If you've ever had a fantasy of being Charlton Heston, or at least owning a large amount of his things, Bonhams has you covered this month. Dubbed TCM Presents... The Charlton Heston Collection, this sale is much larger than just books. Set pieces from his movies, portraits of the man, furniture, jewelry, even a director's chair are all being sold in this 322 lot sale. Books make up a small portion of the sale, and this article aims to bring your attention to some of those items.
I would be remiss to not include a printed work related to Heston's acting career, and I present for your consideration a copy of his own working screenplay of Ben-Hur. Bearing numerous annotations from time of production, this is a singular piece of film history that cannot be found anywhere else in private hands (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences received three donated by Heston). It is estimated $10,000-15,000 as lot 207.
Heston did also collect rare books (not just his own screenplays), and they are also available for sale. His portrayals of Macbeth both on stage and on live television may have piqued his interest in collecting, as one of the rarest items for sale is a first separate and first quarto edition of the famous play. Macbeth was first printed in the first folio of 1623, and not separately until this edition listed, printed in 1673. No complete copies, and merely two incomplete copies were found in auction records. The last incomplete copy sold at Sotheby's in 1961. This is indeed a rare item, and it carries an appropriate estimate as lot 98 for $25,000-35,000.
Another item of personal interest to Heston is a copy of Hemingway's In Our Time. His son Fraser Heston has stated his father believed Hemingway to be the greatest American writer of the 20th century, so it's not surprising Heston would seek out a remarkable work. This limited first edition (no. 132 of 170) is also a Hemingway family copy, with the ownership signature of Jack Hemingway, the only child of Hemingway's first marriage. Being a one of a kind variant has boosted the accorded value of the book, resulting in an estimate of $25,000-35,000 for lot 145.
Continuing the trend of collectible material appealing specifically to him, Heston also obtained a first English (British) edition of the account of Lewis and Clark's epic expedition, printed the same year as the first American edition (1814). Heston played William Clark in the film Far Horizons in 1955, and while the London edition does not carry the same weight as its American counterpart, this remains an impressive item in any Americana collection, containing a close copy of the American edition's folding map. It may be bid on under lot 140 and carries an estimate of $10,000-15,000.
This really is a fascinating sale for anyone who appreciates Heston's long acting career. Set pieces from many of his films are available and are likely to be some of the most sought after items. A group of drawings, sketches, and paintings done by him are also being sold. The sale is not huge and is definitely worth browsing.
The sale is set to start on March 22nd at 10am PDT. Bidding is available in person, over the phone, and internet. Registration is required for any form of bidding and may be done so here. The catalog for the sale is available online here.