Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2012 Issue

If you like dessert ... an auction

Bunker hill account

Lot 10. Autograph letter dated 8 July 1775 providing an account of the Battle of Bunker Hill

The world of book, manuscript, map and ephemera auctions has long been dominated by the major cities in the United States and Europe.  It’s been this way so long it feels natural, even inevitable.  Over the past decade though there has been a broad proliferation of houses that, while continuing to be near major cities, are filling the interstices and increasingly demonstrating strength.  The trend is broad and deep.  In looking at the December auction schedule I’m struck by the solid strength of the offers across the entire field.  True, this month we don’t/won’t have the majestic high fliers that Sotheby’s has sold with exceptional success the past few years but we will experience strength across the spectrum and this means great material appearing consistently within the more than 80 auctions scheduled.

It is difficult, even unfair to rank these sales, because if the material that consumes you is in a particular sale, that sale for you is the important sale.  For myself important material is up for bid in four different sales, this in itself a first as I’m often lucky to find a single item that fits my criteria.

This suggests a certain realignment of the stars, an increase in the number of houses selling exceptional material and an increasingly apparent trend toward lower estimates that encourage the wider bidding that moves outcomes well beyond the lot reserves that can not legally be higher than the low estimate.  It’s a healthy trend.

This said, perhaps the most interesting sale in December is The Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector at Profiles in History in Calabasas in southern California.  The collector-consignor is probably Victor Niederhoffer based on material he is known to own that is being offered.  The descriptive term distinguished is a low barrier term used more widely in the field than is appropriate.   For this sale it absolutely applies.
    

The index of lots reads like a who’s who and what’s what of both American and world history.  Beyond the connections there is also the reality that many of the items are very important.  This is not a tour of thinly connected association copies.  There is real collector intelligence on display here.

To this I’ll add that the estimates are generally low and the low estimate the minimum price at which the lot will change hands.  Therefore a high percentage of the lots will sell.

This said, the conventional wisdom is that when selling in December, it’s best to sell in early December before institutional and collector money has been spent.  This sale will test that theory, as it is one of the last sales of the year.  It’s on the 18th. If at that point in the month you have any money left and the fiscal cliff has not opened into the fiscal chasm you should give the catalogue, online or on paper, a careful look.

The total of the low estimates that are also the starting bids is $4.536 million, the total of the high estimates $6,922,000.  If the sale gets traction it could be the largest-by-dollars sale of the month, even the year.

To appreciate this sale you have to browse the catalogue.  Links below will bring it up.   Here is a list of subjects from the catalogue index of all 297 lots:

[Battle of Bunker Hill] Martin Gay

[Battle of Little Big Horn] Josiah Chance

[Inquisition of Mexico and Florida]

[South Sea Company]

[Titanic, R.M.S.]

[U. S. S. Constitution]

Adams, John

Adams, John Quincy

Adams, Samuel

Alcott, Louisa May

American All-Stars

Andersen, Hans Christian

Anderson, Robert

Armstrong, Louis

Armstrong, Neil A.

Audubon, John James

Baum, L. Frank

Beethoven, Ludwig von

Bell, Alexander Graham

Berlioz, Hector

Blake, Eubie

Boswell, James

Boyle, Robert

Bradbury, Ray

Brahms, Johannes

Brown, John

Calder, Alexander

Catherine II (Catherine the Great)

Catherine de’ Medici

Catlin, George

Chandler, Raymond

Churchill, Winston

Clemens, Samuel L. (“Mark Twain”)

Clement VII (Giulio de’ Medici)

Clinton, George

Cobb, Tyrus Raymond “Ty”

Cody, William F. (“Buffalo Bill”)

Colt, Samuel

Conrad, Joseph

Cooper, J. Fennimore

Cornwallis, Charles

Coryate, Thomas

Curie, Marie

Curie, Pierre

Darrow, Clarence

Darwin, Charles

David, Jacques Louis

Davis, Jefferson

DeForest, Lee

DiMaggio, Joseph

Disney, Walt

Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge (“Lewis Carroll”)

Donizetti, Gaetano

Dvorak, Anton

Edison, Thomas

Einstein, Albert

Eisenhower, Dwight D

Ellery, William

Emmerson, Ralph Waldo

Ferdinand V, King of Spain

Fermi, Enrico

Fillmore, Millard

Fischer, Bobby

Fitzgerald, F. Scott

Flaubert, Gustave

Flynn, Errol

Ford, Gerald R.

Forrest, Nathan Bedford

Francis I, King of France

Franklin, Benjamin

Freud, Sigmund

Galilei, Galileo

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand

Gauguin, Paul

Gehrig, Lou

George III, King of England

Gerry, Elbridge

Gershwin, George

Grant, Ulysses S.

