Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2008 Issue

Hollywood: No Laughing Matter

Cbs

This sale feels personal


By Bruce McKinney

For a few days in LA this month it is going to seem like Hollywood memorabilia is a dime a dozen. This is because it literally will be. The contents of the Collectors Book Store in Hollywood with its three to four million items will be dispersed over three days as 3,009 lots. This works out to more than 1,100 items per lot, two lots a minute, 1.2 million items a day. When its over the largest concentration of Hollywood kitsch to come on the market in decades will have been dispersed. We know it will sell because the reserves have been set low, typically $200 to $300. The sellers don't want the material back.

What's there? It of course depends on who you speak to. What's interesting is that many people have opinions and many of them are unprintable. The same is not true for the descriptions that have been printed in a deluxe 386 page catalog on 40 pound glossy stock. The catalogue notwithstanding, about this sale the only thing everyone agrees on is that no one knows what's really there. The lots are so complex that they are more akin to secret-Santa packages than traditional auction lots.

Lot 2331 is "Large Lot of 160+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, as well as books about Hollywood culture." The lot includes copies signed by Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Richard Nixon, Charles Bukowski , Edward Abby, Ann-Margaret, Yul Brenner, Eddie Cantor, Jackie Chan, Michael Crichton, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, James Ellroy, Lillian Gish, Spike Lee, Janet Leigh, Jay Leno, Leonard Nimoy, Anne Rice, Neil Simon, Jane Smiley, Gloria Swanson, Lars von Trier, Fay Wray and many others. The estimate is $200-300.

Lot 2,332 is another "Large Lot of 350+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, works on fiction, as well as books about Hollywood culture." Estimate $200-$300. This sounds like an instant collection or an eBay seller's inventory acquisition.

Lots 2333-2485 is "the script archive." I know you are now wondering which movies are involved. Think again and focus on an actor or director. Lot 2333 is 21 Barrymore items, 2334 4 Clara Bow pieces, 2335 15 Brando items, 2336 10 Cagney, 2339 16 Gary Cooper, 2341 24 Bing Crosby, 2342 7 Bette Davis, 2351 13 Judy Garland, 2352 20 Cary Grant. The list is long.

Now let's think about categories of scripts. Lot 2383 is 50 musicals. If you miss that one 2384 is 18 more. For those who prefer vintage material lot 2397 is scripts from 11 Laurel & Hardy films, 2398 2 Harold Lloyd, 2393 13 W. C. Fields, 2399 3 Marx Brothers. Perhaps you'd like material from the 'Our Gang' comedies. Lot 2402 includes 27 pieces. Do you prefer genre? There are 16 'Universal Horror' lots. If you feel incomplete with 'Planet of the Apes' material check out lot 2433. How about the Muppet movies? Lot 2431 contains scripts from 7 films. In this auction you can be fussy. For specialists [in what?] 2438 is 'Giant Monsters and Savage Beasts.' Twenty-seven items from 16 films will keep you occupied. If you prefer a director's perspective there are separate lots of scripts for Frank Capra, Frances Ford Coppola, Cecil B. DeMille, Brain De Palma, John Ford, Howard Hanks, John Huston, Sam Peckinpah to mention only a few of this group.

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>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.

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