Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2013 Issue

Christie's in Paris: A Sale for Many Niches

139393bc-b455-40ad-afb3-314b9f81cfe4

In keeping with its tradition of covering some of the best and most prestigious material in the world, Christie’s in Paris hosts a sale on Wednesday, November 6th, of Important Old Books, Artists’ Books and Manuscripts, much of the material younger than Christie’s itself.

 

The auction is split into five sections covering thirteen lots of ornithology and natural history material, forty-six lots of old books, seventeen lots of literature from the 19th and 20th centuries, twenty-one lots of artists’ books, and sixty lots of manuscripts and autographs. The estimates range in price, from affordable ($2,000) to premium ($250,000). You may recognize names like Gandhi , Darwin, Audubon , Voltaire, and Rousseau. The sale is distinctly French with the majority of the works in that language, but it has material for collectors with many niches including Americana, politics, art books, literature, manuscripts, and autographs.

 

The first portion of the auction focusing on ornithology and natural history contains some of the sale’s oldest material. One highlight of the section, making its first appearance at auction in over 30 years, is lot 5, Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder’s Avium Vivae Icones, a collection of 12 prints of birds and insects, dating from the late 16th century. It is estimated between $4,100-6,700. Gheeraerts is most noteworthy for being an innovative printmaker during a time when woodcut and engraving were the prominent techniques.

 

At lot 14, a second edition of John Audubon’s The Birds of America from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories heads the old books part of the sale. This second edition is the first to contain tinted lithographic backgrounds added to many of the prints. Its price pales in comparison to a complete set of the first edition with an estimate of $27,000-40,000 (versus almost $9M spent in 2000 for George Fox’s early subscription set of the original edition).

 

For Americana collectors, lot 24, George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. Hunting Scenes and Amusements. From Drawings by the Author.  may be the gem of sale. Containing 25 lithographs, this copy is uncolored. One other example has been sold by Christie’s in the past 20 years. In contrast, copies of the hand-colored variety are routinely seen in the rooms (and have fetched close to $100,000 in recent years). This copy is also estimated between $27,000-40,000.

 

Topping the prices under the old books portion of the sale is lot 29, Description de l’Égypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française¸ a series of 29 volumes published from 1809 to 1830 that scientifically describes ancient and modern Egypt as well as its natural history. It is a collaborative work by a team known as the “savants” who travelled with Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt during the French Revolutionary Wars. The work is considered an important event in French printing history and is estimated between $130,000-160,000.

 

Moving on to the artists’ books, material from many well-known artists is covered. Picasso, Chagall, Degas, Duchamp, Ernst, Miró, and Renoir are all represented. As these are reproductions of collections of said artists’ works, the prices are relatively modest, with low estimates starting at $2,700 and topping out at $20,000 for Càntic del Sol. Traducció : Josep Carner. Pròleg : Marià Manent, a collection of 33 original prints by Miró (lot 92), limited to 273 copies.

 

The final part of the sale covering manuscripts and autographs  contains predominantly French material. There is a wide variety of subject matter, from Gandhi’s letter to the British ministry (lot 107, $5,400-8,000), to the autographed manuscript copy of Paul Éluard’s Livre ouvert III (lot 106, $94,000-120,000), to fifteen separate lots of letters by Voltaire to various recipients (he wrote a lot). For the collector of autographs and manuscripts, there are sixty lots of intriguing material waiting to be perused.

 

SALE INFO

Auction Time

Sale Location

Viewing Times in Paris

For more information as well as the E-Catalogue for the sale, please visit Christie's.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions