Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2007 Issue

A Strong October Auction Schedule

Swann.10.11

Interesting material, competitively estimated


By Bruce McKinney

If summer is a receding memory then the books, manuscripts and ephemera auction season must be upon us. A glance at the October auction calendar confirms it. As of September 27th 52 sales are scheduled and another 10 or so expected to post their schedules shortly. In 2005 and 2006 more than 25,000 lots were offered in the 10th month. If historical form holds, 75% of the lots posted this year will sell for $35,000,000 to $50,000,000. Today, in the world of rare books, this is where the heavy lifting takes place.

From year over year comparisons various trends emerge. Perhaps the most telling is the lead-time to sale index. Four years ago, the internet was for most auction houses a non-event or even an after-thought. Less material was posted and what was put up was typically posted less than a week ahead of sale. Today the average lead-time to sale is double that and increasing. Time favors consignors and auction houses and they are posting earlier to increase both audience and realizations. Both Sotheby’s and Christies, who have dominated the rooms for years, often post their sales almost a month ahead. Bonhams, PBA and Bloomsbury also consistently post well ahead.

This October the auction schedule is deep and still building as we go to press. I'll discuss a handful of the upcoming sales and suggest you use the

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at the top of our pages to search for any term or terms that if present in the full text descriptions of upcoming lots may be of interest to you personally. You never know when and where your ship will come in. Among random searches I ran this afternoon Iowa finds 9, Mark Twain 13, postcard 10, Lincoln 19, and election 12. Shakespeare finds 36, Whitman 15, Churchill 27, Maugham 5, and Cervantes 5. Almost every term and phrase finds some matches and new material is always appearing and disappearing. It's different every day. Over the past twelve months we covered more than 200,000 lots encompassing more than half a million items.

During the first week of October there are 10 sales: Bruun Rasmussen, Dominic Winter, Waverly, Bloomsbury [London], Samuel Freeman, Christies, Sothebys, Clars, JMW and Alain & Evelyne Morel de Westgaver. In the second week the number declines to 5: Bonhams, New England Book, Swann, PBA and Johns' Western Gallery. In the third week there are 22 sales, 11 sales in week 4 and 6 more in the final 3 days. Other sales, like dandelions, will appear at random, be celebrated for a moment and disappear into history. When the month is over perhaps 60 auctions will have come and gone.

Side by side, Friday to Saturday, October 4th to the 5th there is Christie's Anatomy as Art: The Dean Edell Collection with a copy of Vesalius' 1543 "De humani corporis fabrica libri septem" estimated $200,000 to $300,000 followed on Saturday by the sale at JMW Auction Gallery in Kingston, New York, of the entire 90,000 item inventory of the Zobel Book Service, sold as a single lot, with a starting bid of $1,000. On Sunday Clars Auction Gallery of Oakland, California disperses an interesting private collection of books that will be visible on line shortly. A nice set of Marshall's Life of Washington, [first French edition], with the map volume is one of the items offered.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <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>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.

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