Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2010 Issue

Neal Auction Company: Taking Katrina by Storm

Nealauction2010

A serious presentation


By Bruce McKinney

Five years after Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the city has substantially recovered. Life has returned to a semblance of normal, those parts of the city built on high ground flourishing even as lower lying areas continue to struggle. For Neal Auction Company on 4038 Magazine Street sitting well above the flood crest in the old city as disaster ensued, the worst problems were averted. Later, with the city under forced evacuation because essential services were cut-off, Neal temporarily moved its offices to Baton Rouge. They held their first post-Katrina sale at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, MS. that December. For them, returning to the Big Easy a few weeks later, recovery would be more straightforward than it was for many others. Their audience it turns out is national, their location important for consignors but incidental to bidders who pursue good material wherever they find it.

So it was that the business resumed and has since increased. The internet, that has been more destabilizing than Katrina for many in the works on paper field, turned out to be part of the solution for them. Location it turns out has been subsumed by information and Neal, understanding this, focused on carrying its messages to the far corners. As a result the company, once mostly local, today sells most of what it offers to national and international audiences. "We're a New Orleans company selling to a national, even international audience" is how the company explains it.

On September 11th and 12th the firm holds its first sale following the widely followed fifth anniversary of Katrina. The eleven hundred lot sale includes material from many consignors and is described this way: American, French, English and Continental furniture, decorative arts and lighting, Southern paintings, historical material, natural history prints and maps especially consigned by discerning collectors, estates and institutions.

Tucked into this description of historical material, natural history prints, maps and decorative arts is an eighty lot consignment from Graham Arader of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania including "sixty-four Audubon prints, maps, images and folio books" according to Marc Fagan, Director of Consignments who is organizing the print and map portion of the sale for Neal. "New Orleans is the center of the Gulf Region and Mr. Arader's material sympathetic to southern tastes and preferences." Mr. Arader's consignment follows by a year his single owner sale at Sotheby's that, according to an Arader Galleries spokesman ultimately raised $1.8 million for charity. Among the listings:

For those looking out to sea there is lot 162. Bernard Dondorf's "View of New Orleans taken from the Lower Cotton Press," executed in 1852. Estimated $4,000 - $6,000

For those looking up rather than out there are John James Aububon's double folio hand-colored aquatint engravings.

Lot 163. Great American Cock Male, Wild Turkey. 38.5 x 25.75" estimated $120,000 - $150,000;

Lot 164. Yellow-billed Cuckoo. 26.5 x 38.5" estimated $5,000 - $7,000;

Lot 165. Wild Turkey, Female and Young. 26 x 39" estimated $80,000 - $120,000;

Lot 166. Brown Lark. 26 x 39" estimated $1,200 - $1,800;

Lot 167. The Mocking Bird. 37.75 x 26" estimated $25,000 - $30,000;

Lot 168. Roscoe's Yellow-throat. 38 x 25.25" estimated $1,500 - $2,500;

Lot 169. Black-billed Cuckoo. 26.5 x 38.25" estimated $8,000 - $12,000;

Lot 170. American Goldfinch. 38.5 x 26.25" estimated $8,000 - $12,000;

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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