• <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT. Autograph Manuscript Initialed ("E.B.B."), being the working notebook for the poems contained in <i>The Seraphim and Other Poems</i>. $400,000 to 600,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> WILDE, OSCAR. Two leaves, pp 31-34, from the first appearance of <i>The Picture of Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine for July, 1890</i>, with Wilde's autograph revisions. $40,000 to 60,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories and Tragedies; Published according to the true Originall Copies. Second Impression. [THE SECOND FOLIO.]</i> $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD. Photograph Signed ("John F. Kennedy") and Inscribed, 8 x 10 inch gelatin silver print, of Senator Kennedy and Miss Barelli, at the swearing of the secretarial oath for Miss Barelli. $1,200 to 1,800
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of <i>Afloat and Ashore</i>. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> IRVING, WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter 20 from Volume IV of <i>The Life of George Washington</i>. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> VERNE, JULES. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Jules Verne"), being the complete short story "<i>Une fantaisie de docteur Ox</i>". $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> ALCHEMY. <i>[The Crowning of Nature, or Coronatio Naturae.]</i> Original alchemical manuscript on paper, ruled in red, with watermark of the arms of Schieland. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> DE JODE, CORNELUS. 1568 - 1600. <i>Quivirae Regnu, Cum Alija Versus Borea</i>. [Antwerp: Arnoldum Coninx, 1593]. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, March 9. Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including the Kennedy Years</b>
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. <i>The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya</i>… $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> CATLIN, GEORGE. <i>North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting scenes and amusements of the Rocky Mountains and prairies of America. From drawings and notes of the author, made during eight years' travel.</i> $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams Mar. 9:</b> LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. HESLER, ALEXANDER. Platinum print, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 in, of a beardless Lincoln, 1860.<br>$2,000 to 3,000
  • <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> THE PAPERS OF BREVET MAJOR GENERAL JOHN GROSS BARNARD (1815-1882), Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac. Estimate: $75,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> ALVIN LANGDON COBURN. London. With 20 photogravures by Coburn and text by Hilaire Belloc, London and New York: 1909. First edition. Est: $4,000-6,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WILLIAM FADEN, A Plan of New York Island, with part of Long Island, Staten Island & East New Jersey. London: 1776. Estimate: $5,000-8,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> MAX BEERBOHM, Lord Curzon delivering an oration. Original drawing with collage. London, 1912. Est: $2,000-3,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> AMERICAN REVOLUTION, Recueil des Loix Constitutives des Colonies Angloises. A Philadelphie, et se vend a Paris: Cellot & Jombert, 1778. First collected edition in French. Estimate: $500-800
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, Confederate General Joseph Johnston's copy of Sherman's General Orders No. 65 announcing the final agreement of Surrender, 27 April 1865. Est: $4,000-6,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> JOHN KEATS, Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of Saint Agnes and Other Poems. London: Taylor and Hessey, 1820. First edition of Keats’s third book.. Estimate: $5,000-7,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> M. T. Cicero's Cato Major, or his discourse of Old-age: With Explanatory Notes. Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1744. Est: $5,000-8,000
    <b>Doyle, Apr. 26:</b> WINSTON S CHURCHILL, History of the English Speaking Peoples. London: Cassell, 1956-58. First editions. Est: $1,500-2,500
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Potter (Beatrix). The Tale of Peter Rabbit, first edition, first issue, [1901]. Part of an extensive, private Beatrix Potter collection. £15,000 - 20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Dodgson (Charles Lutwidge). The Hunting of the Snark, first edition, with original printed dust-jacket, 1876.<br>£7,000 - 9,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Buckland Wright (John). Pervigilium Veneris: The Vigil of Venus, number 1 of 100 copies (Christopher Sandford's copy), Golden Cockerel Press, 1939.<br>£2,000 - 3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Kelmscott Press. Keats (John). The Poems, one of 300, orig. vellum, 8vo, Kelmscott Press, 1894. £1,800 - 2,200
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Greenhill (Elizabeth).- Morison (Stanley) and Kenneth Day. The Typographic Book, 1450-1935, bound in dark green goatskin by Elizabeth Greenhill, 1963. £6,000 - 8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Fitzgerald (F. Scott). The Great Gatsby, first edition, first state dust-jacket, New York, 1925. £25,000 - 35,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Dionysius, <i>Halicarnassensis</i>. Antiquitates Romanae, Editio princeps, Treviso, Bernardinus Celerius, 24 or 25 February, 1480. £4,000 - 6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Canon Law. [Laurentius Puldericus. Breviarum decreti], manuscript in Latin, on paper, [?Germany], [c. 1450].<br>£5,000 - 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Swimming. Percey (William) The Compleat Swimmer: or, the Art of Swimming, first and only edition, by J.C. for Henry Fletcher, 1658. £5,000 - 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books and Works on Paper. March 30, 2017</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Binding with silverwork by Anthony Nelme. The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New: : newly translated out of the original tongues, Oxford, John Baskett, 1716. £10,000 - 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> George IV's copy. Nash (John, architect). The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, one of 10 copies, 1826. £8,000 - 10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions Mar. 30:</b> Blake (William, 1757-1827). "With Dreams upon my bed thou scarest me & affrightest me with Visions", 1825. £700 - 1,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “America the Beautiful”
