Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2013 Issue

Sotheby's in Paris:  Books and Manuscripts with the emphasis on Manuscripts

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Key material from Sotheby's Livres et Manuscrits on May 29th

If you are a serious collector of French manuscripts, Sotheby's sale of Books and Manuscripts on May 29th will likely contain some eye-catching items. And while some items come with eye-popping prices, there are items in all price ranges. The sale of 149 lots places an emphasis on manuscripts from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries; the likes of which include the letter by the imprisoned Alfred Dreyfus to the French Interior Minister (est. €100,000-150,000 / $131,000-196,500), the handwritten correspondence [17 letters and 3 copies] from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to the love of his life, Madame d'Houdetot (est. €250,000-350,000 / $377,500-458,500), 61 letters by Voltaire to his friend president de Ruffey describing the last 23 years of his every day life (est. €100,000-150,000 / $131,000-196,500), and 40 manuscripts from the Minka & Karl-Hans Strauss collection featuring letters from Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, August Renoir and other famous artists (prices vary). These are just some of the headliners.

But the sale is called Books & Manuscripts, and books-wise, the sale does not look to disappoint. The logbook of the five naval campaigns of Chevalier de Parcevaux (est. €60,000-90,000 / $78,600-117,900), until now held by his descendants, is up for auction. It is illustrated with watercolors and also contains one of the three known accounts detailing the Rio de Janeiro campaign when the city was plundered. Other key highlights include 19th century first editions and handwritten documents by major authors such as François-René de Chateaubriand's four unpublished chapters of his Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe (est. €80,000-120,000 / $104,800-157,200), Paul Verlaine's Les Mémoires d'un Veuf (est. €8,000-12,000 / $10,500-15,700), and Emile Zola's corrected proofs of Paris (est. €6,000-8,000 / $7,800-10,500).

Rounding out the sale is a section focused on 20th century books and manuscripts. A rare copy on papier japon of Swiss novelist and poet Blaise Cendrars' La Prose du Transsibérien et la Petite Jehanne de France (est. €100,000-150,000 / $131,000-195,500) is considered the gem here. The book is considered a landmark piece in the evolution of artists' books, modernist poetry and abstract art. The poet Paul Eluard, one of the founders of the surrealist movement, is also featured in several lots. His own copy of that album A Toute Épreuve with a surrealist binding by Paul Bonet (€40,000-60,000 / $52,400-78,600), as well as the first illustrated edition of the same work, featuring 80 engravings by Joan Miró (est. €60,000-80,000 / $78,600-104,800) are being sold.

The sale is open for viewing in Paris, Friday, May 24th from 12pm - 6pm, and Saturday, May 25th through Tuesday, May 28th, from 10am - 6pm (closed on Sunday).

Click here to view the eCatalogue on Sotheby's website.

The images included in the slideshow are as listed:

Lot 8: Logbook of the five naval campaigns of Chevalier de Parcevaux
Lot 19: Handwritten correspondence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Madame d'Houdetot
Lot 22: 61 letters by Voltaire to president Ruffey
Lot 29: Four unpublished chapters of François-René de Chateaubriand'sMémoires d'Outre-Tombe
Lot 34: Alfred Dreyfus' letter to the French Interior Minister whilst imprisoned
Lot 54: Paul Verlaine's Les Mémoires d'un Veuf
Lot 60: Emile Zola's corrected proofs of Paris
Lot 71: Autographed Letter Signed from Claude Monet to Antoine Vollon from the Minka & Karl-Hans Strauss collection
Lot 109: Blaise Cendrars' La Prose du Transsibérien et la Petite Jehanne de France
Lot 138: First illustrated edition of Paul Eluard's A Toute Épreuve featuring 80 engravings by Joan Miró



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>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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