• <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
    <center><b>Bonhams New York: December 5<br> Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight [and] History of Science and Technology, Including Space History<br><br>Bonhams Online: Fine Books and Manuscripts, December 6-13</b>
    <b>Bonhams:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000
  • <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>H. Schedel, <i>Buch der Chroniken,</i> 1493. Est: € 120,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Latin and Book of Hours, around 1500. Est: € 50,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Biblia latina, Koberger printing 1493. Est: € 4,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>P. de Medina, <i>Libro de grandezas,</i> 1549. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>C. J. Trew, <i>Plantae selectae,</i> 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>A. de Laborde, <i>Voyage pittoresque,</i> 1806-20. Est: € 8,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>G. Klimt, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> 1931.<br>Est: € 10,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>W. Kandinsky, <i>Klänge,</i> 1913.<br>Est: € 20,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>F. Léger, <i>Les illuminations,</i> 1949.<br>Est: € 2,000
    <b>Ketterer Kunst Hamburg, Rare Books Auction on November 26th</b>
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by E. Maylander, 1945. Est: € 1,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b> Master binding by G. Cretté, 1934. Est: € 6,000
    <b>Ketterer Rare Books, November 26:</b><br>S. Dalí, <i>Après 50 ans des surréalisme,</i> 1974. Est: € 8,000
  • <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> An original copy of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “extending the right of suffrage to women.” $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> William Henry Harrison. Very rare signature as President. $7,500 to $10,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> 24"x32" Signed Image of Alexander Graham Bell. $7,500 to $10,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important Appointment for Harry Woodring as Secretary of War by Franklin D. Roosevelt. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Thomas Edison original patent related to dynamos for electrical lamps. $14,000 to $18,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Important 1681 Penn Land Grant to His friend Robert Turner, credited for defining the look of Philadelphia for the next 200 years. $5,000 to $7,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Act of the Second Congress relating to trade with Indians issued by George Washington and signed by Thomas Jefferson. $22,000 to $27,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Document signed, August 15, 1861, appointing Fabius Stanley a Commander in the Navy. $6,500 to $8,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Abraham Lincoln. A fine example of the iconic George Clark ambrotype. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>David Gindy's One Of A Kind Collectibles Rare Autographs & Manuscripts Auction.<br>November 15, 2018</b>
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Hector Berlioz. Rare autograph musical quotation signed, seven bars from the “Love Scene” of his choral symphony Romeo et Juliette. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> McKenney & Hall. <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America</i>, 1865, Three Volumes. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>One of a Kind Collectibles, Nov. 15:</b> Rare Honore de Balzac handwritten and signed letter bound in book. $3,000 to $5,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maria Louise Kirk, 4 pen, ink, watercolor & gouache illustrations for <i>Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,</i> 1904. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> H.A. Rey, <i>“Do You Want To Get Across?”</i> colored pencil, charcoal & watercolor, 1939. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Norman Rockwell, <i>The Pharmacist,</i> study for cover of <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1939. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, illustration for Homer’s <i>Odyssey,</i> gouache & watercolor, 1914. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Ludwig Bemelmans, <i>“And everyone was in his bed,"</i> gouache, watercolor & ink on board, 1961. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Charles M. Shulz, <i>Woodstock is Searching for His Identity,</i> original pen & ink 4-panel <i>Peanuts</i> comic strip, 1972. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> painted collage, 1990. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Jerry Pinkney, <i>The Lion & The Mouse,</i> watercolor & graphite, illustration for <i>School Library Journal,</i> 2009. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Maurice Sendak, watercolor & graphite illustration for <i>Little Bear's New Friend,</i> 2001. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Peter Arno, <i>Circus Tricks,</i> ink, wash & watercolor, cover illustration for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1964. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 6:</b> Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury: <i>“Is Rufus Ready for his Lesson?”,</i> watercolor, pen & ink, circa 1970s. $6,000 to $9,000.

Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2015 Issue

The Royal Institution is Selling Some of Its Iconic Books: Is this a Bad Thing?

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The Royal Institution. Photo: Royal Institution / T Mitchell.

There is an auction sale taking place this first day of December that is notable for more than the material offered, though it is certainly special. It is its source that is notable, a source of some controversy, though not nearly what it once would have caused. Institutional deaccessioning, once dependably controversial, is less so today. Reality sets in.