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington, Tongue-in-Cheek, Writes James McHenry About His Wife or Mistress—But Funding the Continental Army is the Real Topic
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Young’s Map of the United States
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Thanks Former Pro-Slavery and Newly Republican Congressman for a Fiery Anti-Slavery Speech at a Philadelphia Campaign Rally
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> “A Visit From St. Nicholas” - great association copy inscribed by Clement C. Moore
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Einstein Agrees to Allow “a Short Book on the Hydrogen Bomb” to Use His Statement Made on Eleanor Roosevelt’s TV Show
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The Building Blocks of Albert Einstein’s Creative Mind
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> A Unique Manuscript Map of Block Island Sound Including Fisher’s and Gardiner’s Islands, the Hamptons, and Montauk Point
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> J.R.R. Tolkien Writes his Proofreader with a Lengthy Discussion of the Lord of the Rings, Including Criticism of Radio Broadcasts of his Work
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Six Benjamin Franklin Signed Receipts – Including his Earliest Obtainable Autograph — Acknowledging a Donation to the Famous Library Company He Founded, and Five Payments for His Pennsylvania Gazette
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Sherman Dishes on Lincoln & Thomas, Meade, Sheridan, Halleck & Grant

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>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> <i>The First American Magna Carta. English Liberties.</i> Boston, 1721.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Babbage presentation to Peel, the man who killed the Difference Engine 1832
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> The Stamp Act. 1765
    <b>Now in press: 19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Central Park Photographs by Prevost 1862
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Salem Witch Trials. Wonders of the Invisible World 1693
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> Mammoth print of Millie-Christine, "The Carolina Twins" c. 1868
  • <b>Auction Pierre Bergé & associés in association with Sotheby’s: Important Books and Manuscripts from the Library of Jean A. Bonna from the 15th to the 20th Century. Sale on April 26, 2017. Exhibition in London March 28-30</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Galileo, <i>Discorsi e Dimostrazioni matematiche.</i> Leyde, Elzevier, 1638. Original edition: only known copy of the first state. €700,000 – 900,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Fables illustrated by Benjamin Rabier. Paris, Tallandier, without date [ca. 1910]. Superb binding doubled in vellum decorated with painted and mosaic decors by André Mare illustrating four fables. €10,000 – 15,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Gustave Flaubert, draft for the preface of the <i>Memoir for the defense of Madame Bovary</i>, 15-30 January 1857. Exceptiona signed autograph manuscript. €40,000 – 60,000
    <b>Auction Pierre Bergé & associés in association with Sotheby’s: Important Books and Manuscripts from the Library of Jean A. Bonna from the 15th to the 20th Century. Sale on April 26, 2017. Exhibition in London March 28-30</b>
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Boccace, <i>The Book of Praise and the Virtue of the Noble and Cleric Ladies.</i> Verard, 1493. First edition of the French version attributed to Laurent de Premierfait. €40,000 – 60,000
    <b>Pierre Bergé & Associés, Apr. 26:</b> Exceptional set of 15 original bindings by Jean de Gonet, on rare editions illustrated by Picasso, Matisse, Miro or original editions of Bataille or Radiguet.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Hernán Cortés, letter ordering his assistant to offer hospitality to a visiting bishop, Mexico, 1538. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, NY, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Esther Levy, <i>Jewish Cookery Book</i>, first edition, Philadelphia, 1871. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Election circular for the New York Constitutional Convention, June 1776. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Theodore de Bry, <i>Admiranda Narratio Fida Tamen</i>, second Latin edition, Frankfort, circa 1608. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Campaign broadside in support of Andrew Jackson's re-election, 1832. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Johann Moritz Rugendas, <i>Malerische Reise in Brasilien</i>, first edition, with 100 lithographed plates, Paris, 1827-35. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Eusebio Kino, signed Jesuit profession of faith, San Bruno Mission, California, 1684. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Fraktur manuscript birth certificate, ink & watercolor, Pennsylvania, 1801. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> Joaquin Bolaños, <i>La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte</i>, Mexico, 1792. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> <i>The Cherokee Messenger</i>, complete set, Oklahoma, 1844-46. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 27:</b> William J. Stone, engraving of the Declaration of Independence, Washington, circa 1833. $12,000 to $18,000.

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