Auction Update Review


The Summer Ends, the Season Starts

The news this week isn't the sales just reported. They are the regular mix of events that have for decades negotiated the uncertainties of August. This past week National Book upped the ante of its own game with a higher value sale that saw, as is their wont, everything that wasn't nailed to the floor, sell. They certainly make it easy on the sweepers because, except for chairs and empty soda cans everything else is gone. They have been doing this for awhile and doing it well.

In Mexico Louis C. Morton continues to hold their own. The sell-through percentages are down a bit, 59% of all material sold this past week but it's actually a very main stream performance. The auction field is fighting to establish a new balance between seller and buyer expectations.

Gray's Auctioneers had a tough outing recently. We see it from time to time - high overall estimates and low realizations. Sales amounted to only about 10% of the high estimate. It will get better. They do a good job.

The interesting story this week is an auction that is going to take place in Worcester, Massachusetts and running from Thursday to Sunday. It's the personal effects of ten generations of descendents of Thomas Green [born 1640]. Of principal importance are the papers and books of Andrew Haswell Green who invested much of his adult life in improving New York City. Fortunately for auction browsers today the family never threw anything away. They acquired and received and later packed away books, mementos, correspondence and photographs and in so doing created a time capsule that is being opened this week. They of course kept every other thing too. Hence the other five sections of the sale.

Their debris in the works on paper field is substantial and worth sundering for the obscure and the mint. The pedigree is superb and the collecting instincts of the family worthy of the Collier brothers. The sale is divided into six sessions over four days:

Session I: Toys, Dolls and Games;

Session II: Andrew H. Green Tiffany glass & silver; and other decorative items;

Session III: Green Family Vintage Clothing Collection, jewelry, paisleys & linens;

Session IV: Andrew H. Green Ephemera;

Session V: Stamps, Coins, Paper Money;

Session VI: Paintings, Antiques and General Estate

The 4th session will be of interest to those with an eye for books, maps and ephemera. Here is a link to the material. This session will start at 10:00 am on Saturday September 11th. Note that downloading the files with images will take a minute or two for each. For some this sale will reorient weekend plans. It should be fun.

The sale is being held at the Grand Ballroom at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts at 50 Foster Street, exit 16 off Interstate 290. On AE in the upcoming auctions we are posting the relevant lots. On the R. W. Oliver site you can see all 2,300 lots.

Bruce McKinney


  • <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.