Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2017 Issue

July at Forum Auctions: Two sales in 10 days, two more on deck

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Historically a quieter time of year in the book business, London-headquartered auction house Forum Auctions is bucking the trend by keeping the summer packed with sales: four in July, and two more in August. On offer this month is:

  1. An online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper, active now through July 5th.
  2. A traditional sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper in London on July 10th.
  3. A Forum Auctions Italy online sale of Libri Antichi e Rari ending July 13th.
  4. An online sale of Books and Works on Paper ending July 20th.

Catalogs are currently live online for the first two sales (hyperlinked above) and I’ll highlight a few lots from each below.

Beginning with the online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper, this specialist sale dedicated to the game of cricket contains 83 lots headlined by three of John Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack, a publication the professional cricketer launched the year after he retired in 1863. Lots 80-82 are single years of Wisden’s Almanack—1896 (estimated £15,000 to £20,000), 1869 (estimated £10,000 to £15,000), and 1916 (estimated £5,000 to £6,000). These are evidently big deals in the cricketing world. An additional highlight of the sale is a complete run of Cricket Scores and Biographies of Celebrated Cricketers, vols. 1 through 16, and dating from 1862 to 2003. The set is estimated £750 to £1,000 as lot 34.

Online sales often are made online-only because of a smaller scope and/or lower overall estimates (they are after all cheaper than putting on a full-fledged live auction), but Forum’s second book sale of July, Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper, is deservedly a live sale. Topping the estimates for the 475-lot sale are four lots from varying combinations of the Brontë sisters. Lot 335, estimated £60,000 to £80,000 is a three-volume set of 1847 first editions of Emily and Anne Brontë’s first novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey respectively. A stated two hundred and fifty copies were printed of these first editions, and Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontë’s only published novel as she died the following year.

Perhaps the most valuable single volume in the sale, lot 330, belongs to all three Brontë sisters, who in 1846 published their Poems, a collection of 61 poems, under their pseudonyms of Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell (Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, respectively). The copy here is the first issue of the first edition of the first publication by any of the Brontës. The rarity of the book in this state is impressive: a thousand were printed by Aylott & Jones in 1846, but only two sold. Thirty-seven copies were given away to authors whom the sisters admired (and assumedly to friends and family as well), leaving 961 copies unsold. These remaining copies were purchased by the publishers Smith & Elder, who decided to reissue the work in 1848 under their name with a new title page and rebound in a green harp binding, meaning that only 39 copies of the first issue ever existed. The following lot, 331, is the Smith & Elder edition in its intermediate state—it has the green harp binding, but still bears the Aylott & Jones title page (Forum states these copies appear this way either due to binder neglect or because the Smith & Elder title page ran out)—which is also quite rare in itself. The original first issue of Poems is estimated £30,000 to £40,000, while the intermediate state in the 1848 binding is estimated £15,000 to £20,000. Adding to the value of the Aylott & Jones issue is an autograph letter signed by Charlotte Brontë addressed to the publishers discussing Poems.

Pre-dating the Brontë material by more than three centuries are two significant lots totally unrelated to one another. Claudius Galenus, also called Galen, was dubbed the “most famous physician of the Greco-Roman world whose writings have survived” by the Cambridge University Press. Lot 183 is Galen’s Opera [actual title in Greek] printed by the Aldine Press in 1525. Five folio volumes make the publication “one of the ‘biggest’ books printed” by the printers, and it is also one of the rarest of all Aldine editions with Forum stating that only two or three complete sets having been sold in the last 30 years. The set’s rarity is greatly increased by the fact that it had just a single first and last run. It is estimated £25,000 to £35,000.

The other 16th century highlight narrowly misses the cut for the incunabula descriptor. Printed in Basel in 1501 by Jacobus Wolff de Pforzheim, lot 167 is a rare illustrated edition of Aesop, which is also a first edition of Sebastian Brant’s additional 140 fables. The woodcut illustrations accompanying Brant’s works are described as “richer and more sophisticated than the rather naïve illustrations to the first part, which were based on Zainer’s cuts for the first illustrated edition” printed in Ulm around 1476. Estimated £15,000 to £20,000, Aesop’s Esopi appologi sive mythologi cum quibusdam carminum et fabularum additionibus Sebastiani Brant is a handsome folio and an early edition of one of the most famous storytellers ever.

Forum Auctions’ online sale of Cricket Books and Works on Paper is active now and ends Wednesday, July 5th, and their traditional sale of Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper is scheduled for Monday, July 10th at 10:30 am British Standard Time. Both of the preceding links lead to the respective online catalogs where registration for bidding can be done. Also, don’t forget about two more online sales later in the month, Libri Antichi e Rari ending July 13th and Books and Works on Paper ending July 20th.

 

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>

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