 2012-08-01 00:00
User Name: EliasOz

"For the first time, 268 years after they were founded, Sotheby's has held a comics auction."

Really? I'm looking at a Sotheby's catalog for an


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>H. Schedel, <i>Buch der Chroniken,</i> 1493. Est: € 120,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Latin and Book of Hours, around 1500. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Biblia latina, Koberger printing 1493. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>P. de Medina, <i>Libro de grandezas,</i> 1549. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>C. J. Trew, <i>Plantae selectae,</i> 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>A. de Laborde, <i>Voyage pittoresque,</i> 1806-20. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>G. Klimt, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> 1931.<br>Est: € 10,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>W. Kandinsky, <i>Klänge,</i> 1913.<br>Est: € 20,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>F. Léger, <i>Les illuminations,</i> 1949.<br>Est: € 2,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by E. Maylander, 1945. Est: € 1,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by G. Cretté, 1934. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>S. Dalí, <i>Après 50 ans des surréalisme,</i> 1974. Est: € 8,000
  • <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> An original copy of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “extending the right of suffrage to women.” $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> William Henry Harrison. Very rare signature as President. $7,500 to $10,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> 24"x32" Signed Image of Alexander Graham Bell. $7,500 to $10,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important Appointment for Harry Woodring as Secretary of War by Franklin D. Roosevelt. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Thomas Edison original patent related to dynamos for electrical lamps. $14,000 to $18,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important 1681 Penn Land Grant to His friend Robert Turner, credited for defining the look of Philadelphia for the next 200 years. $5,000 to $7,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Act of the Second Congress relating to trade with Indians issued by George Washington and signed by Thomas Jefferson. $22,000 to $27,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Document signed, August 15, 1861, appointing Fabius Stanley a Commander in the Navy. $6,500 to $8,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Abraham Lincoln. A fine example of the iconic George Clark ambrotype. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Hector Berlioz. Rare autograph musical quotation signed, seven bars from the “Love Scene” of his choral symphony Romeo et Juliette. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> McKenney & Hall. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>, 1865, Three Volumes. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Rare Honore de Balzac handwritten and signed letter bound in book. $3,000 to $5,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maria Louise Kirk, 4 pen, ink, watercolor & gouache illustrations for <i>Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,</i> 1904. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> H.A. Rey, <i>“Do You Want To Get Across?”</i> colored pencil, charcoal & watercolor, 1939. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Norman Rockwell, <i>The Pharmacist,</i> study for cover of <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1939. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, illustration for Homer’s <i>Odyssey,</i> gouache & watercolor, 1914. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>“And everyone was in his bed,"</i> gouache, watercolor & ink on board, 1961. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Charles M. Shulz, <i>Woodstock is Searching for His Identity,</i> original pen & ink 4-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1972. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> painted collage, 1990. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Jerry Pinkney, <i>The Lion & The Mouse,</i> watercolor & graphite, illustration for <i>School Library Journal,</i> 2009. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maurice Sendak, watercolor & graphite illustration for <i>Little Bear's New Friend,</i> 2001. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Peter Arno, <i>Circus Tricks,</i> ink, wash & watercolor, cover illustration for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1964. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury: <i>“Is Rufus Ready for his Lesson?”,</i> watercolor, pen & ink, circa 1970s. $6,000 to $9,000.
  • <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> GAZA, Theodorus. <i>Introductivae grammatices libriquatuor.</i> Venice: Aldus Manutius, 25 December 1495. €40,000 to 50,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolo. <i>Historie di Nicolo Machiavegli cittadino, et segretario fiorentino</i>... Rome: Antonio Blado, 25 March 1532. €15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> BELLMER, Hans -- ELUARD, Paul. <i>Les Jeux de la Poupée. Illustrés de textes par Paul Eluard.</i> Paris : les Editions Premieres, 1949. €30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> [BONNARD, Pierre] - VERLAINE, Paul. <i>Parallèlement.</i> Paris : Imprimerie nationale & Ambroise Vollard, 1900. €30,000 to 40,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Buffon (G.L.M.L., Comte de). <i>Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux,</i> 10 vol., large paper copy, 973 hand-coloured engraved plates drawn and engraved by Franz Nicolaus Martinet, Paris, 1770-86. £70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Bible (English). The Holy Bible, first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], 1611. £30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Marlborough (John Churchill, 1st Duke of).- [Parker (Robert, army officer)] <i>[Memoirs of the remarkable military transactions from the year 1688 to 1718],</i> ?autograph manuscript, 300pp., [c. 1718]. £20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> France.- Paris.- Turgot (Michel Etienne). <i>Plan de Paris,</i> engraved maps, contemporary red morocco, gilt, Paris, 1739. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Mongolia.- Pallas (Peter Simon). <i>Sammlungen Historischer Nachrichten uber die Mongolischen Volkerschaften,</i> first edition, complete with 31 plates, St. Petersburg, 1776-1801. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Brant (Sebastian). <i>Stultifera Navis... The Ship of Fooles, wherein is shewed the folly of all States...,</i> large woodcut title and numerous woodcuts in the text, [London], [John Cawood], 1570. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Aldus.- Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Il Decamerone,</i> Venice, House of Aldus & Andrea Torresani, 1522. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Wallace (Alfred Russel). 77pp. of Autograph letters (and 1 postcard) to various people, 1894-1904, on various palaeontological, geological and natural history matters. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> DNA.- Watson (James D.) and Francis Crick, <i>Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,</i> 1953 [and others]. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Optics.- Molyneux (William). <i>Dioptrica nova. A Treatise of Dioptricks, in Two Parts,</i> first edition, for Benj. Tooke, 1692. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Economics.- Mississippi & South Sea Bubbles.- <i>Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid,</i> 74 engraved plates and 3 maps, Amsterdam, 1720. £4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Asia.- Clouet (Jean Baptiste Louis). <i>Carte D'Asie Divisée en ses Principaux Etats,</i> engraved map with hand-colouring, on wooden rollers, 1782. £3,000 to 5,000

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