 

The Royal Institution, for over 200 years a supporter of scientific research and a repository of its findings, has found itself in some financial difficulties over the past decade. The Institution undertook some significant projects in its Mayfair (London) building during the first decade of this century. It's an enormous building that has been around since the group's founding in 1799, so some upgrades are occasionally necessary. It was an expensive project, leaving the Institution with more debt than it could handle. The result was it had to seriously consider selling its building a few years ago.

 

Fortunately, the Royal Institution's home was saved by an anonymous gift of £4.4 million. However, that still leaves it with £2 million needing to be repaid. The trustees reached the conclusion that the best way to handle the remaining debt load would be to sell some of the books in its collection. Additionally, they will be making some space in their building available for rent to bring in additional income. The trustees selected 85 items from their collection, which they described as "non-core heritage items." The material is estimated to be worth £750,000 (approximately $1,150,000).

 

The highlight is a copy of Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Published in 1543, it has been called "the most famous anatomical work ever published,...and the milestone in all medical history." Vesalius reached his conclusions based on dissecting the human body. That may sound obvious today, but was a radical idea at the time. Galen, then the authority, made his observations by dissecting the bodies of animals. This book is estimated to sell for £140,000 - £220,000 ($214,760 - $337,480). It also explains what is "non-core" for the Royal Institution. It has specific, extensive collections, most notably that of Michael Faraday. Faraday was the 19th century physicist who conducted all sorts of experiments with electricity. He did much of his work at the Royal Institution. Recently, the Institution purchased 30 Faraday letters to add to its collection.

 

Some scientists raised objections. Sir Andre Geim, winner of the Nobel prize for physics, was reported to have said the Royal Institution should reconsider a suggestion made a couple of years earlier to merge with the Royal Society instead. However, for the most part, the reaction seems to have been subdued. A few years ago, the idea of selling off significant books from an institutional collection likely would have generated widespread outrage. Today, there is greater understanding that sometimes practical financial concerns must trump preserving every last item within such a collection.

 

The Royal Institution explained its decision in a statement from its Chairman, saying, "The Ri is committed to preserving and promoting our unique scientific legacy. We believe that taking these necessary steps will provide a strong foundation from which to safeguard our core heritage collection - the Faraday Museum and Archive Collection - and continue our vital work across all of our charitable programmes for the benefit of future generations."

 

