Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2008 Issue

The Volkmann Collection Concludes with a Sale May 8th

Dvolk1


By Bruce McKinney

On May 8th, the third and final portion of the Daniel G. Volkmann, Jr. Collection of rare and collectible printed material will pass before the gaze of dealers and collectors and under the hammer of PBA Galleries. This sale brings to a close the long collecting career of Mr. Volkmann who joined the fray in 1969, entering right as his Mother exited left. It was upon her death, upon inheriting her collection that he assumed the burden, responsibity and pleasure of completing what she began: the acquisition of a complete collection of the Zamorano 80, building an extensive collection of Californiana and assembling an unusally complete collection of California press books. In this, the final sale, the dispersal of 448 lots of what is an extensive collection of California press books along with a few items unsold from previous sales and other items retained as personal favorites, the curtain falls and the chapter closes on the career of an inveterate collector.

Mr. Volkmann, an architect by trade, has perhaps built his most imposing edifice in the ephemeral, even ethereal construction of his collections. Together they are an imposing mass, most pieces from previous sales already flown to dealers, libraries and collectors. This, the final part, no doubt will travel the same path, the pieces to reemerge as the "Volkmann copy" one at a time in dealer catalogues, in libraries, at shows and in auctions far into the future. Those who collect books may hope for immortality only to be judged and dismissed. The Volkmann material will make the cut and be remembered for the solid, workman-like approach, employed over thirty-eight years.

In previous sales [2003 and 2005] some reserves were set toward the high side. Mr. Volkmann had more time and patience then for an unsatisfactory outcome. If material did not sell it was "So be it. There will be another day." Bruce McMakin, senior vice president of PBA explained, "In this sale there has been an effort to establish attractive estimates and Mr. Volkmann has agreed that fully ninety percent of the lots will change hands so long as the bid reaches at least half the low estimate." The material, long held, is clearly now intended to be dispersed. For collectors this presents opportunities.

The following items have been identified by PBA as significant, collectible and in some cases potentially inexpensive enough to be accessible to the fledgling collector:

Lot 118. Adams, Ansel Easton. Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. Printed in San Francisco in 1927 by Jean Chambers Moore.

18 unsigned photographs, 8x6.25; or the reverse, with letterpress captions beneath on sheets measuring approximately 12x9.75, each loose in an individual folio with letterpress title; together with the printed title page, colophon, dedication to Albert M. Bender and plate list. Housed in a restored silk-lined portfolio of black cloth (original front cloth retained but not used in restoration of portfolio). One of a projected edition of 150 copies of which approximately 75 copies were completed. All letterpress printed by the Grabhorn Press. Individual prints unsigned but the portfolio signed by Adams in 1980 on dedication leaf. "[Adams] made all the Parmelian prints on Kodak Vitava Athena Grade T Parchment, a cream-colored, gelatin silver paper that is translucent when held up to the light ... Although Ansel later remembered that he completed about a hundred sets, some were destroyed in a warehouse fire, leaving approximately seventy-five that were sold and delivered" (Ansel Adams: A Biography, pp 60-2). Robert Cahn, writing for Sierra Magazine, offers: "Adams" photographic career took a quantum leap in 1926 when Albert Bender, an enterprising San Francisco friend of the wealthy and of artists, "Discovered" Adams' photographs and decided they should be published. Bender selected a group of the prints and contacted a prominent San Francisco publisher who agreed to produce the portfolios...In a few hours, Bender had sold 56 copies sight unseen, and Adams' first published work...was on its way." GB 95. Estimated $50,000 to $80,000.

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: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <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. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. 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. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Copper Printing Plate for "Marshall's Household Engraving of Washington." $500 to $1000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Important Documentary Painting Showing Baseball Great Ty Cobb in Cuba. $1,000 to $2,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> <i>Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age</i>, Inscribed by Bill Wilson. $500 to $1,000
    <b>Leland Little: Important Spring Auction. March 3, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), <i>Prise à l'hameçon.</i> $3,000 to $6,000
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> Maurice Dufrène (French, 1876-1955), <i>Rayon des Soieries</i>. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Mar. 3:</b> William Pope.L (American, b. 1955), <i>Intimacy Project</i>. $2,000 to $4,000
  • <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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