Greene, Nathanael

Hammerstein, Oscar, II

Hancock, John

Hemingway, Ernest

Henry II, King of France

Henry VII, King of England

Henry, Patrick

Herschel, John Frederick William

Hesse, Hermann

Hilton, James

Holiday, Billie (Eleanora Fagan)

Houdini, Harry

Houston, Samuel

Hugo, Victor

Hume, David

Jackson, Thomas J. (“Stonewall”)

James, Frank

Jay, John

Jefferson, Thomas

Jung, Carl. G

Kennedy, Edward M.

Kennedy, Jacqueline

Kern, Jerome David & Hammerstein, Oscar, II.

Key, Francis Scott

King, Martin Luther

Lawrence, Thomas Edward

Lee, Richard Henry

Lee, Robert E.

Lehar, Franz

Lennon, John

Lincoln, Abraham

Lincoln, Mary

Lindbergh, Anne Spencer Morrow

Linnaeus, Carolus

Liszt, Franz

Livingstone, David

Locke, John

London, Jack

Longfellow, Henry W. 

Louis XVI, King of France

Lowe, Sir Hudson

MacArthur, Douglas

Madison, James

Malcolm X [Little, Malcolm]

Marx, Karl (Heinrich)

Mata-Hari

Mazarin, Jules

Medieval Tally Sticks

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix

Millet, Jean Francois

Mitchell, Margaret

Monet, Claude

Monroe, James

Monroe, Marilyn

More, Thomas

Morland, Samuel

Morris, Robert

Morse, Samuel Finley Breese

Napoleon I

Napoleon I and Empress Josephine

Nelson, Horatio

Newton, Sir Isaac

Nobel, Alfred

Nobel Prize Collection

Paine, Thomas

Parrish, Maxfield

Pasteur, Louis

Patton, George S.

Peter I (Peter the Great)

Pickering, Timothy

Pissarro, Camille

Poe, Edgar Allen

Porter, Cole

Puccini, Giacomo

Rand, Ayn

Reagan, Ronald

Revere, Paul

Rochambeau, Comte de.

Rodney, Caesar

Rommel, Erwin

Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Roosevelt, Theodore

Rousseau, Jean Jacques

Rush, Benjamin

Ruth, George Herman “Babe”

Sade, Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de.

Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez de.

Schumann, Robert

Seward, William Henry

Shakespeare, William

Smith, Adam

Stanley, Henry M.

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Stowe, Harriet Beecher

Stroud, Robert (“Birdman of Alcatraz”)

Szilard, Leo

Taylor, Zachary

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich

Thackeray, William Makepeace

Thoreau, Henry

Thornton, William

Tolkien, J.R.R.

Tyler, John

Valentino, Rudolph

Van Gogh, Vincent

Verdi, Giuseppe

Villa, Francisco (“Pancho”)

Voltaire, Francois Marie Arouet

Wagner, Richard

Warren, James

Washington, George

Weill, Kurt

Wesley, John

Whitman, Walt

Whitney, Eli.

Wright, Frank Lloyd

Wright, Wilbur

To search this sale and all others upcoming and now posted on AE select Upcoming Auctions at the top of any AE page and search your terms.  Lots  are updated daily.

Here is a link to Profiles in History:

 http://www.profilesinhistory.com/auctions/extraordinary-document-auction/

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Cartwright (George). <i>A Journal of Transactions and Events, during a Residence of nearly Sixteen Years on the Coast of Labrador...,</i> first edition, with A.L.s. from the author, 1792. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Swift (Jonathan). <i>Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World,</i> 2 vol., first edition, Teerink's "A" edition, Printed for Benj. Motte, 1726. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Fourier (Jean Baptiste Joseph). <i>Theorie Analytique de la Chaleur,</i> first edition, Paris, chez Firmin Didot, 1822. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Genealogiae Deorum,</i> additions by Dominicus Silvester and Raphael Zovenzonius, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Mary I. Letter signed at the head "Marye the Quene" to Lord Paget, 1 page, 7th June 1556. The recall from exile of nine persons opposed to the Marian regime. £10,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Nelson (Horatio). Autograph Letter signed "Horatio Nelson" and written to Francis Drake, British Minister at Genoa, discussing the disposition of his "Cruizers" near Genoa. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Darwin (Charles). Unpublished Autograph Letter signed to Walter Raleigh Browne, playing down his scientific knowledge of comparative anatomy, 1881. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Murphew (J.). <i>The fair in an uproar, or, the dancing-doggs.</i> As they perform in Mr. Pinkeman's New Opera in Bartholomew Fair, 1707. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Chaucer (Geoffrey). <i>The Workes,</i> by [Nicholas Hill for] Thomas Petit, dwellyng in Paules churche yarde at the sygne of the Maydens heed, 1550. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 27, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Austen (Jane). <i>Emma: A Novel,</i> 3 vol., first edition, 1816. £7,000 to £10,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>Stamboul Train,</i> first edition, first issue, 1932. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 27:</b> Churchill.- Fearon (Percy Hutton) "Poy". “Eat More Beef,” pen and ink cartoon with shading in blue pencil, [July 1928]. £400 to £600
  • <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>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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