From a collecting standpoint, this is not the worst of news. Certainly, there is disappointment in seeing public-spirited if not publicly owned institutions dispersing cultural icons. For so many years, institutions have built up and preserved great collections of historical material. However, in so doing, they have made some of the best items virtually unavailable to private collectors, while driving up the prices of the few examples that are left in circulation. Making the finest material extremely expensive if not unobtainable is not the best way to encourage collecting. Perhaps there are worse things that can happen to historic works than to see a few examples come out of rarely used institutional collections and into the hands of collectors who will truly cherish having them for some brief period of time, and then turning them over to the next generation of collectors to share in that experience.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 45. A complete edition of the rare and popular <i>Mer des Histoires,</i> 1543. Est. $28000 to $35000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 64. Kircher's fascinating cross-section of the earth's interior, 1682. Est. $1600 to $1900
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 68. Geographical guide to a man's heart with obstacles "clearly marked", 1960. Est. $200 to $300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 75. Jansson's rare carte-a-figures map of the Americas in full original color, 1645. Est. $7000 to $8500
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 107. Includes famous Gallatin map and portraits of North American Indians, 1840. Est. $900 to $1100
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 231. A hot-air balloon perspective of California's famous Wine Country, 1979. Est. $150 to $180
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 236. Lovely chromolithograph of California Street in San Francisco, 1864. Est. $1000 to $1300
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 446. Rare German satirical map of World War I, 1915. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 543. Olearius' important plan of Moscow, 1647. Est. $1800 to $2200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 660. Robert Walton's scarce, separately-issued carte-a-figures map, 1660. Est. $6000 to $7000
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 702. Rare engraving of flags from "Le Neptune Francois", 1700.<br>Est. $950 to $1200
    <b>Old World Auctions (Nov 1-14):</b><br>Lot 719. Two-volume geographical grammar & dictionary with 20 maps, 1795. Est. $450 to $550
  • <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>A Farewell To Arms,</i> 1929. $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> William Faulkner, <i>Go Down Moses,</i> 1942. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Jack Kerouac, <i>Vanity Of Dulouz,</i> 1968. $250-350
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Gertrude Stein, <i>The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,</i> 1933. $150-250
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> John Steinbeck, Three first editions. Comprising <i>Of Mice and Men, Covici-Friede,</i> 1937. $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Dalton Trumbo, <i>Johnny Got His Gun,</i> 1939. $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online-Only Auction, 20th Century Literature, Nov 15:</b> Evelyn Waugh, <i>Vile Bodies,</i> 1930. $400 to $600
  • <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> GAZA, Theodorus. <i>Introductivae grammatices libriquatuor.</i> Venice: Aldus Manutius, 25 December 1495. €40,000 to 50,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> MACHIAVELLI, Niccolo. <i>Historie di Nicolo Machiavegli cittadino, et segretario fiorentino</i>... Rome: Antonio Blado, 25 March 1532. €15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> BELLMER, Hans -- ELUARD, Paul. <i>Les Jeux de la Poupée. Illustrés de textes par Paul Eluard.</i> Paris : les Editions Premieres, 1949. €30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Christie’s Paris, Nov 20:</b> [BONNARD, Pierre] - VERLAINE, Paul. <i>Parallèlement.</i> Paris : Imprimerie nationale & Ambroise Vollard, 1900. €30,000 to 40,000
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Buffon (G.L.M.L., Comte de). <i>Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux,</i> 10 vol., large paper copy, 973 hand-coloured engraved plates drawn and engraved by Franz Nicolaus Martinet, Paris, 1770-86. £70,000 to 90,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Bible (English). The Holy Bible, first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], 1611. £30,000 to 40,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Marlborough (John Churchill, 1st Duke of).- [Parker (Robert, army officer)] <i>[Memoirs of the remarkable military transactions from the year 1688 to 1718],</i> ?autograph manuscript, 300pp., [c. 1718]. £20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> France.- Paris.- Turgot (Michel Etienne). <i>Plan de Paris,</i> engraved maps, contemporary red morocco, gilt, Paris, 1739. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Mongolia.- Pallas (Peter Simon). <i>Sammlungen Historischer Nachrichten uber die Mongolischen Volkerschaften,</i> first edition, complete with 31 plates, St. Petersburg, 1776-1801. £10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Brant (Sebastian). <i>Stultifera Navis... The Ship of Fooles, wherein is shewed the folly of all States...,</i> large woodcut title and numerous woodcuts in the text, [London], [John Cawood], 1570. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Aldus.- Boccaccio (Giovanni). <i>Il Decamerone,</i> Venice, House of Aldus & Andrea Torresani, 1522. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Wallace (Alfred Russel). 77pp. of Autograph letters (and 1 postcard) to various people, 1894-1904, on various palaeontological, geological and natural history matters. £8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> DNA.- Watson (James D.) and Francis Crick, <i>Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,</i> 1953 [and others]. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. November 29, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Optics.- Molyneux (William). <i>Dioptrica nova. A Treatise of Dioptricks, in Two Parts,</i> first edition, for Benj. Tooke, 1692. £5,000 to 7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Economics.- Mississippi & South Sea Bubbles.- <i>Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid,</i> 74 engraved plates and 3 maps, Amsterdam, 1720. £4,000 to 6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Nov. 29:</b> Asia.- Clouet (Jean Baptiste Louis). <i>Carte D'Asie Divisée en ses Principaux Etats,</i> engraved map with hand-colouring, on wooden rollers, 1782. £3,000 to 5,000
  • <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>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition, in the original wrappers, of the first part of Pushkin’s masterpiece – ‘a bibliographical rarity of the highest order’ (Smirnov-Sokol’skii). £25,000 to £35,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The very rare first edition of Gogol’s first masterpiece and his first obtainable book. £50,000 to £70,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of Dostoevsky's <i>Brat'ia Karamazovy</i> (1830) in a superb contemporary cloth presentation binding. £22,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>The first edition of the first version of the opening of <i>War and Peace,</i> with the original paper covers. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An early corrected typescript of Akhmatova's <i>Poema bez geroia</i> (July 1946) £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>A presentation copy of the first edition of <i>Kamen</i> (1913) inscribed by Mandel'shtam to his early mentor the poet Viacheslav Ivanov. £60,000 to £90,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>Rare autograph correspondence from Vladislav Khodasevich, including a manuscript of his long poem 'Sorrento Photographs' (1921). £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Christie’s London, 28 November:</b><br>An important letter from Marina Tsvetaeva to the poet Nikolai Tikhonov (1935) in which she challenges Pasternak and his views on poetry. £12,000 to £18,000

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