Book Auctions in the Bay Area
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]
World Figures & Events [1104-1117]
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.