Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2014 Issue

Profiles In History: Three Important Sales on Three Diverse Subjects

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Various items from Profiles In History's upcoming sales

The fall and early Winter are busy times for auction houses, and the auction house Profiles in History is no different. With five sales over the course of four days in December, three of which we’ll take a closer look at in this preview, PIH is making a strong push to finish out the year with a bang. The three auctions I’ll be going over are Historical Auction 72, taking place December 16th, 2014, the Golden Goose Press Archive Collection on December 17th, 2014, and A Celebration of Music: The Property of a Private Collector, also on December 17th, 2014.

Historical Auction 72 is made up of 215 lots, and it’s certainly difficult to choose only a few lots to highlight before moving on to Profiles in History’s other auctions. Their descriptions are very detailed, and often include backstory to fill in the specific item’s significance. In terms of overall magnitude of importace, the star may not be an item that is particularly old. Lot 76 is a manuscript draft by Einstein (and obviously signed by him) for a scientific paper on the development of his unified field theory—Einstein coined this term that is still in use today. I will not pretend to understand entirely what it is, but appraisers with more knowledge than me have estimated the item $120,000 - $180,000. Another very impressive item is lot 143, which is a $100,000 REWARD broadside poster from 1865 for the capture of a certain assassin. Yes, this poster for the capture of John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices is one of four in this particular design. Owning perhaps the most important reward poster in American history will carry a hefty price, with the item estimated $125,000 - $150,000.

It should be noted, too, that this sale contains a significant amount of autograph letters and documents signed worth reviewing. As I stated before, Historical Auction 72 is scheduled for December 16th, 2014, at 11am, PT, with bidding available on site in Calabasas, CA, over the phone, and online. For all forms of bidding, you may register here on Profiles in History’s website as well as download the PDF catalog.

Next  up, we have the Golden Goose Press Archive Collection. It’s much easier to choose a lot to write about when the sale only contains one. I don’t imagine someone who isn’t familiar will consider bidding the estimated $300,000 - $500,000, but to cover my bases, the Golden Goose Press was a publishing company started by Richard Wertz Emerson, a poet of the beat generation. It was a destination for many contributions from many well known authors, including Marioth Rossi, George Santayuaca, E.E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams, and William Butler Yeats. While the contents of this sale is large, with “the entire remains of Golden Goose Press as amassed by Richard Wertz Emerson,” (PIH) the jewel of the sale is the “Joan Anderson Letter” by Neal Cassady, an infamous letter that inspired Jack Kerouac to write On the Road. The stories behind both the press and the letter are told in detail within the sale’s catalog[www.profilesinhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/GlodenGoose.pdf] hosted on Profiles in History’s website.

Golden Goose Press Archive Collection will be up for bidding on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 at 10:30AM PT, taking place at PIH’s Calabasas, CA site. Phone and internet bidding is also available. Registration for the sale can be done here, and the PDF catalog is available here.

The final sale of this preview is A Celebration of Music: The Property of a Private Collector. In my perusal of the catalog, I found myself simultaneously searching for and listening to Beethoven, Brahms, Gershwin, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Schubert, to name a few. These great men are all included in the sale, and it just made too much sense to refamiliarize myself with their works as I attempted to choose only a few lots to mention here. Lot 2, an autograph letter signed twice by Beethoven, is absolutely a treasure to any collector of musical history. At an estimated $80,000 - $120,000, it had better be. Additionally, a first edition of the Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is for sale as lot 5. It’s only one of, if not the most famous musical composition of all time. It’s estimate is more modest at $5,000 - $7,000. Moving closer to the present, lot 53, an autograph music for the song “By Strauss,” signed in three places by George Gershwin and with lyrics written in his hand is another high profile item of the sale. It is estimated $75,000 - $125,000.

A Celebration of Music: The Property of a Private Collector takes place the same day of and directly after Golden Goose Press Archive Collection on Wednesday, December 17th, at 11am PT. As is the case with all of their sales, bidding will be done on-site, via phone, and online. Registration and the PDF catalog are available through Profiles In History’s website.

 

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