Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2017 Issue

Feb 8: Books and Manuscripts including Ultra Rare Rimbaud items at Sotheby's Paris

Fe107b76-7efe-4c66-b548-b9ff7c12c0ae

Highlights from Sotheby's Feb. 8 sale of Books and Manuscripts

Livres et Manuscrits is Sotheby’s Paris’ upcoming sale on February 8, 2017 that features a healthy mix of material. From rare autograph documents by French poet Arthur Rimbaud, to medical manuscripts, to a collection of artists’ letters, the sale, though varied in topics it covers, has a distinctly French air about it. The catalog is also only available in French, so having some ability to comprehend the language is recommended, though Google Translate works in a pinch [note: some names in Latin such as Paracelsus are written in French, i.e. Paracelsus is labelled Paracelse]. Livres et Manuscrits takes place at 2:30 pm CET and contains 148 lots. 

Beginning with medical manuscripts from the library of Jean Blondelet that includes rare first editions of Ambroise Paré, Girolamo Fabrici, Paracelsus, and Girolamo Cardan, early medicine, anatomy, and surgery are well represented in the sale. The selections available would be equally at home as the foundation of a new medical collection or as additions to an existing one. In addition to the manuscripts, a selection of illustrated scientific books from the 16th to 18th centuries, botanic and zoological works, 18th-century literature and Napoleonica are also being offered.

Undoubtedly the biggestdeal of the sale is material by Arthur Rimbaud, the poet recognized for his influence on modern literature and arts as well as his contributions to Symbolism. Two unique items headline the high estimates. Material of Rimbaud’s particularly scarce, as his creative period lasted a mere five years and ended at the unripe age of twenty-one. Lot 88 is an autograph manuscript of La Rivere de Cassis that belonged to Paul Verlaine, another very famous French poet, with whom Rimbaud was romantically involved. The document being auctioned is also the only autograph manuscript copy of the poem in private hands. After a long and complicated history, it’s and only appearance for sale was in 1996. It’s availability on February 8th marks the second time it will be on the public market. As one might expect, rarity of this magnitude does not come cheaply. Lot 88 carries an estimate of 200,000 – 300,000€.

Two lots preceding (lot 86) is another work done in Rimbaud’s own hand, this time a set of seven drawings on two pages done at the age of ten in 1865, being a comic entitled Plaisirs du Jeune Âge [Pleasures of Youth] representing the universe of a child his age. These two pages originate from a notebook later called Cahier de dix ans, of which eight pages survive today. These drawings have been sold twice, once in 1992 to the Musée-bibliothèque Arthur-Rimbaud de Charleville-Mézières, and in 2007 to Pierre Bergé. Lot 86 is estimated at 100,000 – 150,000€. 

The auction also features letters by well known artists such as Ensor, Jaguer, Jorn, Pissarro, Redon, and Signac; original drawings by Picasso, Bellmer, and Saint-Exupéry; manuscripts by musicians like Berlioz and Liszt. Finally, a selection of illustrated books and drawings by Louise Bourgeois, Buren, Dubuffet, Klimt, Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Miró, Staël, and Vieira da Silva close out the sale.

Livres et Manuscrits strikes a nice balance of scientific, literary, and artistic material. The entire catalog is viewable online on Sotheby’s website. Bidding will be available in expected formats: live, absentee, telephone, and online. Registration with Sotheby’s is required.

Exhibition times in Paris are as follows:

Fri, 03 Feb 17 | 10:00 am - 06:00 pm CET

Sat, 04 Feb 17 | 02:00 pm - 06:00 pm CET

Mon, 06 Feb 17 | 10:00 am - 06:00 pm CET

Tue, 07 Feb 17 | 10:00 a - 06:00 pm CET

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.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions