Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2009 Issue

Book Auctions in the Bay Area

Bandb.2.15

Bonhams & Butterfields auction 2.15 catalogue


By Bruce McKinney

In February, when the ABAA holds its every-other-year book fair in San Francisco, there will be two local book auctions. They are Bonhams & Butterfield's Fine Books and Manuscripts on Sunday February 15 at 9:00 am and Pacific Book Auctions' Rare Books and Manuscripts, on Thursday February 19th beginning at 1:00 pm. The ABAA fair is the premier book-collecting event on the west coast and attracts thousands of dealers and collectors.

Bonhams, for its sale, has prepared, per usual, a visually appealing full color presentation. The material is divided into categories:

Early Printed Material & Illuminated Manuscripts [1000-1002]

Maps & Travel Literature [1003-1036]

Science & Natural History [1037-1047]

Art, Illustration & Fine Press [1048-1058]

Literature [1059-1103]

World Figures & Events [1104-1117]

Americana [1118-1151]

Western Americana [1152-1199]

The estimates seem appealing. Here are a few of the lots.

Lot 1136 is John Boo's Collection of Personal Accounts of Lincoln. This is over 125 letters and manuscripts [autograph and manuscript], annotated signatures and statements, mostly uniform 8vo, bound into 5 thematic volumes in the 1930s including material from the 1860s and 1910-1930. This material was later published as Rare Personal Accounts of Abraham Lincoln, a copy of which is included in the lot. Together 7 volumes. Estimated $25,000 - $35,000.

The next lot, 1137, is an autographed letter [ALS] from Mary Todd Lincoln dated May 22, 1865 and written to a supporter on behalf of Lizzie Clephane, her dressmaker who was destitute of funds. Mary Todd's husband, President Abraham Lincoln, was shot on April 14th and died the next day. This is a rare letter from period immediately following his death. A carte-de-visite of the widow is included. Estimated $15,000 - $25,000.

For people who think of everything there is lot 1165, the perfect photo album for a trip to San Francisco, - 139 +/- silver print photographs of the San Francisco earthquake. These are original to the event and appear to have been taken by a surveyor who added notes. The auction cataloguer adds one more comment: "The most interesting 1906 earthquake album we have seen." A 45 rpm record of Jerry Lee Lewis' There's a whole lot of shaking going on is not included. The estimate is not earth shaking: $700 - $900.

Lot 1168 is A view of San Francisco Drawn on the spot in 1849... and later printed in New York between 1849 and 1868. The scene, looking north from San Francisco across the bay, captures an idyllic moment in 1849, apparently after gold has been discovered. In the distance the bay is full of ships. 13.25" x 32" Estimated $2,000 - $3,000.

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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