Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2017 Issue

July 8: Fine Books & Manuscripts at Potter & Potter Auctions including a Force Declaration of Independence

Dab5e105-750a-432d-9620-12092dc78921

Potter & Potter Auctions, a Chicago-based house started in 2007, has historically focused on magicana—antiques and collectibles focused on magic and magicians—but they also conduct sales including paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, coin-op, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, vintage posters, and prints. This month, on Saturday, July 8th, Potter & Potter is holding their inaugural sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts and Other Works on Paper, an auction consisting of 575 quality items falling into the following subjects: science & natural history; continental and British books and manuscripts; militaria; printed and manuscript Americana; cartography, travel, and sporting books; comic and illustration art; literature; art and posters; and entertainment.

The section on Americana contains many of the sale’s highlights, led by a Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, a single page taken from volume I of Force’s 1837-1853 series of books The American Archives. The engraving was produced using the same copperplate made by William J. Stone in 1820 who was commissioned by John Quincy Adams to make a facsimile of the original declaration because of its deteriorating condition. Only a few hundred copies are known to exist, and the collectability of such an item is self-evident. Force’s engraving is estimated $15,000 to $20,000 as lot 132.

Another significant item under the Americana header is a partially printed document signed by an American President whose presidential autograph is quite rare. James Garfield took office March 4, 1881 and served until September 19, 1881, when he died after being shot by Charles Guiteau in early July. With less than four healthy months as President, the number of documents that Garfield signed in office are far fewer than average. Lot 145 is the Appointment of Francis W. Seeley as Postmaster General at Sake City, Minnesota, dated March 22, 1881 and is estimated $10,000 to $15,000.

One final lot of Americana that I need to mention is lot 175, an extensive archive of over 100 letters, manuscripts, documents and FBI memorabilia, most which are signed, of Melvin Purvis, the FBI agent famous for his role in the captures of outlaws such as Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and John Dillinger in the 1930s. Purvis still has more captures of public enemies than any other agent in FBI history. Estimated $9,500 to $10,500, this archive would be equally excellent serving as the foundation for a new collecting focus or as an addition to an existing one.

Comics have been enjoying a boom in popularity and pricing for some time now, and lot 240 is a unique offering that comicphiles may find hard to resist. While first issues and particularly rare individual comics generate huge interest, the lot on offer here offers a different sort of uniqueness. Walter Gibson, author of The Shadow comic series, was tapped in 1931 to be the creator of the print version of the eponymous hero, who at that time was just a voice on the radio drama Detective Stories. Lot 240 is not only a complete run of The Shadow, from 1931 to 1944, but it is also Gibson’s personal set! It can be yours for an estimated $8,000 to $12,000.

Two final items, both from the Literature section of the sale, conclude this auction preview. Lot 298 is a pair of draft pages for James Fenimore Cooper’s final novel The Headsman. Written in Paris around 1832 or 1833, the pages are written in a small but neat script. The lot also includes a check filled out in Cooper’s hand, payable to “self” for $20. The Cooper lot is estimated $3,400 to $5,000. Another unique autograph lot, #359, belongs to Alan Ginsberg, being a five page autographed letter signed to the Symphony School, Mr. Loratz, and Students, in which the poet lists his “favorite musical compositions accumulated in ear / mind.” Similarly estimated to the prior lot, Ginsberg’s letter is estimated $3,000 to $5,000.

Potter & Potter Auctions’ sale of Fine Books & Manuscripts and Other Works on Paper is set to begin at 10 am CST on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Previews of the sale will be on July 5 through 7, from 10 am to 5 pm or by appointment. Online bidding and catalog viewing is available on BidSquare, and a PDF version, as well as a 3D catalog, are available on the Potter & Potter site. In addition to online bidding, interested bidders can bid live, via absentee bid, or by phone.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.
  • <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Collection of 131 Herbert Ponting gelatin silver contact prints of Antartica, £6000-8000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of several lots of Henri Cartier-Bresson gelatin silver prints, £200-300
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Vintage gelatin silver print of Diego Rivera by Leonard McCombe, £300-500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron of Sir John Herschel (April, 1867), £30,000-50,000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Julia Margaret Cameron, Love, 1864 (from the Norman album), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print by Lewis Carroll of Twyford School Eleven (Summer Term, 1859), £1000-1500
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Albumen print portrait by Lewis Carroll of Xie Kitchin as 'Dane' (Oxford, 1873), £500-800
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Calotype print (c1845) by Hill & Adamson of Lady Elizabeth (Rigby) Eastlake, £3000-4000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Group of 12 waxed paper negatives of Scottish scenes by Thomas Keith, mid-1850s, £3000-5000
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> One of 15 lots of Roger Fenton salt prints of his work in the Crimea, mid-1850s, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Quarter plate ambrotype (c.1860s) with ethnographic portrait of a woman seated at a table, £400-600
    <b>Dominic Winter, March 9:</b> Rare whole plate thermoplastic union case of the Landing of Columbus (c.1858),part of the John Hannavy collection, £1500-2000
  • <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>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions